Market research future: 5 trends

Market research is crucial for a business on so many levels. We have covered ‘the why’ in a recent post. But what does the future looks like for market research? In this article, we will look at a few ideas that will impact market research in the coming years.

Here are some macro-level trends that you should pay attention to: 

1. Microdata will gain more importance.  

In the last ten years, researchers have stayed bullish on the possibilities of big data. For the uninitiated, big data involves the analysis of large amounts of data using technology.

The thing is — data is freely available in our world already. But the valley between public data and useful business insights is widening.

Finding relevant insights from macro-level data is like searching for a needle in the haystack.

Experts believe that big data is stuck in the ‘trough of disillusionment’ — a phenomenon first described by Gartner, a consulting firm, as one of the stages in the lifecycle of new technology. (Figure 1 below) 

market research future - trough of disillusionment
Source: Nuremberg Institute for Market Decisions

Today we are starting to see a shift of opinion as more experts are now vouching for the effectiveness of micro-data as opposed to big data for market research. The focus will shift towards qualitative research for understanding individual customer behaviors. 

Qualitative research on a micro-level while staying closer to the target audience is arguably more useful. It helps in personalizing offerings, staying relevant, and achieving meaningful outcomes.

Solutions that help capture micro-level insights, like user feedback, will work well for businesses of all sizes.

2. Data collection will get more complex and costlier.  

Getting access to relevant data is the core of market research, and in a world conscious of data privacy, this process will become harder.

Initiatives around fair data usage policy, first-party data collection, and privacy laws like CCNA and GDPR are already at play.

Tactics like audience snooping and platforms that deep-dive into user behaviors will fail. We already saw this happening with Facebook and Cambridge Analytica debacle.

facebook controversy and market research future

The post-pandemic scenario limiting offline research isn’t helping the scenario either. It’s hard to get your hands on meaningful insights, especially for companies with low budgets already. This will get only harder and costlier in the coming years. 

Getting access to clean and consented data will drive market research’s future. So, tools and strategies with a fair data use policy and real-time access at scale will become more useful.

3. Online and social listening will drive research. 

The pandemic has expanded the horizons for online market research. 

Sarah Boumphrey, the Global Research Director at Euromonitor International, says, “Companies will have to get ever closer to the consumer in 2021. Agility, innovation, and bold choices will be needed in order to identify growth opportunities. In this environment, market research and the actionable insights it provides are even more crucial than ever.”

But reducing budgets for primary research has seriously threatened market research’s agility. This scenario has increased the demand for online market research tools.

In the future, market research will keep pivoting to an online-first research model.

Techniques like social listening have already become crucial to gather data insights. Tools that help uncover insights from online feedback, sentiments, and public data are sought after.

Primarily because of the power to scan real-time trends and data analytics. Also, it helps save time and money that is otherwise spent on gathering focus groups.

Social listening and online trend analysis help discover early signs and opportunities. This also helps you address apprehensions, pivot faster and improve their proposition. This trend will affect how market research happens across the world.

Plus, this method is more cost-effective for early-stage startups and founders looking to pivot based on user feedback.

Article: How to do market research in 5-minutes per day

4. Real-time market research will pick pace. 

Traditionally, market research has always been seen as a costly and one-time activity.

But today’s evolving business models need more agility than conventional market research offers. You cannot afford to waste time on long feedback loops and costly market research processes. 

Real-time user feedback has helped several companies achieve a product-market fit faster and succeed quickly in the past. 

Take the example of Dropbox. When they first launched, their core product idea was released in a video about what Dropbox could do.

Using the comments on the video and direct feedback emails, Dropbox added missing features, improved its MVP, and released it publicly. We all know how successful it turned out to be eventually. 

Continuous market research driven by real-time user feedback is the need of the hour. Real-time feedback impacts important product decisions in a modern business.

For example, real-time social listening can help identify when your audience is searching for a solution.

Real-time market research helps prioritize in-demand solution and get a comprehensive picture of market needs, audience needs, and user behavior — all of which is useful for building a successful company in 2022.

A tool like GapScout that scans user feedback in real-time will work better for market research in the future. It will help build a customer-centric growth roadmap that promises success.

5. Technologies like AI will rule the research domain.  

Businesses need crisp and relevant data faster. And artificial intelligence caters to this need well. Unlike earlier technologies for gathering data and analytics, AI is smart. It can understand the intent behind data through NLP and improve qualitative insights from market research. Using AI for market research helps in:

  • Automating recurring tasks like feedback/pain point discovery based on micro-level trends. 
  • Analyzing publically available data to derive meaningful and focused insights for business success.
  • Identify trends based on interactions using natural language processing (NLP) models.

AI’s reasoning and perception capabilities will help remove problems associated with big data.

The right balance between technology and human foresight will help market research and drive decision-making in the future. Be it for product discovery, data-driven product road mapping or launching a new offering.

Reinvent your market research process so that you will to take part in the market research future.

Automation and deep analytics pave the way for success in a competitive ecosystem. So, naturally, market research as a function will see meaningful reinvention.

The future of market research belongs to the micro-level analysis of audience insights. If this is new to you, then don’t worry, GapScout can help by automating review analysis in your industry.

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Anmol Sachdeva
Anmol Sachdeva
Anmol is an independent content marketing consultant who loves to write actionable pieces on small business growth, marketing automation, market research, and growth as a solopreneur. Reach out on Twitter.

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