FEATURE11 April 2018

Research on a small scale

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Often considered too expensive, too unwieldy or only the preserve of big business, market research is also critical for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), writes Katie McQuater.


There are a few things that all businesses need to know to operate successfully, regardless of their market. Understanding customers and what they are willing to pay for a product or service is crucial, while the need for good knowledge of wider market trends, competitors and the economic climate can’t be overstated. 

Yet for SMEs, market research is often considered too expensive or difficult to do – despite it playing an even more critical, often immediate, role in such businesses. Research helps companies to identify gaps in processes, correct pricing strategies, remove assumptions and, in some cases, change their business model. 

SMEs, generally defined as businesses with fewer than 250 employees, are the backbone of the UK’s economy, contributing £202bn last year. This figure is expected to rise to £241bn by 2025, according to research from Hampshire Trust Bank and the Centre for Economics and Business Research. But, in an uncertain economic climate after ...