Consumer market research stands as an indispensable tool for companies and organizations, serving as a window into the intricate world of their customers. It delves deep into the realms of customer psychology, attitudes, behaviors, motivators, and opinions, providing invaluable insights. By gaining a comprehensive understanding of what drives their customers and how they perceive products or services, businesses can make well-informed decisions that are tailor-made to meet customer needs and expectations. One highly effective resource for gathering these insights is through the utilization of consumer panel samples, which offer a structured approach to collecting and analyzing data from a diverse and representative group of individuals.

Consumer Market Research

Consumer market research plays a pivotal role in empowering companies and organizations with the invaluable knowledge needed to decipher the intricate nuances of their customer base. It delves deep into the realms of customer psychology, exploring their attitudes, behaviors, underlying motivators, and the mosaic of opinions they hold. This holistic understanding enables businesses to gain profound insights into what drives their consumers, how they perceive products or services, and why they make the choices they make. Armed with this wealth of information, organizations are better equipped to make data-driven business decisions that not only cater to customer needs but also align seamlessly with their desires and expectations.

The Importance of Consumer Market Research

The importance of consumer market research cannot be overstated in today’s business landscape. It serves as the compass that guides companies toward success by offering critical insights into customer preferences, behaviors, and evolving trends. By understanding their target audience on a deep level, businesses can tailor their products, services, and marketing strategies to resonate with consumers, thereby enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty. Moreover, consumer market research aids in identifying emerging opportunities and staying ahead of competitors, making it an indispensable tool for informed decision-making and sustainable growth in a dynamic marketplace. This is done through two main research modes, quantitative and qualitative.

Quantitative Consumer Market Research

Quantitative consumer market research is a type of market research that focuses on understanding consumer behavior and preferences through numerical data analysis. This method involves the collection of data from a substantial number of respondents, often using structured surveys, questionnaires, or experiments. The key emphasis in quantitative research lies in generating statistically significant insights that can be generalized to a larger population.

This research type entails designing surveys or experiments with a specific set of questions or variables to measure and analyze consumer attitudes, perceptions, purchasing patterns, and other quantitative data points. It often employs techniques such as random sampling, stratified sampling, or quota sampling to ensure the sample is representative of the target population. Once data is collected, rigorous statistical analysis is conducted, including measures like mean, median, mode, regression analysis, and hypothesis testing. The goal is to uncover patterns, correlations, and trends within the data, providing organizations with empirical evidence and quantifiable metrics to guide their decision-making processes. Quantitative consumer market research is especially valuable for tracking changes over time, making predictions, and comparing the effectiveness of different marketing strategies or product features, all of which contribute to well-informed business strategies and decisions.

Qualitative Consumer Market Research

Qualitative consumer market research is a methodical and in-depth exploration of consumer perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors through non-numerical data collection and analysis. Unlike quantitative research, which seeks statistical generalizability, qualitative research aims to unearth rich, nuanced insights that provide a deeper understanding of consumer motivations, emotions, and experiences.

This type of research entails the use of diverse qualitative techniques such as focus groups, in-depth interviews, ethnographic observations, and open-ended surveys to gather a wealth of narrative data from a smaller, carefully selected group of participants. Rather than seeking statistical representativeness, qualitative researchers prioritize information richness and contextual depth. The analysis process involves coding and categorizing responses, looking for recurring themes and patterns, and interpreting the findings in the context of the broader research objectives. Qualitative consumer market research is invaluable for exploring complex topics, uncovering hidden consumer needs, and informing product development or marketing strategies with insights that go beyond mere numerical metrics. It helps organizations gain an understanding of the ‘whys’ behind consumer choices.

Consumer Panels – What Are They?

Consumer panels represent curated groups of individuals who actively engage in quantitative consumer research. These panels serve as vital conduits for businesses seeking invaluable feedback and insights from their target audience. Participants, sometimes called respondents, in consumer panels play a pivotal role by offering feedback through survey responses, shedding light on an array of subjects, including products, services, innovative concepts, advertising campaigns, public opinion matters, and beyond.

Recruiting individuals to join these panels takes place through diverse channels, reflecting the broad spectrum of modern consumer engagement. These sources encompass social media platforms, rewards programs, memberships, loyalty programs, and more. By tapping into these diverse recruitment avenues, businesses cast a wide net, ensuring that their consumer panels comprise a rich tapestry of voices and perspectives.

