Market Research: An Innovation Report 2024

The Campaign for Real Innovation - C4RIWelcome to my 2023/24 Innovation report, where I take a look at how 2023 performed from an innovation perspective as well as predicting what innovations may dominate 2024 (spoiler alert, it’s AI).

I won’t apologise for my flippant report title/intro; AI isn’t new, and the rest of our lives will be about blending human skills and power with robotic skills and power. Yet all the headlines are simply pushing AI as the dominating, necessary force to help you get where you need to go. It can all get a bit confusing for those who don’t have time to get into the detail and look deeper into the multiple sales claims we all see on a day-to-day basis.

As I have always said, I love automation and where a robot can do something faster, better and cheaper than humans, then that is a sensible decision, but we have to keep a responsible eye on where the line is that can make quality drop. 2023 brought us a new wave of AI enhanced tools that claim to be able to do everything we need, but in practice, most AI tools are just faster than us. The robots still need us to sharpen up their work to add humility and value to otherwise bland output.

I hope you enjoy this round up; it is a blend of industry commentators and my own opinions on what may lie ahead for 2024.

Market Research Industry Predictions 2023

Here is what the industry predicted for 2023, were they right?

Cheaper and easier-to-use platforms

This will always be right, but are they any good? Some are and some aren’t, is the easy answer, and as ever the value depends on how big the problem is that they solve.

Consumer priorities will shift from cost to health

Right, consumers are focused on health and quality, which is a good thing. The manufacturers and retailers will have to perform well in these areas and at a good price to win the loyalty of their end users.

Insight communities to experience tremendous growth

Hard to say, there is still high demand for insight communities, we should know, we have one ourselves, which grew with us to meet demand in 2023. Perhaps we need to be more patient with this one, it will take time.

More use of real time data and insights

I would have to say wrong, as I haven’t seen any evidence of companies producing real time live data, although I could be wrong, and very happy to be proved right if there is someone doing this. I believe that as an industry, we will have to get there to remain valuable.

Greater use of virtual and augmented reality (aka The Metaverse)

Wrong, although with Meta Quest 3 launched and Apple Vision Pro is about to hit the market, this may be the boost that the metaverse was waiting for. Having read and watched a lot of reviews on both, the uptake may still be slow as usability issues are real. They are very heavy on the face so can’t be worn for long and we don’t all have the space required to fully utilise an infinite metaverse. That said, I love the metaverse and will be watching closely.

Blue Yonder Research Industry Predictions 2023

Here is what Blue Yonder predicted for 2023, were we right?

USA, USA, USA will increase global market spend

Absolutely right! Our US market share grew in double digits in 2023, as we predicted it would, and this has worked its way through our industry. Statistical data claims that 55% of the entire global market research spend was spent in the US in 2023, a rise of 10% over 2022. Phenomenal growth, and the reason we have been expanding our capabilities in this region, watch this space for some very exciting news to be released in the coming weeks.

More focus on data integrity

Right, this ultimately boils down to the war against ‘Bots’. Although an ongoing challenge, the response of the MR community’s responsible leaders to take on the fight to ensure better security in our processes to keep the bots out is working. New algorithms are making the scammers lives harder and harder to infiltrate our projects, well done to all involved.

ChatGPT will be an everyday tool

Right. It is used by most every day and it does a very good job of laying down the foundations for lots of general duties. However, the whole world quickly concluded that it is good, it’s a better version of a google search, but ultimately it delivers entry level output that will always need work to contextualise and inspire the reader. Sometimes the information is not correct, so proceed with caution on its outputs and always double check.

So, let’s have a look at what the industry is predicting for the year ahead.

Market Research Industry Predictions 2024

Integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning

A report from Industry Research estimates that global artificial intelligence (AI) in the Market Research sector will expand at a rate of 18.94% per year over the forecast period of 5 years, reaching $1.2B of annual spend by 2028. A 2023 Qualtrics report states that 47% of the researchers surveyed were already using AI in their day-to-day activities. The following are activities where researchers believe AI and market research will work best together.

