Summary

Since 2020, the global market for opinion surveys has been adapting to and recovering from the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, which saw significant drops in demand and revenue for leading companies in the field. The US market, the largest consumer of surveys, faced a 9.6% contraction due to pandemic-related restrictions but was anticipated to regain momentum in 2021 as companies restructured post-crisis. In France, the market value was projected at nearly 2.5 billion euros, with expectations of future growth despite existing regulatory constraints like the GDPR.

Digitalization has been a major driver, providing accessibility and efficiency, resulting in a competitive landscape with the emergence of digital-native companies such as Happydemics, raising significant funds (nearly €13 million in 2020) and expanding their global customer base. Established players like BVA and Ipsos experienced declines, with BVA entering receivership and Ipsos reporting a 60% reduction in activity by April 2020. The market research industry is seeing a trend towards in-house research due to budget concerns and rapid data needs, with ESOMAR reporting that around 40% of research projects are now conducted internally by companies. In the face of technological advances and an emphasis on data ethics, companies are prioritizing internal over external data collection, with a notable focus on confidentiality and management of large data flows.

Despite these challenges, the sector is expected to bounce back, leveraging digital innovations and specialized services to cater to diverse and changing customer needs, with increasing internationalization of services and an ongoing wave of mergers and acquisitions among major players seeking to enhance their offerings and competitive edge.

Trends and Dynamics in the Country's Opinion Polls and Surveys Market

The market for opinion polls and surveys in the country has been shaped by various trends and demands that characterize its current state and future outlook. A significant trend is the digitalization of the sector, which is not only making survey tools more accessible but has also paved the way for new entrants who are rapidly gaining market share. Companies like Happydemics are one such example, demonstrating impressive growth and servicing customers in numerous countries globally.

Demand for these services is mainly driven by a wide array of clients including the press, government institutions, political parties, public and private companies, and various organizations, all seeking to understand public opinion and consumer behavior better. The market, currently valued at close to €2.5 billion, exhibits a strong B2B structure, with private companies accounting for over 90% of the demand for survey and research services. The COVID-19 crisis undoubtedly left a mark on the industry, causing a sizable contraction in demand. Major players found themselves struggling, leading to some, like BVA, entering into receivership, and others, such as Ipsos, facing a significant reduction in their activities. Nonetheless, the rebound is anticipated as firms reorganize and recover post-crisis, with the hope that restrictive measures will cease, restoring operations and consequently, demand for opinion research.

Regarding market research methods, in-house research is becoming increasingly prevalent. Around 40% of research projects are now conducted in-house, especially among the FMCG and banking sectors due to their heavy reliance on data. Budget constraints, swift changes in consumer behavior, and an ongoing need for an extensive amount of research drive this trend. Research institutes remain a key part of the market's ecosystem, offering a wide array of services. Despite the fact that sales are primarily generated through marketing and advertising research—representing approximately 75%—the visibility and influence political polls garner cannot be understated, although they represent a smaller proportion of institute sales.

The market is seeing a segmentation between large, dominant institutes and smaller firms that often fulfill temporary manpower needs. Large institutes manage to grow, albeit at varying rates, while medium-sized institues witnessed the most pronounced decline. Additionally, the market's seasonal nature indicates peak activity in December, coinciding generally with trends in the service industry. Competition is stiffening with the advent of digital platforms and data science, challenging traditional firms to innovate and expand their capabilities.

Navigating the Landscape: Key Titans of the Opinion Polling Arena

In the dynamic world of opinion polling, there lies a competitive yet vibrant market driven by a handful of prodigious players, each carving out its niche while vying for preeminence. Dominating this realm are the stalwarts of survey-based research, adroit in harnessing public sentiment and curating actionable insights across a spectrum of industries and global marketplaces.

  • Ipsos stands tall as a beacon of French origin, holding a venerated spot on the world stage. With an expansive array of research services under its belt, Ipsos not only basks in its domestic dominance but also boasts a significant international presence. The company displays a distinctive blend of traditional research methods married with modern digital tools, reflecting on consumer panels and qualitative data to get to the crux of what moves the masses.
  • BVA Group, another luminary with roots in France, has navigated its own path to prominence through strategic maneuvers, including the laudable acquisition of Doxa and its ambitious absorption of the UK's esteemed BDRC. These calculated expansions paint the picture of a forward-thinking entity, not content with domestic prowess alone but aiming to cast a wider net over the international seas of survey research. BVA Group's ventures into creating specialized divisions signal a keen initiative to enhance the customer experience and delve deeper into the nuances that shape public opinion.
  • Then there is Médiamétrie, the specialist par excellence in the media sector, delving into audience measurements and analytics with a finesse that has secured its position as an authority figure. Médiamétrie's command over niche expertise embodies the convergence of precision and strategic focus, answering the who's and the how's of media consumption.
  • Tracing a similar trajectory towards specialization is IQVIA, a name synonymous with healthcare expertise. As a company that stands apart in the medical sector, IQVIA addresses the unique challenges of its field, showing that in the world of opinion polling and market surveys, depth can indeed triumph over breadth.
  • The wave of digital transformation has not eluded industry newcomers like OpinionWay and Synthesio, which have bridged the chasm between traditional survey techniques and digital agility. As companies entrench themselves in the silicon veins of the internet, OpinionWay marks its territory with online surveys, while Synthesio's acquisition by Ipsos highlights the latter's appetite for social media intelligence, underscoring the sector's embrace of data science and advancing technologies.
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  • Last update : 05/12/2021
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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Introduction

Opinion polls are surveys carried out on a human population to determine preferences and trends in public opinion. The results are then used to answer one or more questions based on the study of a sample of this population.the best-known opinion surveys cover a wide range of political and social issues, and are carried out by polling companies. Results may be public or private, depending on the nature of the question and the client.

