Sheila is an international marketing specialist with particular experience in the market research software marketplace. She has worked for over ten years in high-tech multinational organizations – including SPSS, Toshiba and Xerox. Sheila has been a meaning associate since 2003.

Having just helped to complete the (rather weighty) 2013 Confirmit MR Technology Report, I am definitely in a celebratory mood, especially as it’s the tenth anniversary of the project. To mark the occasion, we added some extra juicy questions this time. We normally use only closed questions, except for the occasional ‘other specify’, but for our 2013 survey, we challenged our participants (and ourselves!) with some open ends, but not just ordinary open ends – they were gamified.

In one of the gamified questions, we told respondents to imagine they were seeing a copy of our report in 2023 and we asked what would be the biggest technological advance within it.

Our participants, all of whom were senior decision makers at market research companies around the world, were predicting that many of the current emerging trends would continue to expand – for example mobile data collection and big data analysis – and many were also expecting more exotic developments such as augmented reality. For example, one person wrote:

“Providing useful Insights from Big Data – establishing online interaction with respondents in the social community and businesses from continuous analysis of Big Data having captured their interest in participating on a daily basis to make better decisions on their areas of interest. Big data = social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google etc.) plus business own data, respondent market research, personal blogs, purchase and location monitoring on wearable devices.”

Or, somewhat more futuristically, another commented:

“Google Glass will change our lives radically. For the well-educated, it will be trendy to have the internet and its services right in front of our eyes, continuously. Thus, artificial intelligence will accompany us everywhere we go and provide us with all the information we need along the way. It only lacks the thought control, but even that is already in the early stages. At first we will be able to control these devices with glances, without having to speak. Advertising and services that pop up when we go about our daily lives with internet glasses will occupy a large part of the market research of the future.”

In contrast, a few respondents were pessimistic about the future of traditional market research. For example:

“I think most of the data we’ll be reporting on will be passively collected. I think primary research data will be a thing of the past….”

I hope to be writing about a vibrant and healthy industry in 2023, but one thing I feel sure about is that the industry will be different. In the meanwhile, I recommend reading our 2013 report. Here’s to the next ten years!

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