NEWS7 June 2010

UK MR down 4.7% in ‘09 – but this year’s Q1 looks better both at home and abroad

North America UK

UK/US— Market research industry revenue was down 4.7% in the UK last year, according to figures published this morning by the Market Research Society (MRS).

A decline had been expected, given the global recession, but the industry performed better than forecast “with significantly less adverse returns towards the end of the year”, said the MRS.

Turnover fell from £2.164bn in 2008 – when growth was 6.2% – to £2.076bn in 2009. Domestic research declined by 3% while international research was down 8.3%.

MRS director general David Barr (pictured) said: “The market research sector was certainly not immune to the recession, but the overall results for the year mask significantly different outcomes for individual companies and segments.”

Barr said that with “many research organisation reporting a strong first quarter in 2010, the resilience of the sector as a whole remains much in evidence”.

The same appears to be true of the US research industry. Late last week the Marketing Research Association reported that its Research Industry Index (RII) – a composite score based on reported changes in key business metrics, including RFPs, projects and staffing levels – was at its highest level since the fourth quarter of 2007.

Business improvements were seen largely within medium and large-size firms while many small firms continued to experience decreased business and suppressed margins, according to RII report author Ken Roberts.

In May a survey of members of the Council of American Survey Research Organisations reported a pick-up in sales during Q1.