15 Market Research Trends to Watch Out For in 2023

future trends

Recently, the Drive Research team attended the Quirks event in NYC for market research and insights professionals! 

The event shares insight on best practices and future market research trends, as well as in-person networking opportunities. 

As you’ll soon see, the key points covered at the event range from diversity and inclusion to consumer psychology to branding techniques. We’ve included brief overviews of the 10 sessions we went to and a few important takeaways from each.

Below are the top 2023 market research trends to prepare for.

#1: Opinion Shapes the Future and Foresight

Overview of the session: Kellogg’s and Ipsos shared a validation exercise used for ad testing. It helps calculate ROI, prevent wasted ad spend, and optimize ad spend.

💡 The Key Takeaways:

  • Creative is the most important driver of ad effectiveness, meaning stronger creative drives more effective ads.
  • Creative testing delivers a return, even if users are only able to remove poor performers (i.e., weeding out red flag ads to avoid spending money on those for one with better performance).
  • Engage in research as early as possible to avoid spending time and money on poor creative quality
  • Remember to not assume ads perform the same across different mediums (television, in feed, etc.), so researchers should test them on different formats. 
  • Even with the smallest media budget, the investment in ad testing versus relying on passive metrics pays off. 
  • Treat creative quality as you would any other business resource. 
  • Relying on behavior metrics for digital can skew ad effectiveness measurements, meaning it’s more realistic to test it via research.
  • Drive influence with stakeholders by building a strongly-led business case.

For more on ad concept testing, what our video below.

Recommended Reading: Ultimate Guide to Ad Concept Testing Surveys

#2: Going From the “So What” to the “Now What”

Overview of the session: Panelists from Colgate-Palmolive, Pepsi, and Reckitt shared details about how they are striving to become more customer-centric and supportive of DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) efforts and gave practical tips to consider. 

After all, it was recently found that both millennials and Gen Zers were the most historically diverse communities. This factor needs to be recognized not just in research practices, but in the entire professional sector.

💡 The Key Takeaways:

  • When thinking about DEI efforts in the market research industry, be intentional–representation matters. Researchers need to do their part to ensure participants feel heard.
  • Create internal research guides for creating modern questions (i.e., think about being inclusive to avoid alienating or underrepresenting groups or not diluting voices).
  • Consider if your research is not hitting certain voices and find ways to address that.
  • Remember that DEI isn’t necessarily a 100% solvable issue, because it’s evolving and nuanced. 
  • Targeting only the general population ignores underrepresented groups, which adds complexity and creates untapped groups/potential. 
  • Work with supplier partners who are on the ground in the market you’re researching to ensure you are reaching and considering underrepresented groups. 
  • It’s not a matter of checking your survey translation, but checking your assumptions that your survey will apply to everyone within the market you’re researching.
  • Randomize/rotate the answer options in demographic questions.

#3: Insight Community Evolved: How Samsung is Engaging Gen Z

Overview of the session: Gen Z is 20% of the population and wants to be heard, but they are also the least likely to participate in research. This begs the question, how do brands successfully engage Gen Z? 

Based on the market research industry trends that were highlighted, strategized communication outreach can help address this issue. 

💡 The Key Takeaways:

    • It can be more difficult/costly to reach Gen Z via email. Consider reaching out to them via text, app, or other mobile communication. 
    • Consider moving to more conversational research that’s organic and authentic. (This helps get people out of test-taking mode.)
    • Remember to consider the phrase, “Everyone wants to be heard but no one wants to be studied.” Moreover, find ways to make research effortless, fun, and immersive.
    • The benefits of making research more conversational via mobile app survey software can lead to 7x more detail in open ends, new age deliverables (i.e. video clips to enhance storytelling), and unlocking deeper insights. 

Recommended Reading: How to Engage Gen Z in Market Research

#4: Smart Strategies for High-Stakes Times

Overview of the session: Brands have become quick decision-makers on high-stakes values and social actions. How do brands stay ahead of consumer perception?

