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        Market Research & Polling Services Industry Profile

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        Excerpt from Market Research & Polling Services Industry Profile

        Companies in this industry gather, record, tabulate, and present marketing and public opinion data. Major companies include Forrester Research, Gallup, Gartner, Nielsen, and Westat (all based in the US); GfK (Germany), INTAGE (Japan), Ipsos (France), and Kantar (UK).

        Worldwide, the market research industry generates about $49 billion in annual revenue, according to ESOMAR and BDO. The US and Europe dominate the industry. Countries with growing middle classes are seeing rising demand for market research services.

        The US market research services industry includes about 5,000 establishments (single-location companies and units of multi-location companies) with combined annual revenue of about $20 billion.


        Demand is driven primarily by the health of the economy and corporate profits. The profitability of individual companies depends on managing costs and maintaining a steady flow of work. Large companies have advantages in providing a variety of research and ancillary services to large customers, and in achieving economies of scale in marketing and computerized operations. Small companies can compete successfully by specializing in a research methodology or in emerging niche knowledge areas. The US industry is concentrated: the top 50 companies generate about 55% of industry revenue.

        Competitor industries may include online or print publishers of business information, as well as marketing firms and business consulting firms. Market research companies may also face competition from the internal marketing staffs of current or prospective clients that choose to conduct research in-house.

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