Top US Market Research Firms

August 14, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | B2B | Financial Services

The marketing, advertising and public-opinion research services industry in the US saw its first drop in inflation-adjusted income in more than 20 years, and early indicators suggest that 2009 will be similarly grim, according to the American Marketing Association (AMA).

The AMA’s Marketing News, which published findings from the “Honomichl Top 50” ranking of marketing research firms, reported that US research-industry revenue totaled $18.7 billion in 2008, compared with $17.6 billion in 2007.


Though revenue actually rose 1.6% from 2007 to 2008, adjustment for inflation revealed negative “real growth” of -2.2%, according to Jack Honomichl, who compiled the rankings.

The Honomichl report also noted that as revenues came under pressure, US employment in research firms fell in 2008 to 34,150 people, from 35,443 in 2007. This decline took place as marketers put more pressure on their outside research firms and look to them for more insights, more innovative thinking and more behavioral and attitudinal data.

Top 50 Rankings

The Nielsen Company, with nearly $4.6 billion in research revenue, ranks #1 on the Honomichl list of largest research firms, followed by The Kantar Group, which had revenues of $3.6 billion.

The rest of the top 10 US market research organizations:


Additional findings from the report:

  • 24 of the top 50 research firms had revenue declines or gains lower than 2008’s rate of inflation.
  • Eight companies made one or more acquisitions last year, while 13 companies were acquired. The Kantar Group buying TNS was the largest deal of 2008.
  • 32 companies on the list reported revenue from abroad, and $10.6 billion or 54% of total revenue came from outside the US. Nielsen alone saw 51% of its revenue ($2.3B) come from abroad.
  • International research revenues are becoming a larger and larger slice of overall revenues for the industry, having surpassed domestic revenues in 2003.

About the report: The Honomichl Top 50 business report covers the top players in the US marketing research industry and includes a chart detailing the top 50 organizations.

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