Here becomes evident the variety of methods used by players within the industry. While global research agencies and full-service companies generated an estimated US$ 46 billion in revenue, companies from either sector, including tech and analytics, generated up to US$ 48 billion utilising established methods. Here lies further proof of the dislodgement of methodologies and industrial sectors explained earlier. Likewise, tech-enabled research methods continued to grow and expanded by more than US$ 2 billion to US$ 26.3 billion.
Africa, the Middle East and Asia Pacific are the areas where countries have identified the largest share of established methods – though countries like China or Japan only survey the established industrial sector. Conversely, North America and Europe represent the regions with heavier usage of tech-enabled methods, even though countries like France, Germany, Italy or Spain do not survey the tech-enabled sector.
Consolidation of passive methods over active ones
The last step in the lattice of research is the comparison between active and passive methods of data collection. An interesting observation is the levelling of passive data collection at 63%. This typology gained 10 percentage points in 2020 due to social distancing measures and other limitations imposed by the pandemic. Rather than returning to a level closer to its pre-pandemic share, passive methods maintained this level over 2021. Passive data gathering, particularly online quantitative and qualitative research, with a combined 38%, dominated the industry.
Like qualitative methods, the predominance of passive quantitative tech-enabled collection methods may suggest a further decline in active research. However, just as technology can tackle qualitative data collection, so will it allow for more sophisticated forms of active data gathering. But until these new developments dent the relative shares of these typologies, active methods will likely remain in the minority.