The Transforming Industry

The marketing research industry, as we have known it for decades, is disappearing. It is being absorbed into a rapidly transforming collection of market intelligence sub disciplines. For some of us this phenomenon represents a threat; a question of whether the traditional insights role within our client organizations will remain, a question whether survey research will have a continued seat at the table, a concern regarding the future valuation of our research agency companies. For others this dynamic represents unprecedented opportunity; the opportunity to deliver a far more comprehensive voice of the market, the opportunity to transform our agency business model and substantially increase its valuation, a stair-step increase in the decision-making impact of the insights we deliver.

Regardless of whether this point of view elicits a positive or negative sentiment, today’s conference agendas, industry journals, and merger & acquisition activity leave little doubt that a significant industry transformation is underway.

While a majority of industry leaders and associations appear to support this concept of emerging segments defining our morphing overall space, relatively little data exists today to understand this transformation and project such movement. The Top 50 Report (formerly Honomichl) has long been the industry standard for annually documenting US market sizing and patterns in the business of marketing research. But the Top 50 Report has traditionally focused on only the ‘Full Service’ research agency segment of the market. This definition of the market reflects only a limited portion of the broader market size assumed in a model of industry transformation.  Various attempts at defining the segments of this broader space, and determining its total size, have been completed but no one standardized approach has yet emerged.

A New Measurement Approach

This report attempts to build upon the findings of several prior efforts to develop such an understanding. It reflects a collaborative effort  undertaken this year by ESOMAR, the Insights Association, and the Master of Science in Marketing Research Program at Michigan State University. Using data provided by the analytics company Outsell, we have created a taxonomy that defines a broadened Insights & Analytics market that includes the following eight industry segments:

Segment

US Market Revenue (‘000 USD) 

2017

2018

2019

Growth % 2019/2018

Full Service Research

$18,123,399

$18,781,040

$19,575,013

4.2%

Syndicated & Vertical Reports

$6,605,172

$7,523,699

$8,237,192

9.5%

Sample Panel Providers

$609,247

$631,610

$656,385

3.9%

DIY Platforms

$545,144

$631,602

$666,011

5.4%

EFM (Enterprise Feedback Mgmt)

$596,016

$677,103

$847,538

25.2%

Digital Data Analytics

$7,914,533

$8,539,152

$9,676,632

13.3%

Social Listening & Communities

$2,637,607

$2,925,557

$3,315,264

13.3%

Consulting Firms

$3,641,102

$3,863,487

$4,161,749

7.7%

Total Insights & Analytics

$40,672,219

$43,573,250

$47,135,783

8.2%

The total market included in this new Insights & Analytics taxonomy defines a substantially broadened space implying marketing research professionals may view themselves as impacting and competing in a far larger realm of market intelligence services. The Top 50 Report traditionally defined the US marketing research space of primarily Full Service agencies yielding about USD $15 billion in aggregate revenue.  As illustrated in the table above, this new Insights & Analytics definition by comparison yields a market measure of about USD $47 billion in revenue. The largest single segment is Full Service Research; but this new definition additionally includes a much expanded list of ‘insights’ activities such as information management/integration, curation, visualization and consulting. Also included are services such as panel access and online communities which were traditionally positioned by the Top 50 Report as in support of, but not included in, the Full Service Research space.

Following is the 2019 US Market Insights & Analytics Revenue Leaders table. This table lists the 50 largest companies in this newly defined Insights & Analytics space based upon estimates of each company’s 2019 US market revenue (USD ‘000) aligned to the expanded list of ‘insights’ activities..