💡 The Key Takeaways:

  • Young consumers are seeking safety/serenity–brands must find ways to appeal to that need.
  • Consumers are pushing the conversation about sustainability. 
  • It will be interesting to see and understand the trade-off consumers face during inflation. This is something brands should continue to research.
  • People know and use QR codes now more than ever. Use QR codes as a touch point to connect with consumers on things they’re passionate about/asking from the brand.
  • How brands talk about sustainability is different than how consumers think about it. When communicating about sustainability with consumers, find ways to bridge the gap between the two to ensure comprehension.
  • What brands say and when they say it has an impact. Be consistent, not opportunistic.

#5: The Importance of Foresight in Research

Overview of the session: While it may sound simple, planning ahead is one of those evergreen trends in market research. Ipsos discussed the importance of foresight in research, and actions researchers can take to prepare for uncertainty.

💡 The Key Takeaways:

  • Consider foresight as part of your research and consider humans when you consider foresight.
  • Remember, the decisions we make today might have impacts that last a very long time.
  • People think about change too much. Instead, plan for uncertainty and adaptability.
  • Human opinions and values are the secret sauce to foresight.

#6: Product Development in Real-Time

Overview of the session: Darren Stoddart (Senior Director of Innovation at BEHR Paint) and Mike Billingsley (CEO at OnePulse) discuss how the paint company's product design and innovation team reduced their research development timeline from several weeks to less than 24 hours. 

One of the most important 2023 market research trends, effective product development prioritizes objectivity in the early stages of creation.

💡 The Key Takeaways:

  • OnePulse specializes in bite-size research and allows users to ask 3 questions at a time.
  • BEHR uses this platform to validate ideas, test concepts, understand habits, and receive feedback within the hour.
  • Consider testing bite-sized research for ad testing, concept testing, message testing, and more. This makes the process of creating and adapting creative relatively seamless, knowing research can be conducted on the spot.

Recommended Reading: 15+ Product Concept Development Example Survey Questions to Steal

#7: The Role of Emotions in Product Concept Creation 

Overview of the session: This is no surprise, but there are many emotion-based and psychological strategies to influence consumer spending

How products, packaging, and concepts are designed can generate consistent emotional experiences among consumers.

Conducting emotion-based research among consumers can generate more effective communications and claims, as well as competitive advantages.

💡 The Key Takeaways:

  • All decisions are driven by emotion. Remember, emotions are strong predictors of both brand loyalty and choice.
  • Appealing to emotion enhances the customer experience.
  • The goal of the research was to understand the role of emotion in making a personal connection with products.
  • Research showed creating positive emotions helps secure repurchasing.

#8: Take the Time to Think About Inclusivity in Research

Several sessions at the event also revolved around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). A hot topic over the past couple of years in American culture, DEI has become increasingly important within research.

Interested in conducting a DEI survey? Read our how-to guide here.

Many researchers are starting to challenge traditional approaches that have overlooked underrepresented groups of people based on their backgrounds, abilities, and identities. 

One session I attended by Voya and KNow Research spoke about the ways in which research can be more inclusive.

For example, when conducting qualitative or quantitative research, setting quotas to ensure representation of ethnicity, age, gender, location, and other characteristics so that all participants have a voice.

In conversations with clients who manage brands, it also becomes essential for researchers to ask how important diversity and inclusion are to their brand goals.

Another session by Pepper Miller raised excellent points about understanding differences between the diverse groups in the U.S. such as Black Americans. Differences need to be celebrated instead of ignored in the context of business.

Researchers, in particular, should take care to consider cultural sensitivities, be authentic in communication with participants, and be committed to improving their knowledge on these matters.

#9: Analyzing Survey Data to Get Under the Skin of Perceptions About Diversity and Inclusion

Overview of the session: One of the key market research trends for this year, the meaning of diversity and inclusion is unique to each individual. 

