Research Industry Index (RII) Stands Strong at 101

a pair of spectacles on an industry chart

Sustaining an index score of 100 or higher for 6 straight quarters, it appears the MR industry has recovered from the recession. The 28th quarterly wave of the Research Industry Index (RII) – the Marketing Research Association’s (MRA) tracking study of the economic health of the U.S. marketing research industry – has held at 100 or more points for 6 straight quarters. As reported with the 27th wave, this should be considered an indication that the industry has recovered from the recession.

As with second quarter 2014 results, the newest wave of RII is cause to celebrate. We are now in a sustained 18-month period of activity since beginning to track these data in 2007. However, it seems evident that smaller firms continue to experience flat or decreased requests for proposals and flat revenue, while their medium to large counterparts continue to see growth.

Overall, this sixth consecutive index score of 100+ is a positive sign for the industry, and also is in line with global data which indicates that confidence in the health of the MR industry is significantly strengthening, with ESOMAR recently noting that 82 percent of the countries providing a forecast expecting their local markets to grow.

Improvements consistent with recent quarters for key metrics such as RFPs/proposals, projects/booked revenue and staffing levels helped maintain the higher RII score. Executive management’s outlook on the health of their organization has improved considerably over time. However, unlike second quarter results, the executive outlook metric was mostly flat this quarter compared to the previous quarter.

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This wave of the RII is based on online interviews that were conducted among 171 owners or senior level managers from among corporate researchers and marketing research firms in December 2014 and January 2015. Responses are reflective of business conditions during and ending with the third quarter, 2014.

On behalf of the MRA, RII was hosted by Issues and Answers and reporting was completed by Cooper Roberts Research. For more information, visit http://www.marketingresearch.org/stay-informed/research-industry-index.

Amy Shields is the Director of Research at the Marketing Research Association, the leading and largest association of the survey, opinion and marketing research profession, and editor of Alert!, its quarterly magazine.

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