About the Industry

The Leading Markets for Size and Growth

The two largest MR markets in the world are the US (by a mile) and the UK (a long way second but also significantly bigger than third placed Germany). We'll discuss the supply side of the industry in each of these two, and for the world more generally, along with some comments on numbers and distribution on the client side. Note that as above ESOMAR has begun including data for new activities centred around 'data analytics' in the past few years, for the UK and USA only, which further inflates their lead - but even without this, as the following table shows, it is considerable.

Global top ten markets 2015 - turnover in $US millions:

Source: ESOMAR Global MR 2016

2013 2014 2015
USA 18,186 18.524 19,097
excl. new data 15,605 15,849 16,453
UK 5,065 7,614 7,344
excl. new data 4,458 6,897 6,540
Germany 3,468 3,569 3,059
France 2,679 2,586 2,251
China 1,686 1,780 1,826
Japan 1,843 1,730 1,543
Italy 717 742 615
Australia 699 646 548
Spain 527 559 502
Brazil 724 754 502

Source: ESOMAR Global Market Research report 2016

No.s 11-20, in order, are: Netherlands, S Korea, Mexico, Sweden, Canada, Venezuela, India, Russia, South Africa and Switzerland.

Global share in 2015 (change from 2014):

Source: ESOMAR Global Market Research report 2016

China replaced Japan as 5th largest world market only in 2014.

A boom in Asia has slowed in the last few years, and ESOMAR notes that the continent's share of the global market fell from 14% in 2014 to 13% in 2015. Currency changes make comparisons hard, as they often do with results for individual companies. Africa and Latin America were the only regions not showing net growth in 2015, although in local currency terms they grew substantially.

Outside the major economies and MR powers things can be more volatile. Bulgaria was the fastest growing market in Europe in 2015, up an impressive 46.4% - second placed Slovenia was up only 10.9% - but this can be influenced by individual contracts, and especially major overseas projects. 85% of work globally is for domestic clients but Bulgaria was near the top of the list for international work in 2015, with 66% of its income coming from this. Other countries for whom international work dominates include Vietnam (75% international), Nigeria 70%, Japan 62%, and Guatemala and Honduras each 60% in 2015.

Europe's biggest fallers in terms of MR turnover were Cyprus, down an alarming 22%, Russia (-13.5%) and perhaps more surprisingly Switzerland (-12.8%).

Similarly, in Asia some markets boomed for specific reasons - Myanmar grew 49.7% adjusted for inflation in 2014-15, with Vietnam, Cambodia and Sri Lanka all above 10%. India, normally a strong growth area, fell 2.6%, with exchange rates one possible factor according to ESOMAR.

Africa retains its 1% share of the global market in 2015. Kenya was the fastest growing country at +16.4%, and volatile Nigeria the biggest faller, down 17.2% after allowing for inflation. Pakistan moved into ESOMAR's Middle East category this year, while Israel another centre for advanced analytics and MR technology - is the latter's largest market, up 3.3% in 2015 after a more drastic 19.5% rise in 2014.

Back to Current size and structure of the MR industry worldwide
On to: The UK Research Sector - The USA, and the Major Firms Worldwide

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All articles in the 'About the Industry' section written by Nick Thomas of MrWeb during July - October 2017, and © MrWeb Ltd 2017. Thanks to GRIT, ESOMAR, the AMA and the MRS for stats and tables used.

About the industry - contents...

1. What is MR and how is it changing?

A comprehensive guide to what we do, how it's changing, and who else does similar stuff.

2. The global industry today

The supply side: revenues, rankings and company info, full listings.

3. Careers in MR

An introduction to the career ladder, activities, salaries and choices.