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4 ways market research has become more inclusive in the last decade

In today’s world, there is simply no room for market research that isn’t inclusive and accessible.

Market research plays a pivotal role in our understanding of consumer behaviour, identifying what consumers want, and making informed decisions based on their feedback. Over the past decade, market research has undergone a remarkable transformation, becoming more inclusive and accessible than ever before. The advent of technology and widespread use of the internet has allowed researchers to reach more people than ever before and an emphasis on diversity has only accelerated this positive shift.

So how exactly has market research become more inclusive?

1. Increased options for tech

Traditional market research methodologies such as telephone interviews and in-person focus groups have been complemented and even sometimes replaced with online platforms. This includes online communities where participants may share photos, videos or diary entries onto an online app, or remote focus groups or calls where the session is conducted on a video conferencing platform such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

This has eliminated geographical constraints so participants aren’t limited by their ability to travel, meaning that researchers can find out the opinions of different consumers, nation wide! Additionally, this takes into consideration participants with health conditions, mental or physical impairments, who can take part in research from the comfort of their own home, on a device they are familiar with that could include accessibility features such as closed captioning/subtitles, volume and sound adjustments, screen readers, high contrast mode, or the ability to adjust font size.

2. Inclusive sampling techniques

Over the past decade, there has been a concerted effort to ensure research studies include a diverse range of participants.

Market research platforms have made it easier for recruiters to ensure they include participants from various demographics, including underrepresented groups. By actively seeking diverse perspectives, including those from ethnic minority backgrounds, those with accessibility needs, those from low-income backgrounds and those from different age groups and locations, researchers can gain a wide scope of consumer perspectives.

At Angelfish, we always ensure our questions allow people to feel they fit in, giving options to self define and express accessibility requirements at recruitment stage.

Not only does this inclusive approach improve the accuracy of market research, but it also helps businesses develop products and services that appeal to a wide customer base.

3. Online communities and social media

One of the biggest online developments in the past decade has definitely been social media. It seems hard to believe that TikTok was only launched in 2017 and yet in 2023, it has a whopping 3.7m active users in the UK1.

Social media has allowed researchers to access more people than ever before – using platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, researchers can use ads to target specific demographics and introduce more online users to the world of market research!

Even with more niche research topics with typically harder to reach communities, social media has proven to be a game-changer, enabling researchers to tap into specific online communities and engage with individuals who might otherwise be inaccessible. This has resulted in more nuanced and comprehensive insights and also allowed for consumers to take part in research that appeals to their specific interests or identities. Social media can bridge the gap between businesses and harder to reach, niche communities, and make sure more unique perspectives are heard.

4. MRS Representation in research

The Market Research Society (MRS) is an organisation that supports and guides professionals who work in market research. The MRS helps researchers do their job more effectively and ethically and plays a crucial role in promoting diversity and inclusion.

The MRS encourage researchers to reach out to a wide range of people from different backgrounds, cultures and experiences and provide guidelines to ensure research is conducted in an inclusive manner. These guidelines promote fairness, respect and sensitivity when engaging with participants and highlight the importance of ensuring research materials are accessible and culturally sensitive. In recent years, MRS have introduced initiatives focusing on diversity and inclusion, and with a well respected body like MRS paving the way, it’ll only become more embedded in the market research industry moving forward.

They offer guidelines on best practice for collecting data around sex, gender, sexual orientation and ethnicity and strive to make sure research is as diverse and inclusive as possible.

Get involved in paid market research

The past 10 years has been a real game-changer for the market research industry, allowing it to become more inclusive and accessible than ever before. Technological innovations, inclusive sampling techniques, social media impact and MRS guidelines have ensured a wider, more diverse mix of people are included in market research, including those with accessibility needs and considerations.

At Angelfish, we strive to ensure that our market research projects are as inclusive as possible, you can apply to participate in any of our current projects of your choice – and be paid to share your thoughts! We can’t wait to hear from you.

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