NEWS17 January 2011

MRA’s business activity index hits new high from record low

Financials North America

US— The Research Industry Index (RII), a measure used by the Marketing Research Association (MRA) to analyse business activity, has reached its highest-ever score of 101 – topping the baseline survey that was conducted in 2007.

MRA said the performance of the index, up from an all-time low of 84 during the first quarter of 2009, indicates that the US research industry has moved out of recession and into recovery, in keeping with the wider economy.

Ken Roberts, the association’s president-elect and co-author of the RII report, noted that the performance of medium to large-size firms was behind the upward thrust. “Many small firms are still experiencing decreased or flat business, reduced staffing and suppressed margins,” he said.

Agencies have also benefited, he said, from clients’ greater reliance on research vendors. “Almost one-half of corporate researchers are outsourcing more work to vendors, including tasks that typically have been considered internal responsibilities,” said Roberts.

RII is a composite based on reported changes in key business metrics including the number of request for proposals, active projects and staffing levels, and changes in business owners’ perceptions of the health of their firms.