What’s in store for market research in 2017?

wayne-1-of-1-2Over the past few weeks, I have seen quite a few blog posts detailing market research predictions for the coming year. I know you have seen them as well. And you’re tired of them, right? Yeah, me too.

So in that spirit, here are a few market research predictions for 2017. Get excited!

Millennials will continue to be important, but as workers and parents not just individuals

The Millennial Generation has been a big area of focus for market research for a few years now. In fact, as you might recall, I performed a number of Invoke Xperiences with and wrote a few blog posts about Millennials over the past few years. I even got an article published in Alert! that detailed some of the findings from these sessions. The Millennials have been focused on so heavily mainly because of their size and perceived/reported differences from the generations before them.

As we enter into 2017, even the youngest of this generation (if we go by the 1980-1995 definition) will be either in the workforce already or entering it soon. Looking back at an article published in February 2016, Millennials made up 25% of the US workforce and this is only going to increase. And this means that all that work we have been doing to understand Millennials and their motivations is going to become increasingly important as their spending power grows.

However, as this group ages, the incidence of Millennial parents will also increase. Again based on an article from back in February 2016, 25% of Millennials are parents and this number will grow. And while we may, as an industry, have what we think is a good grip on what motivates the Millennial individual, Millennial parents are something worth exploring (If they differed so from earlier generations regarding personal motivations and behaviors.) That same article touches on both similarities and differences between Millennial parents and the parents of the generations before them but there is so much more to learn. I think 2017 will be the year we start looking at Millennials differently.

The focus on Generation Z will increase

Building off the previous point, with Millennials aging and planting themselves firmly in adulthood, the research industry will start to focus more intently on the generation to follow Millennials. Generation Z (or Post-Millennials, the iGeneration, Founders, Plurals, or the Homeland Generation…see how little we know? We can’t even name them.)

But as market researchers, we are tasked with not only looking at the world around us but the world ahead of us. Therefore, we need to really begin taking a hard look at this Generation Z as they are beginning to enter their twenties. And based on early thinking, there are going to be some differences we need to be paying attention to. I have already seen some studies extending below the Millennial mark over the past year, but I think in 2017, we will start to see more research segmenting this group out specifically.

Storytelling and driving action over data will continue to grow

Back in September, I attended the CRC conference in San Francisco and as noted in my blog post detailing some of my learnings delivering beyond the data is becoming more and more important. Driving action and storytelling elevate our positions as market researchers to become more than just data delivery vehicles. Once we begin to tell stories and provide actionable insights and recommendations, this elevates us to the position of partners that drive decisions and thought.

With the advent of Big Data, numbers have been the star for the past few years, but based on what I heard both in formal talks and casual chatter over the past year, I believe 2017 will be the year where the industry turns back to qualitative data to understand the “why behind the what” (Big Qual?) While Big Data has done a lot in terms of what we can learn and understand in terms of correlation, it lacks the necessary information to understand causation to any useful degree. This coming year, I think we will start to see the industry coming back around to look for ways to connect qualitative research with the ever-increasing amount of Big Data we have available to us.

So there are a few things I expect from 2017. Oh also, Star Wars: Episode VIII is going to be amazing.

Wayne Goodreau

VP of Research & Insights


Wayne brings over a decade of experience as a market research professional. His expertise spans a number of vertical industries, including consumer packaged goods, information technology, insurance and financial services, and pharmaceuticals. Wayne has extensive experience in conducting both qualitative and quantitative research that translates into insights aimed at helping businesses make tactical and strategic decisions.

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