FEATURE13 September 2017

Consolidation is coming

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Features Financials Impact M&A UK

Mergers and acquisitions within the research sector are necessary and inevitable, argues Future Thinking’s Jon Priest.


The next wave of consolidation in the UK insight and business intelligence market is long overdue. We have a more fragmented supplier base than ever before – with over 500 MRS-accredited company providers – but with low net-growth rates overall, serving a very mature £4.8 billion UK market. While this is the second-largest globally, it is still relatively small compared to the UK e-digital sector (£118.4bn), PR market (£12.9bn), creative industries (£87.4bn) and management consultancies (£6.1bn). 

Our industry is also undergoing rapid change – mostly technology-driven – against a very uncertain worldwide geopolitical context. Consolidation will help us meet the global growth challenge.

The UK ‘research’ market is unusual in the size and distribution of its supplier base. According to MRS, the top 100 agencies generated approximately £3bn of UK revenues in 2015. As in most industry sectors, there are a handful of large companies at one end – Wood MacKenzie, dunnhumby, TNS UK, Ipsos Mori ...