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NEWS27 June 2013

MRS survey finds UK revenues down 2%

Financials UK

UK — The UK research industry remains fragile but seems to be moving in the right direction, according to the findings of the Market Research Society’s annual survey.

MRS surveyed 63 agencies, all company partners of the society with a combined turnover of £900m. Together, they reported a revenue decline of 2% in the 12 months to December 2012 – however, this is an improvement on the decline of 3.5% seen in 2011.

Domestic revenue, accounting for two-thirds of turnover, was down 3%, while international revenue was “treading water at 0.3%”, the MRS said.

Chief executive Jane Frost (pictured) commented: “It is encouraging to see financial improvements since the last annual survey as our company partner research agencies work their way back to growth. Spend from public sector sources has increased back to 2010 levels after slackening in 2011; an indication that market and social research goes beyond commercial means and all organisations can benefit from using reliable evidence to make the right decisions.”

MRS said that a majority of those surveyed anticipate revenue growth in their organisation to be ahead of UK economic growth in general by the end of the year.

Figures published earlier this month showed the US research market up 1.7% last year, but down 0.4% when adjusted for inflation.

@RESEARCH LIVE

7 Comments

6 years ago

Your headline states that the research industry seems to be moving in the right direction. I am just a humble market researcher but I would have to disagree. The numbers suggest that the industry is moving in the wrong direction slgihtly more slowly than it was, but it is still moving in the wrong direction. This is not pedantry but an important distinction

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6 years ago

The oil tanker is still heading in the wrong direction, but it is at least starting to turn...

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6 years ago

Agree with first comment. Two consecutive annual declines are worrying, and Research should be challenging the reasons for the decline. Is overall marketing spend declining? Is 'recession proof' research being hit harder? Are clients investing in other 'forms' of research? What sectors of research are being hit hardest?

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6 years ago

"Two consecutive annual declines are worrying, and Research should be challenging the reasons for the decline." Our sister title, Impact, has a piece addressing some of your points in its upcoming issue. The short version is, companies are investing in data and information but the rate of investment in traditional research is much slower. The argument is also made that larger and faster growing information vendors have been much more successful than research agencies have in 'owning the client' – essentially, managing all a company's information needs and buying in/adding on sources where necessary. You might chart a through-line from the current situation back to Jack Honomichl's declaration in 2002 that "The research industry has squandered its chance to take a leading role in the information revolution". http://www.research-live.com/3000135.article Market research also showed the lowest rate of innovation in the information industry category in 2012, which may have something to do with it. The full article will be in Issue 2 of Impact, published 8 July. If you don't already, you can subscribe online at: http://www.mrs.org.uk/intelligence/impact

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6 years ago

When will Research become independent and not simply a PR machine for the MRS?

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6 years ago

Also, this is an MRS Survey of their members so it would indicate that it is more specifically an MRS subscriber finding. I would say members of the MRS tend to be more traditional agencies who are not innovating enough, so the audience being surveyed is not reflective of the those agencies and MR technology companies who are innovating and redefining what MR is.

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6 years ago

The decay set in when we decided to forget basics and conduct shoody badly sampled research. While other professions strengthen their standards we have weakened ours. How often have I heard clients say we haven't the money to do it properly so we are using an access panel or looking at Facebook drivel. It has then been a small step to for them to conclude that they may as well forget the research process completely. In over 30 years in the indiustry this is the first downturn to affect the MR industry, previously companies have spent more to make sure they made the right decisions. We have devalued and deskilled our indusrty probably irreversibly.

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