Future crop

FEATURE23 December 2016

2017 Preview: the biggest trends

Behavioural science Data analytics Features Mobile Technology Trends UK

The market research industry is preparing itself for 2017 to be the year of, among other things, automation, machine learning, virtual reality... and hygge. 

As well as those trends, some foresee the growing significance of millennials, the power of brands having a meaningful connection with consumers, and the importance of going back to basics.


"Automation and AI." Ray Poynter, managing director, The Future Place. 

"The continued growth of automation within research to provide clients with top quality research solutions at the speed and level of accuracy they demand. In addition the increased use and availability of passive data alongside survey data to help inform business decisions." Susan Vidler, head of research, Harris Interactive

"I think that virtual reality is going to take off. While usage in the market research industry has been pretty flat, there is massive potential in the research space. I think that the technology has now matured to a place where it makes it possible. VR has even greater potential than mobile to take this to a whole new level. It has the potential to test all sorts of physical environments that were cost prohibitive before. I think the potential to incorporate things like eye tracking is fascinating." Julian Highley, global director of customer knowledge, dunnhumby

"The continued development in using analytical modelling to spot relationship patterns and build connections between data sets. I think we’ve seen much more of ‘doing more with less’ in 2016, and this will continue next year – particularly when you consider the future of brand tracking, which needs to be much more agile and flexible, and virtual reality, which I think has amazing potential for research." Jane Bloomfield, head of UK marketing, Kantar Millward Brown.

branding/ marketing

"I see marketing as being held to a new standard. We’ll look at marketing as having distinct activities, but view them holistically. We’ll strive to ensure all available consumer touchpoints deliver a consistent message that fits the method of communication used. Consumer insight is as critical as ever, though it is increasingly applied in new and different ways – from attribution research to better understand marketing impacts to content testing for all platforms," Frédéric-Charles Petit, CEO, Toluna

"Brands with meaning, purpose and clear behavioural connection communicating with deeply plugged in consumers. Social media will start to grow up beyond the harsh judgmental environment it currently fuels to express and entertain higher end human needs such as belonging and personal growth," Crawford Hollingworth, founder, The Behavioural Architects

"For marketers and brands, I think it will be a continued focus on ‘back to basics’. Economic conditions have already resulted in the rise of zero based budgeting which, combined with consumer appetites for more honesty and transparency, will force brands to focus on what consumers want and invest in more creative communication and more useful innovation that meets evolving needs and desires (and doesn’t just happen for the sake of it)." Jane Bloomfield, head of UK marketing, Kantar Millward Brown.

other trends

"The publishing world’s gone hygge, the Danish concept of cosy, simple living (my CEO is Danish). I think we’re all in the mood for ‘hunkering down’ be it companies, brands or consumers, taking stock and pulling up the drawbridge against all uncertainties of 2017 and beyond," Joe Staton, client services lead, market opportunities and innovation, GfK.

"The continued and growing significance of millennials in the market place – these are the first generation of digital natives and they are reaching peak purchasing power." Matt Draper, commercial director, Network Research  

"The continued merging of qualitative and quantitative methodologies as companies seek to acquire more in-depth insight and granularity but require the ability to quantify the results with hard numbers and figures." Crispin Beale, CEO, Chime Insight & Engagement Group.

"Putting humanity back into big data," Kirsty Fuller, co-founder and CEO, Flamingo Group.

"We have talked about mobile in the past, but I truly believe that 2017 mobile be the biggest trend. This is driven by the respondent’s willingness (or unwillingness) to do surveys on other devices – it now is, ‘go mobile or go home’ time." David Day, global CEO & president, Lightspeed 

the next article will reveal our panel’s new year’s resolutions