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Research Industry Study Finds Weakening Confidence in Value of MR

April 19, 2011

By James Verrinder - April 20, 2011

US— Two-thirds of research suppliers are experiencing or expecting an increase in client spend this year, according to a new research industry trends study – but agencies are riddled with worries about the lack of perceived value in their work, while concerns linger over the quality of online samples.

Report author Bob Walker, of Surveys & Forecasts, notes a “disconcerting erosion in self perceived respect for research”, with 45% of respondents in the most recent wave of the study – autumn 2010 – believing that research is valued less than it used to be by clients, compared to 25% in the spring 2010 survey.

Walker said that the latest wave of results coincides with an employment crisis in the US but still, he says, “such a large shift in such a brief period of time is nonetheless worrisome”.

Contributing to the industry’s low self-esteem are perceptions that buyers are less able to tell the difference between high-quality and mediocre research (67% of suppliers, 63% of buyers), the belief that there is more pressure on agencies to deliver faster results at the expense of quality (58%) and long-standing concerns over online panel quality. 53% of buyers thought that the speed of research work is becoming more important than the quality.

On panel quality, 71% of both buyers and suppliers agreed that “online panel quality is worse than most clients believe”, while 65% of suppliers and 61% of clients admitted to having concerns over the representativeness of online panels.

These concerns, according to the survey report, are expected “to increase more rapidly in the years ahead”.

The full report, produced by directory publisher Greenbook, can be found online here:

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