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In recent years, the insights industry has become an
expanding fleet of companies navigating the ever-changing seas of opinion and
behaviour with diverse fortunes. And as new vessels join the formation, it
becomes increasingly relevant to understand their composition, their
characteristics and, of course, their size.

Companies whose business is mainly focused on data and
analytics represent almost half of the
total turnover of the insights industry
. Ignoring those players by focusing
only on those historically considered as players implies misrepresenting the
industry and misguiding readers with an ultimately, irrelevant ranking.

In ESOMAR’s quest to provide useful and actionable insights about
the industry, the ranking of global companies published in the 2019 edition of its
Global Market Research report, offers
an expanded view of the 20 most
influential companies in the insights industry

This view helps to put the industry in perspective, not only
by comparing direct competitors, but also by allowing the reader to understand
the relative position of the “usual suspects,” against companies that have
substantially expanded their competitive “set” (which, not always indirectly,
affect their performance in substantial ways).

A look at the numbers

Overall, good results from some of the 10 largest players within
the historically defined industry resulted in the expansion of their world
share, mainly thanks to fast growth at IQVIA, Gartner and IRI.

On the other hand, the main breaks to this growth have been
Nielsen, Kantar and Westat. Along with Ipsos, GfK, Dynata and INTAGE, this
group of large companies grew +4.8% in 2018, slightly slower than the +5.3%
presented for 2017, but still outpacing the absolute growth reported for the sector
overall (+2.1%).

  • In first position appears Optum, a health
    services innovation company for the first time included in this ranking as the
    criteria for selection changed – historically, the top spot used to be reserved
    to Nielsen. Valued at over US$ 9 billion and displaying double-digit growth in
    2018, it is poised to remain unchallenged for the time being.
  • Nielsen, presents a slight decrease in revenue
    (almost -1%) as the ongoing investments in innovative technologies – aimed at driving
    portfolio expansion – prepare to bear fruit.
  • With a notable growth of 7%, IQVIA has started
    to see top line acceleration – as expected from its merger integration – for
    some of its divisions, like Research & Development Solutions and Technology
    & Analytics Solutions businesses.
  • Gartner presents one of the fastest growing
    results with an increase of +26% as a result of divesting several of its
    non-core businesses in order to focus on identified, untapped, growth
  • Other interesting contenders at the top of the
    list are Experian – a global information services company with revenue of
    almost US$ 3.9 billion – and Epsilon – a digital media agency with revenue of
    almost US$ 2.2 billion.
  • A new addition to the ranking is Dynata, born
    from the merger between Research Now and Survey Sampling International (SSI).
    The combined insights-related turnover of both entities makes it the
    seventeenth largest globally, above Westat.
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ESOMAR’s top-20

RankingCompany name Headquarters US$m*
1OptumEden Prairie, USA 9,008
2The Nielsen CompanyNew York, USA6,515
3IQVIADurham, USA3,904
4ExperianStamford, USA3,877
5Gartner Inc.Stamford, USA3,516
6KantarLondon, UK3,449
7EpsilonIrving, USA2,175
8Ipsos SAParis, France2,067
9IHS MarkitLondon, UK1,996
10GfKNuremberg, Germany1,616
11IRIChicago, USA1,200
12Tableau SoftwareSeattle, USA1,155
13SAPWalldorff, Germany1,124
14AcxiomConway, USA1,068
15Abt AssociatesMassachusetts, USA553
16Verisk AnalysisJersey City, USA513
17DynataPlano, USA509
18Westat Inc.Rockville, USA506
19INTAGE Inc.Tokyo, Japn489
20dunnhumby Ltd.London, UK474

* The ranking presents only turnover related to research, data and analytics activities
Source: ESOMAR Global Market Research Report 2019

Other noteworthy companies

The Editor’s selection is comprised of companies that are worthy of mention due to their individual characteristics – be they noteworthy players in data processing, DIY tools or data and analytics companies with a distinctive focus. For instance, CoStar, a provider of information, analytics and marketing services to the commercial property industry, very recently extended to an international coverage. With a turnover of US$ 1.2 billion, it may soon be included in the Top-20 companies. Other companies worth noting are the DIY platforms Qualtrics – a company that, with a revenue of almost half a billion dollars, would be acquired by SAP in late 2018 – and SurveyMonkey; the data science activities performed by Twitter; or Comscore, a media measurement and analytics company. Closing the list of selected mentions is Toluna, a digital market research and technology based in Paris with revenues of over US$ 230 million.

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Editor’s selection

Source: ESOMAR Global Market Research Report 2019

ESOMAR will continue to keep a close eye on the evolution of the market
to keep this list updated with incoming players and the resulting development
of the insights industry.

Free for ESOMAR members, the report can be purchased by the
wider public from ESOMAR
Reports & Publications

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