FEATURE7 August 2013

Demand for info grows, but what about MR?

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Market research agencies are losing out to larger information vendors and their ‘own the client’ strategies, warns Research Ratings founder Stuart Butler-Smith.

The first quarter of the year is typically the lightest for new business and renewals, so Q1 financial results have typically been the weakest set of numbers from which to draw new inferences for how the full year might pan out. And because the chief executive officers of listed companies would already have given us – and more importantly their staff – a view on the next 12 months during the annual reporting season, there really shouldn’t be anything new to comment on.

But this year, Q1 results are more telling – and that’s because they reinforce the pattern shown in both the third and fourth quarters last year.

The pattern is this: the traditional full service market grew at 1.6% in 2012, and we forecast continued low growth of 0-2% for 2013. Media measurement is the bright spot, forecast to lead growth at 4-6%, with ad hoc spending dragging at a forecast that is flat or slightly negative. Anything involving digital ...