The use of consumer panels is one of the key avenues through which businesses glean these invaluable consumer insights. They provide a structured and systematic means of collecting and analyzing data, offering businesses a treasure trove of feedback that goes beyond mere demographics. In essence, consumer market research, driven by consumer panel sample, emerges as a linchpin for organizations striving to thrive in an ever-evolving marketplace, enabling them to adapt, innovate, and continuously improve their offerings to meet the ever-changing demands and preferences of their valued customers.

Purpose of a Consumer Panel

Consumer panels serve as invaluable resources for businesses seeking to gain profound insights into the intricate world of their customers. Panelists offer invaluable glimpses into their purchasing patterns, lifestyle choices, political viewpoints, preferences, brand awareness, perceptions of various subjects, and their overarching opinions on a myriad of topics.

The data gleaned from consumer panelists serves as a wellspring of knowledge that organizations leverage in multifaceted ways to bolster their strategies and decision-making processes:

Enhancing Marketing Strategies: Consumer panels provide companies with an intimate understanding of what resonates with their audience. This insight is invaluable for refining marketing campaigns, ensuring that messages align with consumer values and preferences.

Deepening Customer Understanding: By tapping into the wisdom of consumer panelists, companies can develop comprehensive customer profiles. This holistic understanding goes beyond mere demographics, delving into the psyche of their customer base.

Unearthing Competitive Insights: Consumer panels enable businesses to keep a vigilant eye on their competition. By discerning what consumers find appealing in rival products or services, organizations can adapt and stay ahead in the marketplace.

Market and Segment Analysis: Panels assist in scoping out specific markets or segments, shedding light on unexplored opportunities and niches that align with consumer demands.

Informed Decision-Making: Armed with a wealth of data from consumer panels, businesses can make decisions with a higher degree of confidence and accuracy. This ensures that strategies are data-driven, mitigating risks and enhancing prospects for success.

The utility of consumer panels extends even further, addressing a myriad of business challenges and inquiries. From product development and pricing strategies to customer retention and crisis management, the insights derived from these panels are versatile and adaptable to various aspects of business operations.

The Importance of Consumer Panel Selection

One aspect that can be overlooked when conducting online quantitative consumer marketing research (or online surveys) is the selection of the right sample provider. Many people believe that panels, and the data they provide, are all the same. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Consumer panels are different from each other, and they change over time. This can mean major challenges for researchers. 

That’s where EMI’s sample industry expertise and superior online sample industry knowledge can help.

For the past 20+ years, EMI has been identifying, vetting, developing, and managing a strong network of high-quality consumer sample panel partners. Each consumer panel we work with must pass our rigorous Partner Assessment Process, where we take a deep dive into exactly what value each panel brings to the industry, and what types of studies they and their respondents are a best fit for. Only 30% of panels who have been through our Partner Assessment Process have successfully passed and have been admitted into our network.

Awareness levels can vary by as much as 25 percentage points
Based on your sample provider selection
Brand ratings can vary by as much as 20 percentage points
Based on your sample provider selection
Concept ratings can vary by as much as 30 percentage points
Based on sample provider selection
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Why Choose EMI For Consumer Market Research

EMI is pretty unique in the online sample industry. As a leading sample consultancy, we understand the entire sample landscape, not just a single panel. Our goal is to create a strategic blend of sample based on your project, rather than make your project fit any specific panel.

For over 20 years, we have been identifying and maintaining a strong network of panel partners as well as building custom consumer panel sample solutions for our clients and market. Our vast network of high-quality consumer panels gives us access to a wide variety of consumer profiling points so you can better uncover the insights you need.

Unlike most market research sample panels, EMI is upfront about the panels and allocations we use. That means we are not biased toward a specific panel asset, rather, we create strategic sample blends that best fit the goals of your research, not what best fits any panel we might own.

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Our Approach to Sampling

Founded in 1999, EMI has been a leader in online sample and strategic sample blending for over 20 years. We have been a sample consultancy since not only our inception, but since the infancy of online sample.

Over the years, we have developed a knowledge of the sample industry that is unrivaled when combined with our transparent strategic sample blending approach. We have built this knowledge by not only working with panel partners throughout the industry but conducting research-on-research into the online sample industry for more than a decade to understand the differences between consumer panels, and how they change over time.

This unparalleled industry knowledge is the driver to providing transparent sample consulting and advice to our clients that puts the emphasis on what is right for their research, and not what is right for any specific panel.

