The Association for Qualitative Research
The Hub of Qualitative Excellence

Insights into the Euro market

Everyone knows the qual research market is very buoyant, but the ESOMAR statistics on qual tell an interesting story beginning with the fact that it wasn't deemed important enough to start measuring until 1992!

Esomar agencies 1997 qual share

Country-by-country figures show that qual tends to be strongest in less-developed markets, notably Eastern Europe, but also, say, in Spain and Greece. This seems to be a reflection of the fact that thorough market measurement requires complex and stable marketing infrastructure and big budgets ­ compared to the relative ease and cheapness of the core understanding that qual brings. So although the UK is a 'centre of excellence' for qual, the qual share of total research is actually nothing special. The same happens to be true for other more mature European markets like Germany.

Interestingly, although quant is the larger, more mature sector, it has experienced more market structural changes ­ fast-declining use of postal and in-home surveys, rising use of telephone. There has also been a consistent rise in the proportion of continuous/data capture quant ­ and a consequent fall in the relative importance of quant which is ad hoc.

In contrast, the share of groups vs depths has remained very similar ­ and although there is a lot of talk about alternative methodologies, these have yet to make a major commercial impact.


Mike Imms
This article was first published in InBrief magazine, November 1999
Copyright © Association for Qualitative Research, 1999