Published research accounts for only a small proportion of the public opinion research produced by market research institutes. The vast majority are carried out for clients who, like marketing decision-makers, keep the results confidential, as these studies are conducted to serve as a decision-making tool. A wide variety of clients commission opinion research: the press (mainly published surveys), ministries and public institutions, local authorities, political parties and personalities, public and private companies (including communications agencies), associations, trade unions, research centers, etc.

on a global scale, the market is booming, driven by the need for information expressed by more and more individuals and companies. Like many other information-related sectors, the opinion survey market is experiencing a strong wave of digitalization.

Alongside traditional players such as Ipsos, BVA, Ifop and Harris Interractive, a number of new digital natives are jostling to make a name for themselves. Companies such as Happydemics and MadeInVote are carving out an ever-growing share of the market. Happydemics, for example, raised almost €13 million in 2020 [L'UsineDigitale] , and now has almost 1,400 customers in 145 countries

1.2 The global market

The global market for opinion surveys has grown significantly in recent years, driven by a number of factors. Firstly, there is a growing demand for consumer information, from both private individuals and companies. Secondly, the use of these surveys has been systematized as part of various commercial initiatives. Thirdly, the digitalization ...

1.3 A slow-growing French market

The French opinion survey market is a young and growing market. In fact, the explosion in opinion polling in France can be explained by the coincidence of several intertwined trends: the constant demand from central authorities (***); the transformation of studies into marketable products.

As can be seen from the graph below, ...

1.4 The impact of the COVID-19 crisis

The COVID-** crisis had a major impact on the market. Indeed, the main players in this market experienced a net downturn in their business, mainly due to a drop in activity. Demand plummeted as companies shut down their operations, and people were affected by containment measures. As a result, the main ...

2 Demand analysis

2.1 Main customer markets

The demand for opinion polls and surveys comes particularly from companies, which are keen on this kind of product to better understand the expectations of consumers (***): the end consumer is generally the target of the survey, not the institute's client.

Share of sales by customer type France, ****, in Source: ****

In ****, companies ...

2.2 Increasingly in-house research

According to an ESOMAR study published in **** on users and buyers of market research worldwide, around **% of research projects are carried out in-house. However, the results vary enormously depending on the company; some do not carry out any projects in-house, while others conduct all their projects in-house and therefore do not ...

2.3 Demand drivers in the short term

The digitization of industries, which goes hand in hand with the ever-increasing amount of data being used more rapidly , will transform customer needs for years to come. The emphasis on ethics in data collection, for example, will become increasingly important, as will the ability to collect more data more quickly. Paradoxically, ...

3 Market structure

3.1 A doubly segmented market

The major players in the market are the survey institutes.In France, there are a number of major international institutes such as Nielsen and Kantar(***). However, the market is dominated by the internationally-renowned French firms Ipsos, BVA and Médiamétrie.

The first observable market structure is a segmentation between the ...

3.2 Concentration and internationalization

The research and survey market is highly concentrated. According to Syntec Conseil, the major institutes (***) accounted for **% of market share by value.

But competition in the market is fierce, with new entrants arriving in step with technological advances. The arrival of the Internet and online surveys has enabled Opinion-Way to make ...

3.3 Impact of new technologies

As seen in the previous sections, the market is tending towards a twofold concentration through external acquisitions: in order to reach critical mass for internationalization, and in order to diversify expertise for generalist firms through the acquisition of specialists. But it's interesting to see new investments appearing for players outside the ...

4 Offer analysis

4.1 Sales driven by marketing and advertising research

Today's generalist market research institutes offer a wide range of services. Opinion poll specialists generate most of their sales from marketing and advertising research (***).

Breakdown of opinion poll sales, by type of research France, ****, in Source: ****

Opinion polls account for only a small share of research firm sales.

Share of political ...

4.2 Offer typology

The range of opinion polls and surveys on offer is extremely rich, and is often tailor-made to meet the specific needs of each client. Nevertheless, it is possible to identify a few broad categories of surveys and opinion polls

4.3 Trends expected from institutes

The ESOMAR study also indicates buyers' perceptions of research and survey institutes.

Sought-after performance of research and polling companies World, ****, in Source: ****

Based on the above responses, institutes appear to deliver quality research work, with **% of respondents having a favorable opinion on this characteristic. When it comes to the speed of ...

4.4 Increasingly connected studies

Studies can be carried out either quantitatively or qualitatively. These two methods complement each other to obtain both representative and detailed responses. [***]

Quantitative data provides the figures that validate the general points of a study by collecting raw, concrete data, mainly in numerical form. Qualitative data, on the other hand, provides ...

5 Regulations

5.1 Regulations

Aarticlefrom ENS Lyon looks back at the first law governing polling: the law of July **, ****. Its aim was to regulate the publication of opinion polls by the media, and to set up a polling commission charged with guaranteeing the free determination of the electorate. But this commission has very limited powers. ...

List of charts

  • Revenues for the "market research and opinion polling" industry in the United States from 2012 to 2024
  • Global market research revenues
  • Breakdown of the five largest markets
  • Size of the French opinion survey market
  • Impact of the health crisis on IPSOS sales
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Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

WPP
IQVIA
Ipsos
BVA Group
Médiametrie
IFOP
CSA
Opinion way
Odoxa
Survey Monkey
Yoope
Kantar France

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