Strategic Sample Blending

Strategic sample blending takes traditional blending to the next level and is the best sample design to ensure confident business decisions. It is blending three or more sample providers, but the selection and blending of the selected providers is done in an intentional and controlled manner. Providers are selected to complement one another while reducing the overall sample bias and any potential behavioral or attitudinal impacts a panel can have. This method ensures that sample blending isn’t done simply for blending’s sake. Utilizing our strategic methodology, we build customized blends that best meet your needs while ensuring the best results possible.

Additionally, by strategically selecting providers and managing their allocation, you increase overall feasibility while avoiding “top-up” situations, and panel bias, both of which can skew your data.

Learn more about Strategic Sample Blending here

Longitudinal & Tracking Study Experts

Tracker studies are some of the most important studies fielded in consumer market research. They’re used by large brands, consumer goods companies, and others to track consumer sentiment around their products or services, and to measure advertising and other functions of the marketing mix.

Here at EMI, our unequalled knowledge of the consumer panel landscape combined with our strategic sample blending approach has made us experts in building customized sample plans for longitudinal and tracking studies. Our custom strategic sample blends are crafted in an intentional and controlled manner, where panels are selected to complement each other while reducing the overall sample bias and any potential behavioral or attitudinal impacts a panel can have.

Download our whitepaper Strategic Sample Blending: The Premier Sample Methodology for Tracking Studies to learn about the sampling challenges with trackers and how strategic blending can solve them. 

EMI’s Consumer Panel Network

Our global network of consumer sample partners gives you access to one of the highest-quality pools of consumer respondents of varying demographic, socio-economic, geographical, behavioral, and psychographic characteristics that give us the ability to create custom strategic sample blends that best fit the target of your study, and provide you high-quality, deep insights.

Every sample partner in our network has passed our rigorous Partner Assessment Process so we can best understand the recruiting methods, validation process, and other data quality measures they have in place, as well as the ins-and-outs of their panel. Our strict vetting process ensures we only allow the best sample providers into our network, and that we maintain a high level of data quality for our clients.

Discover our full capabilities.

Project Management

We don’t just provide you with custom consumer sample solutions, we back it up with our world-class project management services. The team provides 24/7/365 coverage and works with you as an extension of your team, providing you with a single point of contact, utilizing responsiveness, creativity, and flexibility to help you navigate any issues.

The backbone of all projects is SWIFT, EMI’s proprietary, cloud-based, sample management platform. By connecting your survey to our sample network, we are enabled to:

  • Launch your projects.
  • Field and close projects with more speed and accuracy than other panels. 
  • Manage multiple partners where we can ensure there are no duplicates across panels.

You can view the full capabilities of SWIFT here.

Consumer Market Research Targeting Points

With a focus on quality, our consumer sample network can provide high-quality respondents that deliver deep, rich insights for your research studies. EMI’s ability to target a wide variety of consumer characteristics worldwide is unmatched. Here is a snapshot of our targeting ability in the consumer space:


  • Marital Status
  • Children in Household
  • Education Level
  • Household Income
  • Ethnicity
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Religion
  • Politics
  • Hispanics
  • Mothers/Pregnant
  • Teens/College Students
  • Pet Owners
  • Automotive

  • Car Make/Model/Year
  • Fuel Type
  • Insurance Carrier
  • Purchase Intent
  • Satellite Radio / Navigation / DVD
  • Boat/RV/ATV Owner
  • Consumer Products

  • Apparel / Clothing
  • Food / Beverage
  • Cosmetics
  • Footwear
  • Tools
  • Household goods
  • Health

  • Exercise
  • Diet/Healthy Eating
  • Smoker
  • Skin/Hair Product Use
  • Fitness Equipment Owner
  • Gym Membership
  • Finance

  • Credit Cards
  • Banks
  • Credit Card Loyalty Programs
  • Investment Firms
  • Tax Preparation
  • Investible Assets
  • High Net Worth
  • Travel

  • Leisure/Business
  • Car Rental
  • Hotel Rewards
  • Cruises
  • Airlines
  • Method of Booking
  • Technology

  • Cable/Satellite TV
  • Game Console
  • HDTV/Smart TV Owners
  • Smartphone Type
  • Cellular Carrier
  • Tablet Owners
  • Gamers
  • EMI’s experience in identifying, vetting, and managing a network of high-quality consumer panels, combined with our industry leading approach of strategically blending sample makes us your best option for conducting market research. We will offer your company unique insights that will allow you to uncover exactly who your customer is, how they buy, and why their behavior changes over time. These insights will help you develop your company’s strategies and grow your business.

    EMI’s unique combination of expertise, white-glove service, and reach allows us to be your one-stop sample provider — getting it done without compromise.

    Ready to take that next step?