# Company US Market 2019 % US market 2019 YOY change 2018/19 Full time employees
1 Nielsen 3,703,860.00 57% -0.3% 46,000
2 Gartner 2,654,972.00 63% 6.8% 16,724
3 IQVIA 1,895,662.00 46% 7.6% 25,008
4 Salesforce.com 1,704,080.00 68% 32.0% 49,000
5 Adobe Systems 1,699,286.00 53% 31.2% 22,634
6 IHS Markit 1,331,253.00 63% 5.6% 7,162
7 CoStar Group 1,329,733.00 95% 17.4% 4,337
8 Booz Allen Hamilton 804,480.00 100% 8.7% 804,480
9 IRi 796,380.00 65% 2.1% 5,105
10 Ipsos 784,925.00 35% 8.5% 18,000
11 NICE Systems 587,006.00 74% 22.8% 5,996
12 Kantar 516,683.00 18% 9.8% 30,000
13 Westat 501,662.71 98% 1.0% 2,000
14 AIR (American Institutes for Research) 492,978.00 100% 6.7% 2,053
15 Epsilon 486,317.00 95% -9.5% 5,712
16 McKinsey & Company 462,000.00 40% 5.0% 1,155,000
17 Wood Mackenzie 441,672.00 77% 11.7% 1,993
18 Qualtrics 439,600.00 77% -0.3% 2,133
19 HubSpot 438,659.00 65% 31.6% 3,387
20 Dynata 418,460.94 62% 10.9% 2,073
21 Cision 418,290.00 55% 4.9% 4,800
22 Abt Associates 397,389.00 70% 2.7% 2,993
23 The NPD Group 369,479.00 84% 7.2% 1,757
24 Forrester 364,741.00 79% 29.1% 1,795
25 RAND Corporation 357,000.00 100% 3.5% 1,950
26 LiveRamp 354,437.00 93% 36.4% 1,150
27 Zeta Global 353,760.00 67% 20.0% 1,512
28 Gerson Lehrman Group 341,924.00 100% 14.0% 7,918
29 Comscore 338,082.00 87% -7.4% 1,700
30 Accenture 328,807.20 40% 12.1% 822,018
31 GfK 301,082.00 18% 5.2% 13,749
32 Medallia 298,045.00 74% 61.1% 1,579
33 Neustar 290,298.95 92% 1.0% 1,949
34 Oracle 264,236.00 46% -10.1% 135,000
35 SurveyMonkey 255,159.00 83% 20.9% 1,303
36 Sitecore 246,735.00 57% 17.5% 7,600
37 PwC 246,259.20 40% 2.7% 615,648
38 IDC 242,020.00 44% 2.5% 4,300
39 Meltwater Group 231,081.00 55% -0.8% 2,223
40 dunnhumby 229,263.06 45% 4.0% 2,650
41 JD Power 213,875.00 70% 0.3% 1,183
42 Ernst & Young 206,840.76 35% 6.1% 280,000
43 Boston Consulting Group 204,000.00 40% 13.3% 21,000
44 Sprinklr 195,000.00 65% 11.1% 1,981
45 KPMG 179,250.00 30% 4.2% 597,500
46 Deloitte 175,304.00 40% 10.1% 312,000
47 Bain & Company 172,000.00 40% 26.5% 10,500
48 Ascential 153,038.00 43% 27.2% 1,997
49 Verint Systems 152,374.50 45% 6.3% 1,690
50 MaritzCX 147,000 70% -5.0% 2,000

Following is a separate listing of companies included in each segment, ranked by their size as indicated in the preceding 2019 US Market Insights & Analytics Revenue Leaders table..

Segment: Full Service Research
2019 US Market Revenue

Company

‘000 USD

Nielsen

$3,703,860

IQVIA

$1,895,662

IRi

$796,380

Ipsos

$784,925

Kantar

$516,683

Westat

$501,663

AIR

$492,978

Abt Associates

$397,389

Comscore

$338,082

GfK

$301,082

dunnhumby

$229,263

Estimated Balance of Segment

$9,617,046

Total Segment

$19,575,013

 

Segment: Syndicated & Vertical Reports
2019 US Market Revenue

Company

‘000 USD

Gartner

$2,654,972

IHS Markit

$1,331,253

CoStar Group

$1,329,733

Wood Mackenzie

$441,672

NPD Group

$369,479

Forrester

$364,741

RAND Corp

$357,000

IDC

$242,020

JD Power

$213,875

Ascential

$153,038

Estimated Balance of Segment

$779,409

Total Segment

$8,237,192

 

Segment: Sample Panel Providers
2019 US Market Revenue

Company

‘000 USD

Dynata

$418,461

Estimated Balance of Segment

$237,924

Total Segment

$656,385

 

