Market research is a constantly evolving field, as all market researchers know. In recent years, however, the pace of evolution and the development of new market research techniques and approaches have accelerated dramatically. 

Read How to Do Market Research With a Media Monitoring Tool?

Rapid developments in technology have meant that today, many of the old, tried-and-true market research methods are either dated or inefficient, or need to be combined with more modern practices. 

If you’re a market researcher looking to stay abreast of current best practices, then this article is for you. Read to learn what the most important emerging market research trends are and how to use them effectively.

Some of the trends we’ll discuss in this article may not be entirely new. However, you may learn some new ways to apply them effectively.  

market research trends in 2024

As Tom Golubovich, Head of Marketing & Media Relations at Ninja Transfers says, “Market research is a dynamic, ever-changing field, but it’s not so much that we’re doing entirely new things when we research a market, as much as it is that the ways we’re doing the same old things are changing. 

With that said, read on for the list!

1. Mobile-First Approach

When designing market research methodologies, researchers must now focus on mobile devices as a primary delivery channel. 

Smartphones have become much more than the primary means most people use to communicate. These days, mobile is the primary way that most people access the internet, shop, manage their schedules, and so on.

Read 5 Overlooked B2B Market Research Techniques

For market researchers, this presents a clear opportunity in terms of research design. Researchers who can design for mobile users will invariably collect deeper and higher-quality data in a much shorter time than they would have been able to at any time in the past. 

Additionally, many more mobile-compatible online tools make market research so easy that even a 10th grader could do it. These include tools like Google Forms, Typeform, and so on.

This is proven by research published by Statista, showing that mobile quantitative research contributed as much as 35% of revenue for market research companies. 

2. Deeper Social Media Listening

Social media listening has always been a popular marketing tactic. And now, with advancements in technology, market researchers can collect unprecedented volumes of real-time data.

Modern social media listening tools allow researchers to monitor conversations and gather qualitative insights much more easily than traditional surveys could have. This allows for a much more accurate analysis of consumer behavior and sentiments, market opportunities, and so on.

3. Remote Data Collection

Tools like email have existed for several decades, and have allowed marketers to conduct research far beyond their borders. Nowadays, however, marketers have access to many more data collection tools and techniques. 

These include online survey software, discussion boards, and mobile apps that make collecting data from diverse geographic locations easy within minutes or even seconds. 

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Thomas Medlin, Co-founder at JumpMD shares, “As digital marketing platforms and techniques evolved, businesses have become increasingly able to collect, process and store incredible depths of data. The reality is that the modern marketer knows their customer so intimately, almost down to their very DNA.”

4. The Rise of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning are among the most important emerging trends in modern market research.

technologies thaat will most impact the market research industry
Source: Qualtrics

More and more companies are investing heavily in AI and machine learning tools, with spending expected to exceed $200 billion by 2025. AI and machine learning do separate things, but when used together, they have the potential to completely transform how market research is conducted.

AI tools are able to collect and process incredible amounts of data at unprecedented speeds, eliminating the need for hours of manual work, and offering more accurate insights.

Determ’s media monitoring platform has an integrated AI assistant Synthia that helps understand data more easily and faster.

Machine learning tools, on the other hand, can identify patterns and predict trends that might not be apparent through manual analysis.

Market researchers must exercise healthy amounts of caution when working with these tools, however, as there are ethical and legal red lines to be avoided. 

5. Longitudinal Tracking  

Longitudinal tracking helps market researchers to gain deeper insights than they would with cross-sectional research. For example, if you’re researching how families’ consumer patterns correlate with income, you may get much better data by observing different families of different income levels over time. Do their patterns change if they have additional children, for example, or when they move to a different area? 

Understanding the factors that most deeply drive consumer choices—such as sustainability, ethical production, and corporate social responsibility—requires longitudinal tracking. 

Fortunately, technological advancements like online panels, mobile apps, and data integration platforms have made it easy to keep in touch with research subjects even across geographical boundaries. 

6. Virtual and Augmented Reality

What if you don’t have to ask consumers how they would respond or act in any given situation, and instead you could simply observe them? Observational research has existed for centuries, however, the growth of virtual and augmented reality tools is taking observational research to new dimensions.

With these technologies, market researchers are now able to enhance the quality of their interactions with customers, with the ability to rapidly introduce new variables into virtual shopping environments, and rapidly gain insights into consumer preferences. 

7. Adoption of Blockchain

You may be more familiar with other applications of blockchain, such as in the creation and management of cryptocurrencies, but blockchain is also an important emerging trend in the market research industry.

Read Understanding Blockchain PR: Definition and Use Cases 

Data lies at the heart of all research, and blockchain can be used to help ensure the integrity of data collection and storage processes. When properly used, blockchain can help to improve the degree of confidence that you have in your research results.

8. Online Qualitative Research

The potential for advances in technology to improve quantitive research gathering online is clear. However, these advances also can improve qualitative research methods such as online focus groups and interviews. 

Researchers are now able to convene sessions with participants who may be in various locations, using video conferencing and other digital communication tools. 

Tim White, Founder of milepro says, “Qualitative research has always been a bit challenging since it requires more time and more effort to participate in. Digital research trends are changing this, and there’s so much more potential for online qualitative research than we would have thought possible a decade ago.”

The emerging market research trends highlighted in the first article offer exciting new possibilities, but there are also potential pitfalls that researchers should be aware of. Here are some notable pitfalls to watch out for:

1. Excessive Reliance on Technology

Advancements in technology generally make work easier for market researchers. However, there is a strong risk of becoming overly dependent on technology and losing some nuance. 

One study by SurveyMonkey shows that more people than ever before are choosing to use their mobile devices when taking surveys, instead of using non-mobile devices. Surveys taken on mobile devices already well exceed those on non-mobile devices globally, although the US lags behind most of the rest of the world in mobile adoption. 

Source: Survey Monkey

2. Regulatory Concerns

Collecting personal data through social media listening, remote data collection, and other digital means may open the doorway to liability for data breaches or misuse, or other forms of non-compliance with data privacy regulations.

The use of AI, machine learning, and virtual/augmented reality in market research also raises serious ethical concerns about whether data is being obtained with the full, willing consent of research participants.

4. High Costs and Resource Requirements:

Acquiring and implementing cutting-edge technologies like AI, blockchain, and VR/AR can be quite costly. For smaller firms, this could be a significant barrier to adoption. In addition to these technologies being potentially unaffordable, there is also a potential skills gap to consider. Market researchers looking to implement these emerging trends will likely need to devote considerable resources to developing the skills required to adopt these technologies effectively. 

Adapting Traditional Techniques for Emerging Markets

One common theme with the emerging market research trends we’ve discussed above is their reliance on digital platforms. 

But while the growth of digital market research methods is generally positive, online market research techniques and tools should not necessarily be isolated from offline research methodologies. 

Instead, market researchers should look to adapt traditional market research techniques to fit these emerging digital market research trends.

For example, while the internet may allow researchers to gain access to virtually the entire world, several practical limitations still exist. These include challenges like poor internet access in certain regions and a shrinking attention span among online consumers.

In this article, we’ve shared some of the top market research trends to keep an eye on. These include adopting a mobile-first philosophy, deeper social listening, remote data collection, leveraging AI and Machine Learning, enhanced longitudinal research, exploring VR and AR, blockchain, and online qualitative research.

If you enjoyed reading this article, we invite you to take a look at our article on market research strategies for measuring brand awareness. You may also enjoy learning about these overlooked B2B market research techniques.

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