According to the most recent GreenBook survey of market researchers, penetration of online surveys actually accelerated, jumping from 82% to 89% in nine months, after climbing from just 78% to 82% in the prior year. This climb is surprising given that growth usually slows as penetration approaches 100%. Only mobile surveys showed similar growth, rising from 27% to 32% over the past 9 months.
A number of quantitative research methods rebounded slightly to make up for some of their losses last time, including CATI (Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing), face-to-face, CAPI (Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing), mail, and people meters. Given that this is a convenience sample, with a practical margin of error larger than the 3% margin for a probability sample, a more conservative interpretation would be that usage has held steady for these techniques.
The level of usage of CATI, CAPI, and face-to-face interviewing must surprise the North American researcher, but this is a global sample. Where 11% of North American researchers used CAPI, 35% of researchers in the rest of the world (outside Europe) did so; similarly for CATI, 37% of North Americans used it, contrasted with 63% of the rest of the world. North Americans were somewhat more likely to use online surveys (91% vs. 87% for Europe vs. 84% for rest of the world) but mobile surveys showed similar levels regardless of region: 33% for North America and the rest of the world outside Europe, and 25% for Europe. This is not surprising, since many regions have seen mobile penetration leap past desktop/laptop penetration.
Usage of these methods is for the most part comparable across client- and supplier-side researchers.
Jeffrey Henning, PRC, is president of Researchscape International, which provides “Do It For You” custom surveys at Do It Yourself prices. He is a Director at Large on the Marketing Research Association’s Board of Directors. You can follow him on Twitter @jhenning.