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2021 GRIT report analyzes the impact of COVID-19 on the market research industry

The market research industry regularly awaits the release of GreenBook’s GRIT report, generally published twice per year. Last month was the first report (called the Insights Practice edition) to be released that illustrated the profound changes that the pandemic has had on the business of market research and consumer insights. 


One thing is clear that, whether forced or by choice, researchers are adopting a high number of new approaches to uncovering consumer insights. For example, qualitative research has had to get creative with safe, online approaches to gathering feedback. In addition, people are using more mobile methodologies, alongside emerging data analysis techniques such as text and social media analytics, neuroscience and facial and eye tracking. Bringing all these data streams together for a holistic audience view will continue to be critical for understanding. 


This could be the driving force behind the fact that among market research company types, technology providers (up 70.6%) and data analytics providers (up 13.9%) are growing rapidly. Investment in technology solutions and platforms can help market research companies meet demands for speed, cost savings and ROI.


With each wave, the GRIT report explores new technologies and “buzz topics” to gauge overall adoption and interest. This latest report indicates that “data visualization” (83%) continues to reign as the “buzziest” topic among GRIT respondents, however agile research (72%), data integration (64%) and automation (54%) are also very much top of mind and show strong growth.” These are all arenas that are a key focus of OfficeReports, with our agile, automated approach to data analysis and data reporting.


Another important aspect of the report is how researchers are spending their time. The executive summary shows that insights and data analytics professionals are spending nearly half their time on “tasks related to collecting and analyzing data.” By replacing manual steps with automated solutions and processes, a significant time savings can be achieved. This frees up more time for market researchers to take a consultative approach, something the report indicates “is a key activity for the industry to further define and deliver.”


In periods of significant disruption like this, market research has always seen significant change as it struggles to adapt to evolving expectations from both brands and consumers. The GRIT report data indicates that the shifts happening now will have long-term impacts, something we’ve seen reflected on the consumer side, as many people plan to continue new behaviors post-pandemic. It concludes with this important message: “The question that hangs over the industry is the same question that hangs over virtually every aspect of our current existence: now that we’ve adapted, will we ever go back?”