Overall, 2022 was a strange year that brought with it much of what we expected, but also a lot that we didn’t, such as rampant inflation and a war between Russia and Ukraine. The market research industry was no exception. We saw the continued prevalence of mergers and acquisitions, as well as new data privacy laws and some unexpected moves from companies in the industry.
In December, we saw the introduction of AI tools like ChatGPT and started to wonder what other new tools or trends we should expect in 2023 and beyond.
We know we sound like a broken record, but we anticipate that mergers and acquisitions will continue to run rampant in the market research world, though we don’t foresee any large purchases. Given the state of the economy and interest rates, we think the continued consolidation of the market research industry will be focused on small to mid-sized companies.
Last year we predicted that inflation would finally hit the sample industry alongside bacon, gas, shampoo, and basically everything else—and we were right. 2022 saw a volatile economy and we don’t anticipate things changing in 2023. We may see a slowdown in growth in the insights industry due to the overall decline in the global economy in 2023. This may even cause a decline in private equity investment in the industry until the overall global economy picks back up.
In 2023, we predict rapid growth of hybrid and less traditional research, leveraging both qualitative and quantitative research in smaller base-size studies. We also anticipate a shift in focus back to quality and away from the lowest-cost providers, as well as an increase in focus on diversity and inclusion in the market research industry and online survey design.
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act has been talked about more in the last few months than it probably has in the last 5 years combined. As content moderation comes under more scrutiny from both sides of the aisle in Washington, it has led to a spotlight being shined on section 230, and whether it is time for a change or adjustment to better reflect the current state of technology and the internet. It is expected that the Supreme Court will make a ruling in the summer of 2023 on this subject.
With that being said, we expect that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act will be radically changed or removed, creating substantial changes to how Google, Facebook, and other platforms are moderated and protect themselves from liability. This will also affect survey research platforms. We describe our thoughts in greater detail here.
As companies continue to rebrand (for some reason), I expect more really, really bad names. Expect fewer vowels, more x’s, y’s, and z’s and companies try to sound more hip and regret it in 5 years.
As with every year, the one thing we know for sure is that our industry will be pushed to challenge ourselves and change alongside the ever-evolving landscape of market research. We say, bring it on!