Qualtrics Announces Top Trends in Market Research for 2024
2024 market research spending is growing even as marketing budgets shrink overall, in part because of the transformative potential of AI
Nearly half of researchers are already using AI in their day-to-day work
Training on new technology is not keeping pace, and more than 1/3 of researchers have outsourced work due to lack of AI competency on their teams
Last updated: November 7, 2023
PROVO, Utah & SEATTLE, Nov. 7, 2023 – The 2024 Market Research Trends Report from Qualtrics finds that researchers are eager to embrace new technology in 2024 – but struggling to keep pace with AI, and burdened by the potential for fraud. At the same time, despite cuts to global marketing budgets, organizations around the world are increasing their reliance on timely, thorough consumer research to inform strategy, increase profits, and understand what customers want.
“The market research industry may experience a more rapid AI-powered transformation than any other industry in the world in 2024, but will they be ready for it?” said Jill Larson, Chief Product Officer for Strategy & Research at Qualtrics. “Advances in AI will help companies use market research to make faster, smarter decisions and get closer to their customers at a time when it has never mattered more.”
Qualtrics asked more than 3,000 market researchers across 14 countries about the trends that will shape the research industry and how they will impact their organizations’ priorities in 2024.
The 2024 market research trends are:
- Market research is ripe for AI innovation
- Remote and virtual research opens the door for deeper understanding at scale
- Better technology + better data = better decisions
- The skills gap is widening, and AI can close it fast
Market research is ripe for AI innovation
Organizations are rethinking what research is capable of by increasing their use of AI to transform market research at scale.
Forty-seven percent of researchers are already using AI to quickly analyze large qualitative data sets from survey data, product reviews, focus group transcripts, and more, to identify trends and patterns and deliver meaningful business recommendations faster than human analysis could.
Traditionally, gathering meaningful insights from research methods like in-person focus groups, and large-scale surveys can be slow, labor-intensive, and costly. AI-powered tools reduce many repetitive and tedious tasks and almost half (46%) of researchers said they will “definitely” use AI to analyze survey content for common pitfalls such as bias, readability, and duplicate questions. AI is also helping research teams do more with less at a time when efficiency is a top priority for marketing leaders –43% say AI is enabling their teams to do more research with the same team size and budget.
Despite concerns around the world about AI replacing people, only 25% of respondents are concerned about AI outpacing personal or team abilities and most researchers (87%) feel good about their job security.
|% who feel secure in their job||% who are concerned about AI out-pacing personal or team skills|
“Researchers are embracing AI,” said Larson. “They recognize AI as an important research tool, helping them maximize their impact by unlocking potential insights hidden in unstructured operational and experience data.”
Remote and virtual research opens the door for deeper understanding at scale
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many qualitative researchers were forced to conduct research remotely through digital channels, and technology has evolved at a rapid pace as a result.
Already, 87% of researchers report that more than half of their qualitative research is conducted remotely. Researchers say online research helps them get deeper, more nuanced feedback from an expanded pool of people, in a more cost-effective way than in-person methods.
One caveat: Some (36%) of respondents say they are not able to develop as good a rapport with participants online as in-person.
|Top 5 benefits of digital qualitative research methods according to market researchers|
|2.||Increase geographical diversity|
|3.||Faster time to insights|
|5.||Better reach of target audience|
Better technology + better data = better decisions
Nearly two-thirds (62%) of researchers say their company depends on their research and insights significantly more today than in the past 2 years, and researchers report their budgets are on the rise, despite marketing budgets remaining flat year-over-year.
While organizations are increasingly relying on market research to inform strategic decisions, researchers face new challenges presented by technology like generative AI and remote data collection. Nearly half (43%) of researchers globally say “identifying and/or preventing AI-generated responses is a challenge when collecting data using online providers.”
However, AI provides the ability to comb through thousands of data points more efficiently and effectively than a human can, saving time, money, and resources. Researchers overwhelmingly (79%) indicated they would find an automated data quality solution to identify poor quality responses extremely (37%) or very helpful (42%).
“Data quality isn’t something that can be solved with a simple checkbox, it must be addressed at every level of the business,” said Larson. “Organizations that prioritize data excellence and use the tools available to them to ensure the integrity of their research will be better prepared to make strategic decisions that impact their business and prove the true value of market research.”
The skills gap is widening, and AI can close it fast
While market research teams are learning new AI-focused skills, they aren’t learning as fast as AI is evolving.
“As the influx of AI tools makes its way into market research, organizations must recognize it as an opportunity to reduce tedious, manual work and provide opportunities to reskill their teams and advance their careers,” Larson said.
In-house research teams say they are struggling to keep up with new methods, they are facing an increasing demand for research, and they lack analytical skills to turn data into insights. One-third (33%) of researchers globally say they outsource projects because their teams don’t have the research skills to manage them internally.
However, market researchers are embracing advances in AI and automation to complete more repetitive tasks like cleaning or formatting data for reports, automating workflows, generating survey questions and outlining themes and insights from unstructured feedback.
These automated solutions allow researchers to not only focus on the elements of their work that require human insight but also give them the space to seek opportunities for upskilling to keep up with innovation.
|% of Market Researchers Globally|
|Would use AI solutions for “Natural language commands to automate workflows”||88%|
|Would use AI solutions to “generate survey questions for a given topic”
|Would use AI solutions to “Generate themes/insights from unstructured qualitative”||91%|
Read the full 2024 Market Research Trends Report here.
Qualtrics, the leader and creator of the experience management category, is a cloud-native software platform that empowers organizations to deliver exceptional experiences and build deep relationships with their customers and employees. With insights from Qualtrics, organizations can identify and resolve the greatest friction points in their business, retain and engage top talent, and bring the right products and services to market. Nearly 20,000 organizations around the world use Qualtrics’ advanced AI–built on the world’s largest database of human sentiment–to listen, understand, and take action. Qualtrics is co-headquartered in Provo, Utah and Seattle. To learn more, please visit qualtrics.com.