At first glance, it would appear that globally, the market research industry experienced another year of healthy growth in 2014, continuing on from the happy surprises of last year’s ESOMAR Global Market Research report. However, global growth actually slowed from

2013 at 0.7% to 0.1% in 2014. The market research industry turnover for 2014 (estimated to be at US$ 43,864 million) owes up to US$ 3195 million of its sum to new figures provided to ESOMAR by the USA for their 2013 turnover, revealing the USA’s 2012 – 2013 growth to be even more significant than previously suggested. Taking this into consideration, between 2013 and 2014, our industry has demonstrated stability.  


The backdated figures represent a broader market, such as services directly from clients as well as market research analytics, illustrating the importance in taking note of the non-traditional sources expanding the industry. ESOMAR has highlighted this in recent years by collaborating with Outsell to produce a “broader footprint” evaluation of the US market, which proved to be 1.5 times larger than the global traditional market research industry in 2014.  

North America overtook Europe to become biggest region in 2013 and 2014, due to the inclusion of new figures for an expanded market from the USA.

Europe is starting to show signs of recovery following several years of decline and there has been growth in smaller markets such as Cyprus, Romania and Bulgaria. However, the results overall for 2014 remain quite mixed across the region, especially from the largest European markets.

China’s market share overtook Japan’s in 2014 at US$ 1,780 million and US$ 1,730 million respectively, placing China fifth globally and first within the Asia Pacific region for the first time.

The Middle East became the fastest growing market in 2014, at a year on year rate of 13.4% and 9.1% after inflation.  

Africa reported growth in 2014 and became the second fastest growing region while the Latin American regional market continued to decline.

The largest research methods sales went to online (23%) and automated digital/electronic (21%) sales, although there were several countries who claimed that these methods made no sales at all in their markets.

The outlook for 2015 is much more conservative than we reported in the report for 2014. All the same, there are glimmers of optimism, namely from the Asia Pacific and African regions.