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Innovative Consumer Research: 3 Trends for 2021

Consumers are a critical component of good business. For companies to grow and thrive, they need a firm grasp on what consumers want and what they’re willing to pay to get it. It’s not always evident, and it’s certainly not always easy to discern. Many (previously) successful businesses have eventually failed because they were oblivious to, or worse, chose to ignore, evolving consumer needs, holding fast to outdated products and obsolete purchasing behaviors, as well as changing demand. To mitigate their risks, companies must keep their fingers on the pulse of consumer interests, adjusting their offerings and customer experiences to match the willingness and ability to buy of the people they seek to serve. Innovative consumer research methods enable businesses of any kind to develop (actionable) insight into consumer attitudes and perceptions, allowing them to minimize their risks, leverage their business practices and, ultimately, maximize their ROI.

At Research America, our team of skilled market researchers helps clients design customized and innovative consumer research studies; with our ongoing interest in all types of industries keeping us current on many market trends, we are able to develop research questions that are on point and capable of producing useable feedback for our clients. Take a look at three market trends we are currently seeing:

Companies and consumers alike are becoming tech-savvy, making it easier for them both to access, as well as to relay, information. In this way, data is becoming ubiquitous. AI-assisted data collection, online tracking and other real-time monitoring services are more common than ever, allowing companies the ability to collect massive amounts of (big) data and view consumer behavior over time so that they can better predict that behavior in the future. Indeed, we anticipate that consumer research will eventually evolve from individual micro-level analyses to longitudinal studies that track the progression of consumer needs and expectations; rather than acting as a simple snapshot of a specific time and place, truly innovative consumer research will become a continuous film, telling a more complete and, thus, more meaningful story.

Of course, the influence of the past year’s pandemic has had profound effects in all areas of our lives, not least of which is our ability to work and socialize remotely. We only see this reliance on virtual communication continuing into 2021 and beyond. It’s convenient, usually cost-effective and can yield just as honest and relevant feedback as in-person methods a lot of the time. Put plainly, remote research works, especially with the aid of sophisticated digital data collection platforms (like social media listening, online bulletin boards, non-intrusive transactional studies and other various contact-free research services). We see dedicated insight communities of relevant, vetted respondents further enabling this type of remote data collection.

Finally, we believe the most innovative consumer research will be simpler, with fewer, smarter questions that capture both transactional, as well as emotive, data points. Time is precious, after all. Respondents don’t want to be hounded for information, nor do they want to spend time repeating themselves. To get honest opinions, companies are going to have to think outside the box, crafting survey projects that not only capture consumers’ attention, but that make it easy for them to engage and respond.

The market research world is changing. To access meaningful consumer data this year and in the future, companies will need to keep abreast of current research trends, using what they learn so that they craft innovative consumer research projects that resonate with consumers and pushes them to reply with honesty and clarity and without constraint. To learn more about using innovative consumer research to yield actionable insights, please contact Research America.

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