Six Market Research Trends To Watch In 2016

The approaching new year looks to be an exciting time for market researchers and clients alike. As consumers expect an ever more tailored experience what they watch and how they shop online and in-store, the research providing deep insights into the consumer world will need to be more flexible, customizable, and focused on the “experiencing-self.” Continuing to find new ways to incorporate innovative technology, while creating a cohesive story from a full range of research offerings, is more important than ever. 

1. Ad spending will continue to move mobile. As more ad spending continues to market toward Millennial and Centennial consumers, the focus will be on mobile and video — where these generations are plugged in constantly. These types of advertisements require us to rethink  current models of ad testing and incorporate newer technology that can track and monitor how the younger generations respond to advertising on mobile devices.



2. As brands increase efforts to measure the experiencing-self of consumers along with the remembering-self of consumers that has traditionally been measured, integrating the two becomes critical. Research methodologies like monitoring and ethnography need to be paired with data from survey research to better understand the full picture of what is going on with consumers. 

3. The new shopping landscape — “buy anything, anywhere.” Consumers want immediacy and they want everything custom tailored. Older retail models that don’t buy into anytime anywhere are severely challenged in the new marketplace. Just the other day, my younger daughter and I were discussing her sister’s love for peanut butter (and her frustration that her college roommates love it so much so that she often complains its gone before she gets any). While driving in the car having this conversation, my daughter pulled out her iPad and ordered her sister a case of the good stuff as a Christmas present. The new three-dimensional structure of buying channels requires a more robust research initiative into the various ways people consume in the “buy anything, anywhere” age.

4. Big data keeps getting bigger. Storage is cheap; processing is cheap — so cheap that companies are able to house and store massive amounts of data for very little cost. As companies’ partner and merge, data from one company gets interconnected to data from others. Using this data, it is easier to understand buying data and make predictions based on action X makes outcome Y. The old days of opinion, intuition or instinct are fast losing ground to predictive analytics based on real models of historical data. Researchers will shepherd client companies through the noise that big data produces and assist in identifying potential improvements in communication, efficiency, and cost-cutting that comes from modeling and predicting the future using data from the past.

5. As consumption increases, so does video spend. Every statistic about video consumption is on the rise and shows no sign of slowing. YouTube boasts that partner revenue and the number of channels earning six figures on YouTube are up 50% year over year. Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime continue to create compelling content that competes with the traditional networks.
Sure, video is important to consumers, but it’s also key for marketers and advertisers. The Online Publishers Association reports that four of five Internet users recall watching a video ad on a website they visited in the last 30 days. The majority of senior executives state they’d rather watch a video than read written text, according to Forbes Insight. Measuring engagement with video, particularly on mobile devices, is key to understanding its effectiveness on the target audience.

6. In-store experience is more critical than ever. Experience elements have an enormous effect on how much time a shopper spends in store, the amount a shopper spends, and customers’ likelihood to return to that establishment. Businesses are paying attention. Many are looking at exploring in-store navigation, the usefulness of signage, and zoomed-out shopper experience. Retailers are focusing more on what goes on while their customers are in the store and focusing research efforts on the entire experience as opposed to interactions with a given product or category.

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