Online Market Research - Addressing Business Challenges in Emerging Markets
Long-perceived only as a source of cheap labor, emerging economies now include the world's fastest growing consumer base and are an investment focus for global businesses keen to address this demand. Market projections for emerging economies across industries are undeniably positive -Forrester projects that the fastest growing IT markets in 2013 will be China (10.3%), followed by Brazil (7.8%). India already is a recognized hub for IT services and solutions. The Economist predicts that 70% of the global demand for highly skilled labor force will be addressed by emerging markets, with India & China together addressing 40% of that demand.
Despite their growing importance in the world economy, there are a number of challenges faced by global businesses, even established ones, in understanding the growing consumer needs in emerging markets. Market research has several limitations in emerging markets including trying to remain relevant amidst the changing digital and buyer experience and economy. The consumer model created for the developed world needs to be customized for the disparate needs of the emerging markets. Defining the right target audience in a culturally and economically heterogeneous environment is challenging and influences the major aspects of the research process viz. questionnaire, sampling and research design. It is important to understand these cultural nuances to gain meaningful insights that provide the right business solutions. E.g. a global advertiser in Brazil promoting a washing machine needs to understand that extended families are also a part of the purchase decision. Similarly a product company gathering consumer opinions in Russia & India needs to understand that Russians give lower ratings to a product perceived average while Indians rate the same product higher. These cultural and demographic diversities, dissimilarities between consumer behavior and business environments make it difficult to assess consumer perception and build solutions that address this demand.
A growing Internet population with an increasing number accessing via smartphones give companies an effective way to collect consumer opinions. Online market research has emerged as a faster, convenient and accurate way to gather consumer opinions. Online research also helps in ensuring similar data collection methodologies across countries for both developed and emerging markets.