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 3,800 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 fewer than 20 workers, and generates $6.5 million annually.

    • The market research and public opinion polling industry consists of about 3,800 firms that employ 77,500 workers and generate $24.7 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

                                Mar 12, 2024 - Industry Growth Slows
                                • The market research and public opinion polling industry is expected to see a slowdown after posting solid gains in the years after the onset of the pandemic. The industry’s year-over-year growth fell to 3.5% in 2020, then rose 17.5% in 2021, 8.1% in 2022, and 6.3% in 2023, according to Inforum and the Interindustry Economic Research Fund, Inc. Growth in the market research and public opinion polling industry is expected to moderate to 3% in 2024, then grow by just over 5% per year in 2025, 2026, and 2027, according to Inforum and the Interindustry Economic Research Fund, Inc.
                                • In a recent poll of US adults by ActiveCampaign and Ascend2, 77% of respondents said they prefer to receive ecommerce coupons by email. About 31% prefer to receive coupons by text (SMS), and 30% like using the store’s mobile app. Just under 20% of those surveyed prefer receiving coupons via direct mail, while 17% favor social media. In a separate report by Marigold based on November 2023 data, about half of adults worldwide bought something through email in the past year.
                                • Pollsters hope tweaks to their methodology will improve poll quality ahead of the 2024 presidential election after significant shortcomings in 2016 and 2020, according to The Economist. The two previous presidential contests failed to detect the extent of Donald Trump’s support. In 2016, polls accurately measured Hillary Clinton’s advantage in the popular vote but misjudged state-level data. In 2020, polls estimated Joe Biden’s popular vote win by an 8.4-point margin when his actual margin was less than half that. Skepticism about polling, demographic changes, and fewer landlines have made polling more difficult. For the 2022 midterms, pollsters used an assortment of polling methods, including online, text, phone, and postal, to get a more accurate sample of the electorate. The results marked the lowest level of polling errors since at least 1998. However, industry watchers don’t know if their methodology will work as well with Trump on the ballot.
                                • Spending for US political advertising in 2024 is projected to reach $15.9 billion, up more than 31% compared to the last presidential election year in 2020, according to advertising firm GroupM. Including direct mail, political ad spending will reach $17.1 billion in 2024. Most political ad dollars will be spent on broadcast TV, but digital channels are also expected to take a significant share. Some other forecasts expect a slightly lower political ad spending for 2024, around $10 billion, according to Axios. GroupM’s forecast includes a wider group of placements and formats, including digital out-of-home billboard ads and issue advertising by advocacy groups and political action committees.
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