Segment: DIY Platforms
2019 US Market Revenue

Company

‘000 USD

Qualtrics

$439,600

SurveyMonkey

$255,159

Estimated Balance of Segment

$28,749

Total Segment

$666,011

 

Segment: Social Listening & Communities
2019 US Market Revenue

Company

‘000 USD

Cision

$418,290

GLG

$341,924

Meltwater Group

$231,081

Sprinklr

$195,000

Estimated Balance of Segment

$2,128,969

Total Segment

$3,315,264

 

EFM – Enterprise Feedback Management
2019 US Market Revenue

Company

‘000 USD

Medallia

$298,045

Verint Systems

$152,375

MaritzCX $147,000
 

Estimated Balance of Segment

$250,118

Total Segment

$847,538

 

Segment: Digital Data Analytics
2019 US Market Revenue

Company

‘000 USD

Salesforce.com

$1,704,080

Adobe Systems

$1,699,286

NICE Systems

$587,006

Epsilon

$486,317

HubSpot

$438,659

LiveRamp

$354,437

Zeta Global

$353,760

Neustar

$290,299

Oracle

$264,236

Sitecore

$246,735

Estimated Balance of Segment

$3,251,817

Total Segment

$9,676,632

 

Segment: Consulting Firms
2019 US Market Revenue

Company

‘000 USD

Booz Allen Hamilton

$804,480

McKinsey & Company

$462,000

Accenture

$328,807

PwC

$246,259

Ernst & Young

$206,841

Boston Consulting Group

$204,000

KPMG

$179,250

Deloitte

$175,304

Bain & Company

$172,000

Estimated Balance of Segment

$1,382,808

Total Segment

$4,161,749

Comparing The Approaches

If attempting to compare the results of the historic Top 50 Report approach with this new Insights & Analytics approach, it is important to reiterate that the Top 50 Report traditionally defines the US marketing research space as primarily Full Service agencies (yielding about USD $15 billion in aggregate revenue), while this new Insights & Analytics definition includes a much expanded list of ‘insights’ activities (yielding about USD $47 billion in aggregate revenue). Therefore any effort to bridge the two approaches should initially focus on contrasting the Top 50 Report with the group of companies in the new Insights & Analytics ‘Full Service Research’ segment; i.e. the area in which the two approaches are most similar.

The Insights & Analytics definition consistently portrays a larger and more slowly expanding Full Service Research segment (see table below).   

Full Service Research

US Market Revenue (‘000 USD)

2017

2018

Growth % 2018/2017

2019

Growth % 2019/2018

As defined by ….

Top 50 (Honomichl)

$13,743,500

$14,919,900

8.6%

$15,609,300

4.6 %

As defined by ….

Insights & Analytics

$18,123,399

$18,781,040

3.6%

$19,575,013

4.2%

This difference is driven primarily by these four factors:

  1. The Top 50 methodology attempts to remove company revenue obtained from other US marketing research companies in an effort to eliminate double-counting when estimating the total market size.  The Insights & Analytics methodology does not include this elimination.
  1. The Top 50 methodology attempts to remove company YOY revenue shifts driven by merger & acquisition activity.  The Insights & Analytics methodology does make this adjustment.
  1. Partially offsetting affects from the above differences, the Insights & Analytics methodology attempts to remove company revenue classified as ‘pass thru’.  
  1. The Top 50 ‘Estimated Balance’ (aka All Other) adjustment includes only the population of Insights Association membership.  The Insights & Analysis adjustment attempts to estimate the entire market including companies not included in Insights Association membership.

These differences can also be illustrated by revisiting the Insights & Analytics Full Service Research segment table.  For comparison purposes, the table below adds the corresponding individual company 2019 US revenue figures from the Top 50 Report.  Clearly the methodological differences (summarized as points 1 thru 3 above) applied to individual company assumptions do have an effect on overall revenue estimates.  But the majority of the gap between the two methods in determining total revenue for the ‘Full Service’ group of companies appears to be driven by the broader population of companies included in the Insights & Analytics ‘Estimated Balance’ calculation.    

