Research Outline

Market and Public Opinion Research Marketplaces


To investigate the opinion research marketplace and the market research marketplace including how they differ, an identification of the top players in each, and if there is any significant crossover between the marketplaces.

Early Findings

Global Combined Marketplace

  • According to estimates from, the global size of the complete (including polling research) market research marketplace was $76 billion in 2017.
  • “According to data sourced from ESOMAR and professional services firm BDO (‘Global Market Research Report 2018’), spending on the traditional market research sector grew by just 1% to $46 billion last year, up from $44.5 billion in 2016. However, the newer and emerging segments of the industry, such as data analytics and AI-driven consumer research, boomed in 2017, adding $3 billion to the industry’s roster.”
  • Of note, an updated look at the total marketplace (titled the 2020 U.S. Industry Statistics & Market Research - Marketing Research & Public Opinion Polling) is blocked behind a paywall, but can be purchased.
  • Firms in North America represent approximately 62% of the global market share.
  • Current estimates of the combined marketplace place the size at $80 billion and estimate an average annual growth rate of 5%.

Players in the Market Research Industry

  • “The top ten research companies, led by the six largest players Nielsen, Kantar, QuintilesIMS, Ipsos, Gfk and IRI — generated $18 billion in fee income in 2017, accounting for nearly a quarter of the entire industry.”
Approximate annual revenues for the top five market research companies are as follows:
  • Nielsen — $6.3 billion
  • Kantar — $3.8 billion
  • Quintile — $3.3 billion
  • Ipsos — $1.9 billion
  • Gfk — $1.7 billion

Players in the Public Opinion/Polling Research Industry

Employment in the Combined Industry