To help organizations understand what this context looks like for their stakeholders, Relative Insight conducted a 20-question survey. Text analysis was used to highlight the language differences among different demographics.  

💡 The Key Takeaways:

  • In general, diversity means honoring difference while incorporating variety and fairness to the general population.
  • Females were more likely to have more specifics and details when asked to explain diversity and what that means for brands. 
  • Males were more likely to use general, non-specific answers when discussing diversity and what it means for brands (i.e, saying “I don’t know”, “nothing to add”, and using generalizations). 

Learn more about the study here. 

#10: Employee Wellbeing In the Post-Pandemic Workplace 

Overview of the session: OvationMR and AbleTo discussed the results of a comprehensive study, and how it plays into this year’s market research trends. The study examined employee stress in today's changing workplace and the use of virtual behavior-based health care. 

💡 The Key Takeaways:

  • Three out of four U.S. workers are experiencing mental health issues.
  • Women are more likely to admit their mental health issues.
  • Workers experiencing mental health issues decrease with age. (In fact, older age groups are more likely to say they are “tired/fatigued”.)
  • Anxiety, depression, and loneliness were the top 3 issues among those experiencing mental health issues.
  • Hybrid workers were less likely to experience anxiety and loneliness compared to those fully in the office.
  • Only half of workers who are affected by mental health issues are seeking help.
  • People no longer see a stigma for mental health and are more likely to be aware of resources.
  • Workers who aren’t getting help think they simply don’t need it, they can manage their symptoms, don’t have time to seek care, or do not think their symptoms are serious enough to seek care. 

Using a third party for employee surveys is helpful in understanding staff productivity and satisfaction.

Through the use of a VoE turn-key product or customized survey, market research can easily determine employee wellness insights to promote mental health.  

Recommended Reading: How (& Why) Organizations Should Improve Employee Wellbeing

#11: Preparing Brands for the Post-Pandemic Shopper

Overview of the session: The pandemic, inflation, supply chain issues, and gas prices have disrupted typical shopping habits. And this isn’t a fleeting issue–up to 48% of shoppers state their purchasing habits have been permanently changed since COVID-19 hit the scene. 

CivicScience and Hershey discussed the trends, behaviors, and predictions of what the post-pandemic shopper will look like and how brands can prepare for what’s next.

💡 The Key Takeaways:

  • The “post-pandemic” shopper is affecting every person, industry, and brand.
  • Caution related to COVID-19 has reached stabilization. Still, some consumers might wait many months or longer (if ever) to return to normal.
  • Economic sentiment is historically abysmal, which was driven by low confidence in the housing market.
  • In the past 6 weeks, more people are saying they’re worse off and have less in their savings. 
  • Supply chain issues have decreased brand loyalty. In fact, nearly half of US consumers migrated away from brands they were previously loyal to.
  • The pandemic hit lower incomes harder. This audience felt worse off compared to those with middle to higher incomes.
  • The older generations are much more comfortable with technology.
  • Rising price sensitivity affects brands differently.
  • Consumers are still staying at home, which is driven by safety and affordability. 
  • There is a lot of concern for the economy. As a result, consumers are cutting back on restaurants and eating out.

#12: Sustainability is Important to Consumers and Profitable for Businesses

With climate issues becoming more prevalent by the day in the world, sustainability initiatives are not going away anytime soon.

Sustainability research was the subject of one session I sat in on. The presentation from BuzzBack Market Research detailed the latest sentiment toward sustainability among consumers as well as the implications for businesses.

The presentation highlighted how companies that prioritize sustainability actually generate higher profits than industry peers.

Consumers are seeking sustainability in their everyday lives, as well. Some compelling statistics from the research found:

  • 66% of consumers would spend more for a product if it came from a sustainable brand
  • 81% of consumers feel strongly companies should help improve the environment
  • 40% of millennials have taken jobs because of a company’s sustainability

Sustainability claims from companies are understood by consumers and important to their purchasing decisions. Consumers widely recognize terms like “recyclable,” “reusable,” “eco-friendly,” and “no plastic.”

