NEWS14 April 2022

Market research spending fell in early 2022

Media News Trends UK

UK – Market research budgets declined in the first quarter of 2022, the first contraction in research spending since the second quarter of 2021, according to the latest IPA Bellwether report.

Consumer confidence pound

A net balance of -3.5% of survey respondents reduced their market research spending at the beginning of 2022.

The decline in budgets stood in contrast to a net balance of 7% stating they would increase market research budgets
Bellwether panellists were, however, optimistic towards raising market research spending in their next round of budget planning, with a net balance of 8.6% foreseeing greater resource availability during the 2022/23 financial year.

Louise Ainsworth, executive managing director of UK and Europe, Middle East and Africa at Kantar’s media division, said: “It’s great to see new optimism from marketers and a desire to push past the pandemic slump. It is surprising, however, that the growth in marketing spend isn’t accompanied by higher investment in market research.

“Having timely insight into how people are thinking, feeling and behaving has never been more important. Consumer markets are incredibly volatile right now, with people’s habits and lifestyles being reshaped by record levels of inflation, lingering pandemic trends and anxiety too about the shifting economic situation and war in Ukraine.

“Brands have to understand what this all means for them and stay close to the data if they want to protect and drive commercial growth.”

The IPA Bellwether report found that total marketing budgets were close to their highest level for eight years, with marketing executives stating they were strongly optimistic towards budgets for 2022/23.

However, rising living costs, supply-chain issues and the war in Ukraine were noted as key threats to business for the year ahead, with advertising spending forecasts lowered for the current financial year.

Paul Bainsfair, director general at the IPA, said: “With Covid-19 restrictions ending, it is clear that UK companies are keen to capitalise on this moment and ramp up their marketing spend.

“This is welcome news now, but we know we face soaring inflation levels, cost of living increases, supply-chain issues, all exacerbated by the war in Ukraine and some sector recruitment shortages.”