Use of AI in day-to-day activities

Qualtrics Data 2023

Data quality – I like this one from Ray Poynter

One of the most exciting recent developments has been the Global Data Quality initiative, backed (by ESOMAR, MRS, IA, TRS and others). The upside is that this initiative will hopefully address the growing data quality concerns (for example, the prevalence of fraud). However, the downside is that time is running out to fix the data problem. The rise of alternative routes to insight (such as big data) and the possibility of synthetic data are all waiting to replace online panel surveys if we can’t clean up our act.

A Rise in Digital Qualitative Research Technology

The world is now more interconnected than ever, and businesses are increasingly operating on a global scale. Market researchers would need to expand their capabilities to conduct research in diverse cultural contexts and emerging markets. Digital transformation across sectors is encouraging digital-first approaches, and the market research sector, especially qualitative research, is also impacted. Digital solutions such as online platforms and social media continue to gain popularity alongside the more traditional methods such as surveys, focus groups and in-person interviews.

A Qualtrics report compares data on how market research companies across the world conducted qualitative research activity in the past 12 months and how they are likely to do so in the coming 12 months.

Qualitative research activity 2023 - Qualtrics Survey

Qualtrics Data 2023

After scouring the internet for the last few months, these are the 3 most talked about subjects for the upcoming year from key businesses and industry commentators who collectively know a lot more than me. Although people seem to be playing it safe this year, I think there is good reason to be cautious as AI is growing at such a pace. We must ensure that implementation of new tech is tested and safeguarded to ensure that business decisions made on the findings of our research are as safe as they can be. So, I will be watching closely to ensure we are all as close to the moving trends as we can be.

Blue Yonder Research Industry Predictions 2024

Multimodal AI

You will have all seen the Google Gemini video, and that is what multimodal is, it’s an AI engine that can accept virtually any source of input data to assist it’s outsourced data. Multimodal AI combines multiple types, or modes, of data to create more accurate determinations, draw insightful conclusions or make more precise predictions about real-world problems. Multimodal AI systems train with and use video, audio, speech, images, text and a range of traditional numerical data sets. Most importantly, multimodal AI means numerous data types are used in tandem to help AI establish content and better interpret context, something missing in earlier AI.

This will offer lots of opportunities within our industry, but also lots of potential pitfalls. A multimodal AI engine would be able to create deepfake consumer videos of people assessing products, all completely made up, so we have to watch our backs and protect our clients from potential bot scams.

Breakdown of service levels

Clients will require a more detailed option list of services to determine what they need to buy in order to get the most from their budgets. We have addressed this but there will always be more to do. Continue to challenge from the perspective that we want the client to spend as little as possible to achieve their goal, this aligns us perfectly with their problem and ensures we find the right solution.

DIY Research

With shrinking budgets and higher expectations, clients will be under lots of pressure to complete as many parts of the research process as possible themselves. So, we will be ready to assist and collaborate with our clients to ensure we remain a valuable partner and extension of their team.

I too am playing it a little bit safe this year with my predictions, because there is a lot of uncertainty with the pace and value of AI in our industry. We will be focusing on service and collaboration with our amazing clients to ensure we all learn and win together. 

Executive Summary

In this comprehensive report, we delve into the industry predictions for 2023, evaluating their accuracy and providing insights into the upcoming trends for 2024. Our analysis includes industry expert forecasts alongside our own predictions, offering a blend of perspectives and experiences.

In a climate of rapid AI advancement, the report advocates for caution, emphasising the need to test and safeguard new technologies to ensure the reliability of research findings. The focus on service, collaboration, and flexibility emerges as a key strategy to navigate uncertainties and foster strong client partnerships.

I am genuinely excited about what will be a very innovative year ahead of us at Blue Yonder Research in 2024. We have two key innovations to get to market as well as growing our business and capabilities in the US, and our global network.

We’ve had an amazing year in 2023, supported by an incredible growing team and wonderful clients, thank you. We’re in a good position to achieve our goals and objectives for the coming year, as we continue to strive to be the No.1 R&D Insight Agency on the planet!

I hope you are all as excited as I am for what lies ahead in 2024, Happy New Year!

Thank you for reading! 

Written by Jonathan Million, CIO & Founder of Blue Yonder Research, published on 16th January 2024.

Jonathan Million - Founder of Blue Yonder Research

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