Many in the U.S. also specifically look for sustainability certifications on packaging like recycling number classifications, 100% Recycled Paperboard, or Corrugated Recycles. 

#13: Consumers are Bracing for Economic Challenges Ahead After Summer 2022

How consumers are feeling has been a key question ever since COVID-19 struck nearly two and a half years ago. In the summer of 2022, the question is as relevant as ever.

I noticed a few sessions at The Quirk’s Event were dedicated to the current state of consumer behavior and attitudes in the U.S. In one I attended, the main takeaway was that the economy is a top-of-mind issue for all Americans at this point in time.

In a study conducted by GutCheck, at least two-thirds of consumers were feeling somewhat or a lot worse regarding prices for food/consumer goods, fuel/gasoline prices, cost of housing, the overall cost of living, and international relations/wars.

Cost of living or inflation was the most important issue among the list of specific problems facing the country this summer.

For interesting data about consumer behavior at the start of COVID-19 in the U.S., check out this post about the economic impact of the pandemic in 2020.

Going forward, 2 in 3 consumers indicated they expect prices to still increase through the summer.

A majority were somewhat or highly likely to take cost-cutting measures such as buying the lowest cost products, buying more store/private label brands, or canceling video subscription services.

#14: Being Proactive in Research May Better Help Stakeholders

One of the sessions I attended by Voxpopme stressed the importance of thinking ahead when it comes to research.

For example, instead of putting in only standard questions in your survey or discussion guide, consider what other value you might be able to add.

If you have room to spare in these documents, include some experimental questions that have the potential to create unique insights for your stakeholders.

Much of the time, we have a baseline of knowledge from past studies or relevant secondary research.

Instead of asking these same questions, pose a new question that goes deeper. This might even mean going slightly beyond the objectives of the study to answer a question a client didn’t even think to ask.

Read about 4 keys to A+ market research customer service, including being proactive, here.

Thinking about what your stakeholders need before they need it can ultimately position you as a better partner. Having empathy and a deeper understanding of these clients’ needs will only increase the likelihood of a successful research project.

#15: Know Your Audience When Presenting Research Findings

Efficient communication seems to be at the forefront now in the world of market research.

Stakeholders of all functions and levels cannot be walked through an exhausting amount of data and charts like in the past. 

A session by WWE that stuck out to me at The Quirk’s Event focused on the concept of keeping it simple and knowing your audience.

💡 The Key Takeaways:

  • Don’t waste precious space at the front of a research presentation with a methodology slide. Many stakeholders prefer to jump into the results these days. The methodology and approach can still be easily found in the appendix.
  • Both internal and external clients have full days with other meetings and work. It’s imperative to keep presentations short and to the point. 30 minutes or less for presentations is ideal for all parties involved when possible.
  • Use terms and metrics that make sense to your stakeholders. Technical research outputs and advanced analysis need to be presented in digestible formats to be truly appreciated.
  • Stuffing presentations with data points and charts are missing the point to some extent. Concise findings will resonate more with clients than dozens of percentages.
  • Focus on the aspects of the research that answer their key objectives. Many non-research stakeholders are looking to researchers for the relevant takeaways- not just every survey question result being drawn out chronologically.

Looking for more ideas to make a better market research report? Here are four great tips.

Contact Our Market Research Company 

Market research trends are constantly changing, which is why staying on top of them is so important. Our visit to Quirks’ provided us (and hopefully you) with some great insight into the future of this exciting industry. 

Drive Research is a market research company in New York. Our team has years of combined experience in the industry and will work with you to craft the ideal research project for your business.

Interested in learning more about our market research services? Reach out through any of the four ways below.

  1. Message us on our website
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  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

emily taylor about the author

Emily Taylor

As a Senior Research Analyst, Emily is approaching a decade of experience in the market research industry and loves to challenge the status quo. She is a certified VoC professional with a passion for storytelling.

Learn more about Emily, here.

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