The Research Industry Index (RII) – the Marketing Research Association's leading indicator of business activity in the US marketing research industry – which gradually improved throughout 2011, and almost reached the 100 mark, dropped significantly to a score of 94 for the first quarter 2012, and remains at this lower level (currently 93) for the second quarter 2012.

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.

Ken Roberts, PRC, MRA’s Immediate Past Chairman and author of the report states, “Smaller and medium size firms (under $5 millionU.S.in revenues) are primarily driving the lower score. However, a sizable portion of the larger firms also experienced a decrease in RFPs/proposals and revenue.”  

Both corporate researchers and research firms remain reluctant to increase staffing, which has remained virtually flat since the end of 2009.

This wave of the RII is based on online interviews that were conducted among 237 senior executives from both corporate researchers and marketing research firms via a survey hosted by Universal Survey. Reporting was completed by Cooper Roberts Research for the Marketing Research Association (MRA).