Market Research & Public Opinion Polling

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 4,100 market research and public opinion polling firms in the US gather, record, tabulate, analyze, and present marketing and public opinion data. Major market research service categories include research conducted over the Internet; research conducted by telephone; face-to-face methods; focus groups; and polling services. More specific types of services include audience measurement; custom research; syndicated research; advisory and consulting services; data collection; and data analytics.

Competition from Alternative Service Providers

Market research and public opinion polling firms face competition from a variety of sources, including strategy consulting firms, client in-house market research departments, publicly available information, and data providers, such as digital media measurement services and print and media firms.

Vulnerability to Economic Conditions

Demand for market research services is sensitive to economic conditions and typically drops during periods of uncertainty.

Industry size & Structure

The average market research firm operates out of a single location, employs about 18-19 workers, and generates $5-6 million annually.

    • The market research and public opinion polling industry consists of about 4,100 firms that employ 77,800 workers and generate $22 billion annually.
    • The industry is concentrated at the top and fragmented at the bottom; the top 50 companies account for 58% of industry revenue.
    • Large firms, which include Gartner, NPD, and Forrester Research, may have international operations.
                                Industry Forecast
                                Market Research & Public Opinion Polling Industry Growth
                                Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                                Recent Developments

                                Nov 11, 2022 - Major Media Outlets Sponsored Fewer Polls During Election Season
                                • Many of the big, brand-name pollsters conducted considerably fewer polls during the 2022 election cycle. Legacy media sponsored 85 Senate polls between May and late October during the 2010 midterms but sponsored just 25 in 2022, according to FiveThirtyEight. Experts cite decreasing response rates and the increasing cost of telephone polling as key causes. FiveThirtyEight estimated that the share of Senate polls “conducted or sponsored by campaigns or partisan organizations” throughout the past twelve years has grown by more than 300%. Many of this year’s polling averages comprised work done by firms not associated with traditional media outlets or educational institutions, often with ties to Republicans -- and likely skewed in that direction according to some experts. “It certainly felt like there were more Republican polls out there,” said Jeff Horwitt, a Democratic pollster for NBC News and a partner at Hart Research Associates.
                                • A new $100 billion-plus advertising category -- so-called "retail media" -- has emerged and it already represents nearly 10% of global ad spending, according to multinational communications, advertising, public relations, technology, and commerce holding company WPP's GroupM unit. Market research firms are likely to benefit from the growth. "We expect retail media to grow 60% by 2027," GroupM Global Director of Business Intelligence Kate Scott-Dawkins said. GroupM benchmarks global retail media ad spending at $101 billion this year and projects it will rise to $160 billion by 2027.
                                • A decrease in US advertising spending first noted by technology giants is spreading to US television networks and news publishers, according to The New York Times. The owners of outlets including the CBS television network, the New York Times, and USA Today all said in mid-2022 that their ad revenue was under pressure. Advertising is often among the first expenses cut by companies looking to trim spending in times of economic uncertainty.
                                • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) plans to update guidance to businesses on digital advertising and marketing for the first time in almost 10 years. Market research firms may be impacted by changes that reduce access to data. Updates to “.com Disclosures: How to Make Effective Disclosures in Digital Advertising” are being evaluated, experts say, because some companies are wrongly citing the guidance to justify practices that mislead consumers online. Firms have claimed, for example, that they can avoid liability under the FTC Act by burying disclosures behind hyperlinks, a practice that can expose consumers to financial fraud, intrusive surveillance, and other harms. FTC staff is seeking public input on, manipulative user interface designs, whether the current guidance adequately addresses advertising on mobile devices, hyperlink guidance, and sponsored and promoted advertising on social media.
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