Overview

The expansion and transformation of the marketing research industry continued strong in 2016, particularly among the Global Top 25 companies included in this year’s AMA Gold Global Top 25 Report (“Marketing News,” September-October 2017).

The total 2016 revenue for the Global Top 25 is $22,548.6 million versus $21,565.7 million in 2015, a growth rate of 4.6% (or 3.3% when adjusted for inflation).

The 2016 growth rate represents a significant change from the “flat growth rate” recorded in last year’s Global Top 25 report. There are two major factors that contributed to this turnaround:  (1) changes in the composition of this year’s global top 25 list; and (2) currency exchange rate fluctuations in 2016 and 2015.

  • This year’s Global Top 25 does not include comScore, which could not participate because its 2016 financial statements were not publically available. Nor does it include Rentrak, which merged with comScore in February 2016. Finally, the Global Top 25 list does not include J.D. Power, which was acquired by XIO Group in 2016 and does not choose to disclose financial information. These companies represent over $750 million in annual revenue.

The companies that replaced these three firms are BVA (France), Mintel (U.K.), and NRC Health (U.S.). These companies represent a total of about $430 million in annual revenue.

  • The currency exchange rate fluctuation between 2015 and 2016 had a mixed effect on the growth rate in 2016. In 2016 the currency exchange rate against the U.S. Dollar had an especially negative impact on the British Pound and the Euro. However, the Japanese Yen increased its value against the U.S. Dollar.

The percent of global revenue from “Outside the Home Country” for the Global Top 25 is about 70% percent. In addition, the average number of countries in which a Global Top 25 company has an office or a subsidiary is 27 countries. These numbers reflect more outreach to and establishment of offices in emerging research markets in Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and South and Central America.

Countries and Currencies

The British Pound is the home country currency for seven of the Top 25 companies and over 50% of the total 2016 global revenue.  The United Kingdom contingent includes four Top 10 companies, beginning with #1 and # 2 on the list—Nielsen and Kantar, and #8 Wood MacKenzie and #10 dunnhumby.  The other British companies are #18 Mintel, #21 YouGov, and #25 Cello Health.

The U.S. Dollar is the currency for the eleven U.S. companies, representing 27.8% of the total 2016 Global Revenue. Three U.S. companies are included in the Top 10–#3 QuintilesIMS, #6 IRI (Information Resources, Inc.), and #7 Westat. The other U.S. companies are: #11 The NPD Group, #13 ICF, #15 DRG (Decision Resources Group), #17 MaritzCX, #19 Abt Associates, #20 Lieberman Research Worldwide (LRW), #22 ORC International, and #23 NRC Health.

The Euro represents 17.4% of the total 2016 global revenue, with 10.0% of that revenue coming from France, including #4 on the Top 10, Ipsos, along with #16 BVA and #24 Mediametrie.  Germany’s 7.4 percent of the global revenue is represented by one company, GfK, #5 on the Top 10 list.

The Japanese Yen represents 4.2% of the 2016 global revenue, and includes three Top 25 companies, beginning with #9 on the Top 10 list, INTAGE Holdings. Also, included on the Global Top 25 from Japan are #12 Macromill and #14 Video Research.

The Top Ten

The Top 10 companies account for 88.5% ($19,947.8 million) of the total 2016 global revenue of $22,548.6 for the Global Top 25. Moreover, these companies represent $15,067.8 million (95.8%) of the 2016 revenue from Outside the Home Country and $4,880.0 million (71.6%) of the total 2016 Home Country revenue for the Global Top 25. These ten companies together have 143,477 employees or 91.5% of the total number of employees for the Global Top 25 companies.

Portfolio of Services

The Global Top 25 continues to be dominated by companies that provide syndicated, tracking, and measurement services.  Thirteen companies on the list specialize in measurement and tracking services, representing 58.4% of the total 2016 revenue for the Global Top 25.  In addition, most of the other Global Top 25 companies also include measurement and tracking in their portfolio of services.

Reading through the Profiles of the Global Top 25 companies confirms that their services are expanding and changing.  Most companies are vested in online research, panel research, social media measurement, data analytics, and customer experience.  The transformation of the research industry as reflected by the Global Top 25 is well underway. These companies are increasing their focus on and investment in social media, predictive analytics, data visualization, and enterprise feedback management, among other emerging sub disciplines.

For more details about the Global Top 25 companies and to review their profiles, please see the entire AMA Gold Global Top 25 Report in “Marketing News.”

Diane_BowersDiane Bowers – Chair, GRBN Executive Management Board; Board Member, ARIA; Board Member, The Roper Center at Cornell University; Consultant to Insights Association and U.S. research and analytics companies.

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