Companies in this industry gather, record, tabulate, and present marketing and public opinion data. Major companies include Forrester Research, Gartner, and Westat (all based in the US), as well as Gfk (Germany); Ipsos (France); INTAGE (Japan), and Nielsen (the Netherlands).
Demand is driven primarily by the health of the economy and corporate profits. The profitability of individual companies depends on managing costs and maintaining a steady flow of work. Large companies have advantages in providing a variety of research and ancillary services to large customers, and in achieving economies of scale in marketing and computerized operations. Small companies can compete successfully by specializing in a research methodology or in emerging niche knowledge areas. The US industry is concentrated: the top 50 companies generate about 55% of industry revenue.
PRODUCTS, OPERATIONS & TECHNOLOGY
Major services are marketing research, which accounts for about 90% of industry revenue, and public opinion polling. Other services include media monitoring and analytic services. Many research firms specialize in 1) a discipline, such as customer satisfaction, human resources, or advertising tracking; 2) an industry segment, such as technology or pharmaceuticals; or 3) marketing services, such as focus groups, polling, or psychographics.