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2016 was a year characterized by upheaval; on both social and political levels the world came face-to-face with unrest and immense change. Brexit and the surprise election of Trump brought the vehement opposition to globalization to the forefront of public discussion. Now, more than ever, nationalistic pride is flavoring peoples’ and countries’ demands, both in the political sphere, but also in that of enterprise and goods and services. The upsets of 2016 will have widespread implications in the new year, including changing and shaping the market research trends in 2017.


Below, we’ve identified some of the market research trends that we believe are going to mark the new year:


  • Increasing need for research amidst global uncertainty
  • A focus on the personal dimension
  • Culture as having a competitive advantage
  • Youth’s divergence from the rest of the world



Global Uncertainty Driving Market Research


With new levels of economic, political, and monetary uncertainty around the world in 2017, we believe, as does Joe Newsum of Kentley Insights,  that companies will turn increasingly to market research for solutions. Companies will seek to counter and adjust for the unforeseen shifts in their businesses and to objectively understand the drivers of change – driving business for both qualitative and quantitative marketing firms. However, with increasing demands for individualized and personalized products and services, we foresee qualitative market research garnering more of the interest.


Marketing to the Individual


While we at InterQ don’t necessarily agree with the sentiments behind the phenomena of the Trump election and Brexit – they hold imperative lessons for the future of market research in 2017. Increasing nationalistic tendencies hint that consumers increasingly want products made by them, for them. We could be seeing the disintegration of mass markets, the death of one-size-fits-all, and a redefining of economies of scale. The importance and capability of firms to customize their users’ experiences is imperative. This is where qualitative market research has the upper hand.  With methodologies that include ethnographic studies, focus groups and in-depth interviews, qualitative marketing firms can supply the information required to develop highly personalized and localized products and services.


Culture as a Competitive Advantage


As human-focused design takes center-stage in brand-innovation, insights into the cultural nuances of regions and countries will be more important than ever. For James Andrew of SMASHD, understanding consumers’ motivations, passions, societal and cultural frameworks is the way forward –  it’s what will provide firms with the foundation to expand their business to niche-markets, and to tie into the national and cultural pride of specific regions and countries. While Big Data can provide a lot of answers, in order to achieve a holistic understanding of cultural nuances, you need to have people on the ground. Culture can’t be captured through just statistics and number-crunching; we know from experience that that type of expertise comes best with the type of personal interaction that qualitative marketing firms can provide.


Youth and the Rest of the World


As firms begin to strategize for the new year there are a couple things they should keep in mind. Most importantly, the widening divergence between youth and the rest of the population in terms of global perspective and outlook. According to Forbes, today’s youth are taking substantial steps away from consumerism, choosing experiences over material goods, and furthermore, emphasizing the ethical and value implications of purchases. In Brexit, the youth voted overwhelmingly in favor of staying within the EU – their generation is more globalized and educated than any other. With an increasing divergence between the modern youth and older generations firms will progressively have to account for a more varied and increasingly complex global market. Chris Hirst, Europe CEO of market research firm Havas states that undulations between globalized and protectionist policy and rhetoric will likely become more volatile in the coming year, greatly complicating issues for firms – the answer? You got it, market research. And with an increasingly nuanced marketplace, firms can’t do better than ethnographic and other qualitative market research tools.


To find out more about how market research can advantage firms in the coming year, read more of InterQ’s blog posts here.

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