European Union insights revenue reaches pre-pandemic levels

7 November 2022

Up to 22 out of 37 European countries registered a double-digit absolute growth rate during 2021.

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EU Celebrate

22 out of 37 European countries covered by ESOMAR’s Global Market Research 2022 report registered double-digit absolute growth rates in 2021. When adjusted for inflation, however, the 15 countries that made up the European Union after its 1995 enlargement (which includes former member United Kingdom) declared higher growth than the rest of the region.

This result mirrors and overturns the situation observed in 2020, where the EU15 countries had the biggest slump in absolute terms. However, the generally higher inflation levels of the so-called “New EU member states” – not so new anymore – means that their 2020 dip was more significant in real terms, and the 2021 recovery slightly more nuanced.

Areas of growth

Areas of growth

The main engine of growth was attributed to the tech-enabled industry, estimated at US$ 8.6 billion in 2021, or 14% higher in net terms than a year earlier. The ESOMAR’s Global Top-50 Insights Companies ranking published in July showed the strength as well as the opportunities for investment and consolidation that exist within this sector.

While at a slightly slower pace, the established sector presented excellent growth across the region, surpassing US$ 13 billion after an almost 10% annual net growth.

The reporting sector (the part of the insights process where secondary data is analysed, the report is drafted, results presented, and the company advised) also saw growth. While part of this revenue is included in the latter part of the process for full-service agencies, it is consulting firms and other companies dedicated to industry reports and business intelligence that form the bulk of the revenue. With an estimated growth of 7%, the reporting sector surpasses US$ 7 billion in turnover.

The rebound in growth for the industry is pronounced, though high levels of inflation in 2022 will likely tone down growth in the industry to the single digits.

Main European markets

The United Kingdom, the largest market in Europe by a substantial margin, declared a growth rate of +10.5% in net terms as the industry recovered from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is illustrated by face-to-face methodologies' returning to research portfolios, and the profession continuing to reinvent itself.

Other countries with double-digit net growth and turnover above US$ 100 million were Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, the Czech Republic and Ireland – the latter being the fastest-growing country in the region.

2022 is expected to be a year of normalisation as growth rates take on more circumspect levels, with no country expecting growth above +9%. Only 6 countries will likely see their turnover decline, four of which are Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia and Switzerland. The other two are Russia and Ukraine, currently engaged in a military conflict with worldwide consequences. Unfortunately, estimating the expected growth of the Ukrainian industry for 2022 proved futile, though we hope the country manages not only to maintain its industrial fabric but to return with restored energy.

We will closely follow the results and hope to report a European market with a turnover of over US$ 33 billion next year!

Xabier Palacio
Senior Manager at ESOMAR's Intelligence Unit at ESOMAR