Full Service Research Segment Companies
2019 US Market Revenue (‘000 USD)

Company

As defined by …
Insights & Analytics

As defined by …
Top 50 (Honomichl)

Nielsen

$3,703,860

$3,875,000

IQVIA

$1,895,662

$2,220,000

IRi

$796,380

$815,000

Ipsos

$784,925

$682,000

Kantar

$516,683

$950,000

Westat

$501,663

$590,000

AIR

$492,978

Not included

Abt Associates

$397,389

Not included

Comscore

$338,082

$336,100
GfK $301,082 $320,000
 
dunnhumby $229,263 $100,000
 

Estimated Balance of Segment

$9,617,046

$5,721,200

Total Segment

$19,575,013

$15,609,300

A table listing the 50 largest companies based upon the Top 50 Report traditional definition of marketing research revenue (USD ‘000,000) in the US market, as well as the complete Top 50 report, may be accessed here

Rank Company US Market 2019 US Market
2019/2018
Global
2019
US Market 2018 Global
2018
1 Nielsen** $3,875.0 1.6% $6,498.0 $3,815.0 $6,515.0
2 IQVIA* ** $2,220.0 8.6% $4,386.0 $2,045.0 $4,137.0
3 Gartner Research** $1,800.0 4.7% $3,274.5 $1,720.0 $3,105.8
4 Kantar**  $950.0 2.7% $3,850.0 $925.0 $3,815.0
5 IRI (Information Resources, Inc.)** $815.0 1.9% $1,325.0 $800.0 $1,300.0
6 Ipsos* $682.0 16.2% $2,367.0 $587.0 $1,976.0
7 Westat** $590.0 3.5% $597.0 $570.0 $577.0
8 The NPD Group $339.5 8.6% $444.0 $312.7 $412.5
9 comScore* ** $336.1 -6.5% $388.6 $359.4 $419.5
10 GfK** $320.0 3.2% $1,600.0 $310.0 $1,585.0
11 Forrester Research Services** $233.7 32.9% $298.7 $175.9 $228.4
12 J.D. Power** $217.0 3.3% $330.0 $210.0 $320.0
13 ICF* $173.7 0.5% $226.3 $172.8 $238.6
14 Material* $166.7 0.3% $224.6 $138.6 $187.5
15 Wood Mackenzie** $150.0 3.4% $485.0 $145.0 $460.0
16 DRG (Decision Resources Group)** $140.0 2.2% $193.0 $137.0 $190.0
17 MaritzCX** $118.0 0.0% $162.0 $118.0 $162.0
18 NRC Health $113.0 10.8% $116.6 $102.0 $106.2
19 Informa Financial Intelligence** $107.0 1.9% $143.0 $105.0 $140.0
20 dunnhumby** $100.0 -3.8% $435.0 $104.0 $460.0
21 Escalent $97.1 -3.4% $102.6 $100.5 $103.9
22 Concentrix**  $95.0 11.8% $225.0 $85.0 $200.0
23 Phoenix Marketing International $77.0 -3.8% $81.5 $80.0 $85.4
24 YouGov* $76.8 11.8% $184.3 $68.7 $166.8
25 Burke $71.1 9.0% $78.0 $65.2 $74.0
26 Engine Insights** $71.0 4.4% $115.0 $68.0 $110.0
27 C Space** $70.0 2.9% $88.0 $68.0 $86.0
28 Macromill Group** $68.5 2.2% $328.5 $67.0 $327.0
29 Cello Health plc* ** $64.5 23.3% $123.0 $52.3 $118.2
30 NRG (National Research Group)** $59.0 1.7% $63.0 $58.0 $62.0
31 Fors Marsh Group (FMG)* $57.5 22.1% $57.5 $47.1 $47.1
32 Directions Research $54.2 17.8% $54.2 $46.0 $46.0
33 Hanover Research $52.7 14.1% $55.3 $46.2 $49.0
34 SMG** $52.0 4.0% $58.0 $50.0 $56.5
35 Market Force** $50.0 2.0% $57.0 $49.0 $56.5
36 Radius GMR $42.0 0.0% $43.0 $42.0 $43.0
37 BVA Group** $36.0 2.6% $183.0 $35.1 $182.0
38 SSRS $34.3 -1.2% $35.5 $34.7 $35.1
39 The Link Group $34.2 23.9% $34.5 $27.6 $29.3
40 MarketVision Research $33.2 2.5% $33.2 $32.4 $32.4
41 Screen Engine/ASI $33.0 10.0% $34.9 $30.0 $30.0
42 Chadwick Martin Bailey $28.7 20.6% $28.7 $23.8 $23.8
43 Maru/Matchbox** $28.0 3.7% $42.0 $27.0 $41.0
44 Gongos, Inc. $24.2 -3.6% $25.4 $25.1 $27.0
45 NAXION $22.7 12.9% $22.7 $20.1 $20.1
46 KS&R  $21.7 -1.4% $25.3 $22.0 $24.8
47 Edelman Intelligence $21.0 12.9% $32.5 $18.6 $29.6
48 Bellomy** $21.0 1.4% $21.0 $20.7 $20.7
49 Hypothesis $18.3 -4.7% $18.3 $19.2 $19.2
50 RTi $12.9 -3.0% $12.9 $13.2 $13.2
  Subtotal $14,874.3 4.8% $29,608.1 $14,194.9 $28,495.1
  211 Additional Insights Assoc Members  $735.0 1.4% $833.0 $725.0 $835.0
  Industry Total $15,609.3 4.6% $30,441.1 $14,919.9 $29,330.1

