The global market research and analysis industry is ripe for disruption. Many companies that have made their name in research and analysis outsourcing such as Gartner, Forrester, among others, are not the only players anymore. When it comes to providing targeted intelligence on multiple topics to modern businesses, the field has leveled owing to several disruptions that we saw in the past few years and will continue seeing this segmentation down the line as well. Today market research and analysis are capably performed by freelance consultants, smaller boutique firms, etc. because of easier access to data and a revolutionary set of open-source tools that make reporting and dashboarding especially easy.
Top 10 Research and Analysis Industry Trends for 2020
Today's revolution in research and analysis is being driven by Big Data, AI, and machine learning which can spot trends across industries. This in turn helps data scientists and analysts derive important information that can change your business outlook. In the US alone, one of the key markets for research and development analysis, annual revenue is expected to touch $31 billion from $23 billion a year back. Let us have a look at some key trends of the research and analysis industry in 2020 which will shape the future as we know it.
Traditional Methods Will Give Way to Modern Ones
While the growth of research and analysis was fueled by time and resource-intensive research methodologies such as paper and online surveys, Q&A sessions, etc. But the move towards more modern, data-based surveys and emerging research and analysis techniques that rely on human behavior, spend patterns, etc. are becoming more commonplace. Social media analytics, online communication channels, mobile surveys, etc. are regularly finding a larger audience.
Real Strategy will take over "Tech-washing"
One of the key trends that will shape the research and analysis industry in 2020 is something that not many expected. There is a vast influx of user-friendly technologies which are permeating the field of research and analysis services. So much so, that most research organizations now consider themselves a tech company. While digital transformation has allowed many to chart renewed growth, more companies are realizing that simply slapping tech labels on their products and practices do not reap enough benefits.
In 2020, expect more businesses to go back to the drawing board and offer services that are strategy-first. Rather than using technology as a crutch, these businesses will focus on offering differentiated solutions that strategically integrate technology into their company culture and service roadmap.
Emerging Technology Will Be Worth the Hype
Over the past few years emerging technologies have gathered steam in terms of theoretical and practical implications that can change the landscape of online research and analysis techniques. More research organizations are investing in the infrastructure of the future, evaluating early-stage onboarding for technologies such as 5G, blockchain, etc. A recent study that delved into end-user data shows that most technologies have a very slow adoption curve across new trends, with only two trends which usually end up reaching critical mass. But technologies that rely on 5G infrastructure are now becoming a reality and talks about quantum computing never seem to stop. Therefore, while the research and analysis industry show signs of settling down, it's the newcomers who onboard these emerging technologies first who stand to gain the most.
IoT and AI will continue to Redefine R&A
As a key emerging technology from a couple of years back, IoT-based applications have found tremendous approval, especially in predictive research and analysis trends. Today internet of things has joined cloud computing as two of the most requested technological upgradations for the research and analysis industry. Businesses are discovering the value of digitizing their entire operations while collecting data that can help with decision-making and strategic expansions. AI, on the other hand, seems to have been tailor-made for the demands of the research and analysis outsourcing industry. Having to deal with massive datasets than just specific data points, AI is allowing the leaders of tomorrow to ensure quality while promoting strategic business decision making. More companies are defining their data insight with precision, allowing them to delve deeper into consumer patterns and figure out market trends before they happen.
Consumer Collaboration Will Be the New Buzzword
Today, consumers have enhanced access to the digital world. The shift of power from offline to online never took much time. New social and mobile technologies have lifted the average consumer's desire to engage and collaborate with brands. Community building is at the forefront of what most brands are looking at for the future too. This has therefore given a chance to market research companies to gain in-depth consumer insight and provide better knowledge to their clients.
Automation Will Kickstart the Race to the Top
Imagine being able to significantly speed up your entire market research process while enabling deeper insights and driving efficiency at every step. Now, imagine doing this and so much more without any investment in terms of resources while saving time. Automation in 2020 will change the very fabric of the market research industry and remains one of the top trends of the research and analysis industry.
Brands will rely on automation for marketing and data collection, among others while leveraging new research tools used to guide decision making. Automation will allow researchers to “trim the fat” from the exhaustive market research process while allowing them to remove poor methodologies with diminished returns and anecdotal results.
Chatbots are the Future
Every step in our digital evolution is earmarked by a piece of technology that becomes ubiquitous. As we move closer to a world where seemingly endless marketing opportunities exist for the right approach-takers, chatbots are becoming an increasingly realistic option for enhanced market research and analysis. Coupled with AI, chatbots can have multiple conversations with people on behalf of businesses, getting better quality results and improved response rates in most cases.
Emotional Market Research Will Gain Prevalence
As consumers start making more emotionally charged purchase decisions, more and more successful brands will want to utilize emotional values to help build strategic foundations for their products and services. This directly can affect product positioning, product differentiation, and a more authentic brand connect compared to most other methods. One of the new opportunities in KPO is emotional research. Realeyes, a startup in this space employs standard webcams to record facial expressions of the people involved in focus groups for enhanced emotional analytics. According to them, this technology can help find authentic feelings of individuals in real-time while giving brands an accurate idea of the intensity of a feeling. Emotional analytics have been found to have a 75% accuracy rate in predicting sales.
Over the past decade, cybersecurity gradually began to shift from a defensive mindset to a proactive one which leveraged the best in technology, processes, and cyber education to ensure better deliverables. Moving forward, we expect to see cybersecurity move from being just a component to an essential business function. There is a 44% rise in malware and 117% rise in ransomware threats for businesses around a world, a key reason why research organizations around the world are now assigning dedicated functions to cybersecurity to help their business grow. As data becomes more progressive and invasive, cybersecurity measures need to protect said data and its components from malicious attempts. Clients also want to work with firms that have dedicated cybersecurity measures in place and will be one of the emerging trends in the market research industry for 2020.
Increased Scrutiny and Regulations
GDPR or the General Data Protection Regulation has brought in sweeping changes in the way market research companies function and provide their analytical services. TSs one of the largest regulatory changes in consumer privacy law to date, GDPR has single-handedly changed the way research companies work. Even in the USA, states such as California and Vermont have passed individual regulations to safeguard consumer interests.
As public trust erodes rapidly in companies whose data gets breached, expect to see major research companies announce major changes in the way they collect information and disburse the same.
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