Glastonbury, CT - The Research Industry Index (RII) continues to linger at a low of 96 for the second quarter of 2011 after four straight quarters of the Index hovering around 100. This is the second quarter since 2009 in which there was a low score, with scores for 2010 being 98, 98, 101 and 100 for each respective quarter.

RII is a composite score based on reported changes in multiple key business metrics (RFPs, projects and staffing levels), as well as changes in business owners’ perceptions of the health of their business.

“Based on the most recent results of the survey, we are seeing the continued stagnation of business with rather minimal or no growth for all key metrics,” said Ken Roberts, PRC, Chairman of MRA’s Board of Directors and author of the report.

“The stale economy is putting a damper on the profitability of research companies with one third of them reporting decreased margins compared to the previous quarter,” Roberts added.

“While this affects firms of all sizes, it has been more substantial among small to medium size firms. Also, smaller firms (under $1 million in revenue) are still hurting in terms of projects/booked revenue with a net decrease of 4 percent compared to a net increase of the same amount among medium/larger firms,” he said.

“Both corporate researchers and research firms remain reluctant to increase staffing. The staff increases that are happening tend to be at the largest firms. It will be interesting to see if this continues in future quarters and how it will affect the industry,” Roberts added.

This wave of RII – the Marketing Research Association's leading indicator of business activity in the U.S. marketing research industry – is based on online interviews that were conducted among 196 senior executives from both corporate researchers and marketing research firms via a survey hosted by IDE Associates. Reporting was completed by Cooper Roberts Research for the Marketing Research Association (MRA).

For more information, see the RII on the MRA website: