How much does market research cost?

¿Cuánto cuesta un estudio de mercado?
Ignasi Fernández 7m of reading

Many companies and professionals wonder how much market research costs. The truth is that the range can be very wide, and all research agencies always ask the client for some key characteristics of the study in order to calculate a fixed price. When requesting a quote for your market research, it will help to know what factors influence the cost. Here are the most common ones so that you can tailor your research brief to your budget.

Qualitative market research: How much does it cost?

The first thing to consider when calculating the cost of a market research study is the type of methodology you are going to follow. If you want to begin to explore or understand a topic in depth, you may be interested in a qualitative research methodology. On the other hand, if you want to quantify habits, attitudes or opinions, you will for sure opt for a quantitative methodology.

Unless you do the moderation of qualitative research yourself, you will need the support of moderators to manage focus groups or in-depth interviews. Therefore, the cost of qualitative market research depends to a large extent on the number of focus groups or interviews you conduct. The higher the number of focus groups or participants, the higher the price of your research.

At the same time, not all focus groups or in-depth interviews cost the same. If you want to conduct the study face-to-face, you will require a space to carry it out and the incentive for participants will be greater to compensate for the cost and travel time. There are also other factors, such as the type of audience we are targeting or the length of the interview. We will look at some of these points in more detail when reviewing how to price a survey.

How much does a survey cost?

Calculating how much does a survey cost is the most frequent request faced by commercial teams in research companies. In general, there are three main cost blocks that influence the final price.

Sample selection and incentivisation

Within the cost of the sample, the following components should be taken into account.

  • Sample size. A larger number of respondents reduces the margin of error and improves data quality. However, the value provided by new respondents is progressively reduced, so it is necessary to calculate the optimal sample size at which we have good data without unnecessarily increasing the cost.
  • Type of target. Unless you work with your own databases, most surveys incorporate incentives that motivate participants to respond quickly and with quality. These incentives tend to be greater if you are targeting a specific professional audience (e.g. CTOs of technology companies) than if you are targeting an audience of consumers and users, who are much easier to find and motivate.
  • Socio-demographic profile. When interviewing consumers, it is always cheaper to access a nationally representative sample, and the price increases the more restrictive the socio-demographic profile with which we want to connect. Targeting the entire population is not the same as targeting specific segments, such as Generation Z, the over-55s or residents of small towns.
  • Incidence rate. Sometimes we want to interview customers of a specific bank, or consumers of a brand of ready meals, or people who are considering a major purchase in the next few months. In all these cases, unless we have already collected this information before, we will need to incorporate screening questions. If the consumer meets the condition, we will start the interview, and if not, we will discard them. The more people who meet the screening condition, the easier it will be to find people to interview and the cheaper the market research will be.

Using a sample of a consumer panel is a good way to reduce the cost of your market research. A consumer panel is a large base of people who have agreed to participate in market research on a regular basis. When panelists are recruited, they fill in a questionnaire with all their socio-demographic data, and other data about their consumption, preferences or household equipment. This information is refreshed periodically so that it is always up to date.

Thanks to a consumer panel, it is much easier to find people who meet precise socio-demographic criteria, and even filter them by their regular consumption of products, media or any other available data. Instead of looking for «a needle in a haystack» within the total population, we can access them directly.

Market research fieldwork

The fieldwork phase of a market survey is the phase in which all persons participating in the survey are interviewed. This is when the information is collected. In this phase, there are two factors that influence the cost of the market research.

  • Length of the questionnaire. The number of questions or the minutes taken to complete a questionnaire will influence the value of the incentive. The more questions or minutes, the higher the cost. A good way to contain the price of your market research is to have a clear view of which questions are essential and which could be sacrificed to reduce the budget.
  • Interview technique. As long as interviews can be done online, the market research budget will be cheaper, as unlike face-to-face or telephone interviews, no interviewers are required.

Analysis of market research

After the fieldwork, the analysis phase begins.

  • Generation of cross tabulations and graphs. Researchers analyse the survey results by reviewing data in crosstabs by the variables of their choice and viewing graphs for each question. This task is easily automated, so in the case of We are testers, there is no additional cost for the tables and graphs.  Other companies with more manual processes may charge for this service.
  • Complex statistical analysis. Sometimes data analysis beyond standard tables is requested. Multivariate principal component analysis or conjoint studies, to give two examples, often require the involvement of statistical experts, which usually entails an additional cost.
  • Customised reports and presentations. Research agencies can propose customised reports to the client or even present them online or at the client’s premises to help convey the data within the organisation.

With the development of market research automation tools, many of these services have become options that you can add to the contract if you wish. This way, you can get more out of your research budget by doing the analysis yourself. And if you prefer to have a more comprehensive service, you can simply add any additional services you want at any time.

How to reduce the cost of market research?

In recent years, the automation of market research has brought about ways to enable companies to do more research for the same budget.

  • Credit plans. Instead of contracting the studies one by one, a credit plan can be chosen to be used over a period of time (e.g. one year). This way clients benefit from volume discounts and reduce contracting costs, as there is no need to negotiate and approve a budget for each small survey.
  • Artificial intelligence. AI is increasingly used in market research for a variety of applications. For example, artificial intelligence can be used to create transcripts of conversations in qualitative research and perform an initial analysis of the most talked-about topics. This allows researchers to reduce the time needed to analyse each study, which also reduces the cost of analysing the study.

Calculate how much your market research costs

Now you know the factors that influence the price of a market research study. You can then ask for a quote that best suits your budget. When you want more detail, at We are testers we have a team of research experts who can help you with your briefing and provide you with a firm quote whenever you need it.

We have a consumer panel that allows you to locate the sample you need directly. We have a research platform that incorporates AI and automates repetitive research tasks so that we can carry out studies in a very efficient way. You can contract studies independently or benefit from the advantages of a credit plan. And whatever service you need, we’ll provide it so you can focus your time on what’s most important to you.

Contact us today and find out exactly how much your study costs.

Update date 5 March, 2024

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