How are market researchers coping – a focus on Spain

Posted by Ray Poynter, 19 May 2020


In April and May, NewMR ran two waves of a study (each with over 1000 responses) looking into how market researchers are coping with the pandemic crisis. You can read the report and watch a recording of our presentation of the findings here.

In this post, I take a deep dive into the data from Spain. This analysis is based on the 96 interviews we received from Spain, thanks to the assistance of groups like ESOMAR and the new Spanish association Insights+Analytics.

Spain is in the Less Worried Group

The key question in the NewMR study seeks to find out how people are feeling by showing them the scale below and asking them to select the one that best represents how they feel.

How do you feel today?

A quick international comparison can be made by tabulating the percentage from each location who picked one of the two happy faces, this is shown in the chart below.

Happy Faces Compared

Spain is in the Green group, the locations where more people selected one of the two Happy Faces. The Orange group is where the average response is, and the Red Group are those where there were fewer Happy Faces selected. The Green Group is headed by New Zealand, but then is entirely comprised of Europe (with the exception of the UK). However, in Spain, 11% picked one of the two Sad Faces. Managers, colleagues and employers should seek to identify and support those who are not ‘happy’.

The Key Message

Spain is very close to the typical country. Most people are coping, about half have seen their income reduce, and some people are struggling.

Working from home

Most market researchers in Spain are working from home (87%), with the next largest group being market researchers who are not working, 9%. This is a massive change to the pre-pandemic situation and it is not clear when most researchers will be back in an office.

We asked people who are currently working from home whether it suited them at the moment. The good news is that 89% said ‘Yes’ it suits them. However, employers, managers and colleagues must remember that this means over one-in-ten are not coping so well with working from home.

Hours Worked and Changes in Income

We asked people whether, since the start of the pandemic crisis, have their incomes changed and have their working hours changed. In terms of hours, there was a wide diversity of responses, 30% working fewer hours, 24% working similar hours, and 39% working longer hours.

In terms of income, 45% are receiving less money, and 51% are earning a similar amount, compared with before the pandemic. Looking at the data in combination, it is clear that about one-third of the people working more hours are also receiving a smaller amount of money.

Suggestions to Insight Leaders

We asked people to say what suggestions they would like to make to the leaders of the research industry. The main theme was that our leaders should advocate for market research, typical comments from Spain include “To not forget that market research is an investment and not an expense.” and “Push the Market Research activity in order to help companies to learn about this new situation”. Another important theme was to think not just about now, but also about the future, for example “find different approaches for market research. The classical ones are becoming obsolete” and “Let’s promote online research with professional and secure tools.”

The profile of the data from Spain

The profile of the responses from Spain were very close the average, which is perhaps not surprising given that nearly 40% of the data comes from Europe. The data from Spain is more likely to be aged 41 to 50 (46% compared with 33% of the total sample ), more likely to have two children under 18 in their home (35% versus 23%), more likely to work at an organisation with more than 100 people (47% versus 36%), and they are more likely to be working more hours since the pandemic started (39% versus 29%).

So What?

The main message is that globally and in Spain most market researchers are coping. People are mostly working from home and for the time being that works for most people.

So:

  1. We need to find and help the people who are struggling
  2. Half of our people are receiving reduced incomes, this is only sustainable for a short amount of time, companies need to adjust their operations so that wage levels can return to normal (and so that training, investment, and working hours can return to normal too).
  3. We need to find ways to help our clients during this crisis (for example by shifting F2F qual to online)
  4. We need to think about how make market research more relevant to the C-Suite, to the CEO, CFO, COO etc.

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