* ‘’% Change’ calculation reflects adjustment of previously reported 2018 U.S. Research Revenue due to acquisition/divestiture activity or other business change during 2019
** ‘Some or all figures are not made available by this company so instead are based upon research and estimation by the Report author
- ‘This company did not participate in last year’s Top 50 Report

The remaining seven segments that define the broadened Insights & Analytics US market taxonomy are comprised almost entirely of companies that have not traditionally been included in the Top 50 definition of the market.  The few exceptions to this are primarily the result of reclassification of companies to segments other than ‘Full Service Research’ such as Gartner, Forrester, NPD Group and JD Power now being categorized as ‘Syndicated & Vertical Reports’ in the new Insights & Analytics approach.

Overall Market Perspectives 

The implications of this new market definition are many.  Solely from a measurement perspective, the Insights & Analytics approach ‘throws the net wider’ in terms of attempting to include the total population of Full Service Research companies, and ‘throws the net wider’ in terms of including companies in additional segments defined by a much expanded list of insights activities.  It would appear that this is not a flawed way of looking at our market; just a considerably different way.

From a strategic perspective, the existence of more and varied data sources, and the sophistication of the technologies used to harness them, is inviting a broader range of disciplines to the development of insights solutions.  This is why the number and breadth of included segments ‘in our space’ is growing.  Perhaps it is not as much the marketing research industry moving toward these other disciplines but rather these other lines of business recognizing the existence and value of survey data and the proven statistical techniques being applied.  This ‘coming together’ to address the expanding needs of market intelligence has defined a much broader universe.  And this universe has attracted lines of business not previously considered as partners or competitors in the traditional marketing research space.

In such a business model the need for traditional marketing research remains.  Various combinations of disciplines will appear, each requiring strong research expertise.  Each will require either the collection and/or analysis of survey data.  There are signs of this ‘coming together’ all around us.  It may be in the form of players from ‘within’ our traditional market, such as LRW Group’s (recently rebranded as Material) acquisitions of T3 (digital marketing), Salt (brand management), Karma Agency (creative), and Killer Infographics (visual communication).  Or it might be in the form of large players from beyond our traditional space such as IBM’s acquisitions of Truven (analytics), Resource/Ammirati (analytics) and Explorys (analytics), and SAP’s acquisition of Qualtrics.

As we individually explore the possibilities of  ‘coming together’ to thrive in this expanding Insights & Analytics space we look for an understanding of what the new players are thinking;  the perspectives of the leaders defining the emerging segments of this morphing space.  Do they share this perspective of coming together?  Do they see themselves as part of an expanding marketing intelligence space, or as a new order of insights professionals?  Our intent is to continually launch initiatives such as this Insights & Analytics market segmentation concept to help expand the collective understanding of our transforming market.