The Market Research Industry in India

1. Industry Size (Estimated)

The estimated size of the MR industry in India is around USD 110 million (apprx INR 500 Crores – where 1Crore = 10 million)

This includes research done internally by some clients’ having own in-house facilities. The split by Customized and Syndicated research would be broadly in the ratio 60:40 respectively.

2. History, Developments, Key Players

MR in India is about 3 decades old, with just 2-3 key players in the first decade. The second decade saw the emergence of more MR companies owing to growth opportunities. Today there are about 15-16 main players in the Indian market research industry.

The key players in today’s MR industry are: ACN –ORG-Marg, IMRB, TNS, Synovate, Indica, Quantum Market Research, Research-International.

MR in India has grown over the years and moved towards becoming an industry from a craftsmen’s guild. Research products have become center stage –

Rate of Growth annually was about 12-15 % before there was a recession period in the early 2000. However after this stagnancy in the early 2000 period, currently it is growing at the rate of about 18-20 % per annum.

3. What is it like working with Indian clients?

Indian clients are very demanding …on quality but at low costs. A lot of truly Indian clients provide a lot of respect to research. They use research as it is meant to be used, as a decision making tool.

Indian clients are substantially more savvy about research. However they demand more from research studies than clients in other markets leading to longer questionnaires.

Clients are extremely cost conscious which has resulted in the industry not being able to charge realistic prices.

4. What are the opportunities for Researchers?

MR skills are being used in related field like Analytics, Consulting, Media etc. Indian research skills today carry more value beyond Indian shores.

Indian Researchers have started playing a more regional role due to 2 aspects;

  1. Most researchers tend to be post graduates in Management, unlike most other markets and hence are more knowledgeable about marketing and brand issues
  2. Their analytical ability is extremely high leading to substantial respect for Indian researchers across other regions.

5. Some unique issues that need to be taken into consideration when doing research in India

Complexities, Size, Language and Market structures!

India is more like a continent rather than a country with multiplicity of cultures, languages and hence behaviour. Hence need a good understanding of cultural variations in designing studies as well as selecting local markets.

However, this has helped Indian market researchers to attain superior standards.

6. Challenges faced by Indian MR firms

Gradual reduction in the ability to attract high quality talent (in the form of Post Graduates in Management as traditionally done in the past). This is due to inability of Indian research firms to pay salaries that match a variety of other new sectors that have emerged in the recent past – primarily on account of low pricing of research studies in India.

We are a service industry in the knowledge space with prices amongst the lowest in the world – People

7. Emerging / Growth Sectors

India is evolving more into a ‘Service Economy’ with Telecom, Financial Services & Retailing emerging as new growth sectors.

Indian research agencies have been substantially prepared for this challenge

  • Partly due to global affiliations and
  • Partly due to the ability of home grown agencies to develop their own models in the areas of Shopper Behaviour, Mystery Audits, Customer Satisfaction measurement, Loyalty assessment etc.