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When marketers think of market research, surveys are likely to be the approach that comes first to mind. But the latest Greenbook Industry Trends (GRIT) report illustrates there is a wide and growing toolbox available for researchers with many new emerging technologies, a healthy proportion of which are now seeing mainstream levels of adoption.

As an example, one technique that has been among the fastest-growing year-over-year is the use of virtual environments and VR, with 17% of respondents claiming they are using this as one of their market research methods – up from 11% a year prior.

Various types of analytics have also seen significant percentage point rises, even though their adoption rates indicate they are among the mainstream of market research techniques. Among these are text analytics (51% adoption, up 4 points), social media analytics (49% adoption, up 6 points) and big data analytics (45% adoption, up 7 points).

Among the few market research technologies that have seen a dip in adoption rates is applied neuroscience, which has fallen by 1 percentage point, and is used by some 1 in 5 (20%) of those surveyed. But the related topic of non-conscious methods – also now in the mainstream – has seen an upward trend.

In sum, more than 8 in 10 market research industry participants had these techniques in use (57%) or consideration (25%). Rises were seen in the use of eye tracking (38% vs 34% the year prior), biometric response (16% vs. 12%), and facial analysis (4%). It’s worth noting, however, that the points given above do not necessarily mean these techniques are being used heavily – rather they are used sometimes.

Quantitative Research Still Leads Qualitative

Another area that the GRIT report covers is the split between quantitative and qualitative research techniques. Despite the new methods on the market, the percentage split in these macro categories has remained somewhat consistent over the years. Respondents said that typically 62% of their research could be described as quantitative (up from 60% in 2017, and matching 2016’s figure) and 34% was qualitative (2017 being 35%, 2016 at 33%).

Within this split, online surveys (79%) and mobile surveys (53%) were most likely to be in the top three most-used quantitative methods, with in-person focus groups (58%) and in-person in-depth interviews (42%) leading the qualitative techniques. As such, these came far ahead of techniques such as biometrics/neuromarketing (7%) and automated interviews via AI (2%).

The full report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: Data is based on a survey of 1,260 market research professionals, 931 of which were suppliers and 329 were clients. The GRIT sample is not necessarily representative of the market research population.

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