Domestic Insights and Data Analytics revenue totaled approximately USD$48 billion in 2020 – growing about 4% – remarkable considering overall U.S. GDP contracted 3.5% in an economy slammed by the global COVID pandemic.

This impressive performance was thanks to double-digit increases posted by companies operating in three sectors: Self Service Platforms (35.4% growth), Enterprise Feedback Management (21.8%) and Consulting (21.2%), according to the just-released 2021 Insights & Analytics Market & Top 50 Report (formerly Honomichl & Gold).

Companies operating in Data Analytics (6% growth) and Social Listening & Communities (6.5% growth) also helped buoy the market. The more traditional players in the space, defined as “Established Marketing Research” agencies and providers of “Industry Reports & Research”, posted revenue loss of 1.2% and 4.3% respectively in 2020. Combined, these two segments make up just over half of the total Insights & Analytics marketplace tracked in this study.

Authored this year by Michael Brereton, with the Master of Science in Marketing Research Program at Michigan State University, The Top 50 Report has a 48-year history and is published by the Insights Association, in partnership with industry consultant Diane Bowers, Outsell, Inc., and ESOMAR.

“The strength exhibited by insights and analytics providers as indicated in the Top 50 Report spotlights the value they provide,” commented Melanie Courtright, CEO of the Insights Association. “In an unprecedented year, business leaders needed to quickly assess and predict shifting consumer demands; marketers urgently required detailed analytics and sage guidance and they turned to IA member companies and their peers. It is important to note that the key sectors of growth align with investments in technology and a commitment to innovate to provide quick, agile, cost-effective techniques.”

The ability of the Insights and Analytics industry to weather the storm of 2020 contrasts with the impact felt during the last major economic disruption – the Great Recession of 2008-2009. In 2009 the Top 50 aggregate revenue contracted 3.5% while the overall U.S. market GDP contracted only 2.5%. It took several years for the marketing research industry to consistently return to its traditional growth rate of about 4%.

The market share leader by segment in 2020 was Established Marketing Research at 37% – this includes such perennial leaders as Nielsen (#1 at $3.65 Billion) IQVIA (#3 at $2.09 Billion) and IRI (#8 at $1 Billion). Next at 21% is Digital Data Analytics performed by the likes of Salesforce (#4 at $2.05 Billion) and Adobe Systems (#5 at $1.63 Billion). Providers of Industry Reports & Research make up 16% of the overall market with contributions from #2 Gartner ($2.54 Billion), #6 CoStar Group ($1.58 Billion) and #7 IHS Markit ($1.17 Billion).

The sectors growing at the fastest clip are: Self-Service Platforms – such as those offered by Qualtrics (#15 at $552 Million) and #38 Momentive (formerly SurveyMonkey at $244 Million). This sector enjoyed 35.4% growth over 2019. Meanwhile, Enterprise Feedback Management (#29 Medallia, $348M; #49 Verint Systems, $146M; and #50 InMoment, $143M) posted sector-wide growth of 21.8%. Consulting Firms (#9 Booz Allen Hamilton, $915M; #12 Deloitte, $636M; and #21 McKinsey, $430M) posted a robust 21.2% increase over 2019.

The market scope of this year’s Top 50 Report is substantially broader than the “Full-Service Marketing Research” segment historically tracked. This new taxonomy includes an expanded list of 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 as in support of, but not included in, the traditional marketing research space.

“The newly expanded scope of the Top 50 Report is a true reflection of the breadth of work being done by the companies leading our industry forward,” Courtright said. “The gains accomplished during a most challenging year should instill confidence that our industry’s leading companies are positioned well for the economic recovery.”

The full 2021 Insights & Analytics Market & Top 50 Report may be accessed here.