The most shocking result of Confirmit’s 8th annual MR Software Survey was that relatively few MR companies are taking an active approach to cater for survey takers using smartphones or tablets for surveys.   62% of respondents either do not have a policy for web surveys that land on mobile screens or they don’t modify surveys to be seen on small screens.

With 7% of the sample excluding mobile respondents completely, only 1 in 7 respondents actually adjust their online surveys to make them more appropriate for mobile devices.

The survey is conducted annually by meaning ltd, an independent research technology consultancy in London, UK and provides unique information and insight into the interplay of technology and methodology within the Market Research industry.  It provides a snapshot of current usage, attitudes and predictions from practitioners, as well as identifying trends from a number of tracking questions that are asked repeatedly each year.

Tim Macer, Managing Director, meaning ltd, commented: “For 2011, we have explored four new topics: Handling unstructured text, ‘New MR’ methods, Smartphone usage on conventional online surveys and Data Visualisation. It was the results from the Smartphone questions that surprised us.”

Pat Molloy, Chief Strategy Officer at Confirmit explained: “According to research by Knotice 28% of all email is opened on a mobile device, either a phone or a tablet, but our survey shows that only 15% of MR companies are actively ensuring that their surveys are adapted for mobile devices.

“These companies are showing a shocking complacency and are losing out on potential respondents!  This must be taken as a wakeup call to MR companies to start embracing the mobile world in their surveying strategies. ”

Top level findings of the survey show that the use of new technology other than mobile is also evolving across the MR industry. Highlights include:

  • 20% of participants say that their companies use unstructured text in 61% – 100% of projects
  • 55% of respondents expect their use of unstructured text to increase in the next one to two years
  • 84% of participants expect that the proportion of their work using New MR will increase over the next one to two years. New MR was defined as Synthetic respondents, Neuroscience, Co-creation, Crowd-shaped questionnaires, Web scraping, Digital ethnography and Market research online communities (MROCs).
  • 80% of respondents are experiencing a growth in demand for data visualisation.
  • CATI surveys are remaining stable
  • Since 2006, Web research has increased by 11% but paper based research has decreased by 7%
  • 46% of respondents are planning to change their software – the largest proportion since the 2006 survey
  • Respondents with an integrated platform for mixed mode research has risen from 38% in 2006 to 60%


Dave King, EVP Mobile Solutions at Confirmit added: “Two short years ago technology would have been identified as the barrier to adoption. That is no longer the case as the technology has evolved to the extent that in 2012 Confirmit estimates it will collect over 30 million mobile surveys and 10 million photos. The technology is there for those that choose to embrace and take advantage – there are a number of progressive, forward thinking Market Research companies that have chosen to do just that and we expect we will see more in the future”.

The survey comprised a sample of 230 Market Research companies across the globe, with individuals who are responsible for, influential in or aware of technology decisions within their company. The sample was drawn to ensure representation of three global regions: North America, Europe and Asia Pacific, balanced to represent the relative amount of research carried out in these regions, according to figures published by ESOMAR.  The survey consisted of a self-completion interview on the Web, comprising around sixty questions and timed to last approximately fifteen minutes.  The survey succeeded in including a large proportion of senior people within the target group from bona fide research companies.

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