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Nielsen continues to be by far the largest US market research company, outstripping its nearest competitor in US research revenues by a more than 2:1 margin, according to the 2019 GreenBook Market Leaders Report. In 2018 Nielsen’s US revenues surpassed $3.8 billion, up 2.3% year-over-year.

Before diving further into the list, here’s a little background. GreenBook’s US Top 50 rankings are based on US revenue which has been independently validated. They define research companies as “organizations that derive the majority of their revenue through providing service-based research.” In 2018, these top 50 companies reported total revenue of $28.4 billion, with US revenue ($13.6 billion) accounting for 48% of that figure.

Nielsen’s 2018 US research revenue grew by 2.3% year-over-year (y-o-y) and accounted for 58.6% of its total global revenues of $6.5 billion. These global takings also make it the largest market research company globally, as it has been for some time.

Appearing on the list for the first time this year in the #2 ranking, Gartner Research’s 2018 US revenue totaled $1.7 billion, which accounts for 55.4% of its global revenues ($3.1 billion).

Gartner Research replaces last year’s #2, IQVIA, which dropped one spot to #3. IVQVIA’s US revenue grew by 9.4% y-o-y to reach $1.6 billion in 2018. Unlike Nielsen and Gartner Research, the majority (62.2%) of IVQVIA’s total global revenues ($4.1 billion) last year came from outside the US.

Kantar (#4) also sees most of its research revenues generated outside the US, as less than one-quarter (24.2%) of its total 2018 total revenues of $3.8 billion came from the US ($925 million). Kantar is also one of only 2 companies in the top 10 that experienced a drop in US revenue in 2018, declining 4.6% y-o-y from $970 million in 2017.

The only other research company within the top 10 to see its US revenue drop in 2018 was Comscore (#8), which experienced a 5.2% y-o-y decrease in revenue ($332.3 million in 2017 vs. $315.0 million in 2018).

Here are the other companies that made the top 10 along with their 2018 US research revenue and y-o-y growth:

  • Information Resources, Inc (IRI, #5): $800.0 million (+9%)
  • Ipsos (#6): $583.0 (+2.5%)
  • Westat (#7): $570.0 million (+3.4%)
  • The NPD Group (#9): $312.7 million (+8.1%)
  • GfK (#10): $310.0 (+3.3%)

New Arrivals and the Fastest Risers

Five companies make their debut to the US Top 50 list this year. Aside from Gartner Research, J.D. Power also made an impressive debut, entering the list just shy of the Top 10 at #11. Having just merged with Autodata following its acquisition earlier this year by Thoma Bravo, J.D. Power could be higher on the list covering 2019 revenues.

National Research Group (NRG) entered at #28 and Service Management Group (SMG) came in at #29. Research America just made it onto the list, debuting at #50 after seeing its US revenue grow by 34.9% y-o-y in 2018.

Despite Gartner Research’s leap onto the list in the #2 ranking, its 20% y-o-y US revenue increase was not the biggest on the list. Phoenix Marketing International (#23) experienced a 113.9% increase after acquiring Nielsen’s Brand Effect products and service, per the report.

Other companies that benefited from impressive revenue increases between 2017 and 2018 include Fors Marsh Group (#33; +43.5%), LRA, a Deloitte Business (#36; +35.2%), and Concentrix (#22; 34.9%).

The full report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: Companies are ranked by research revenue in the US with the exception of Ispsos and The NPD Group some or all figures are not made available by the companies so instead are based upon research and estimation by the GreenBook report author.

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