I'm a regular reader of the Market Research Heretic Blog . The banner above his blog posts reads "Market Research Death Watch". Many great points are made about how we take respondents for granted and how many survey instruments simultaneously gather useless data and reduce the chances of that respondent ever doing another survey again. Most important, the point is made that the market research industry is resistant to change and ultimately that will lead to its demise.
The arrival today of the latest Honomichl 50 list certainly supports the notion that the industry is in trouble. The numbers are the most brutal I've ever seen. Revenue has declined and when you focus only on straight research firms (those doing primary qualitative and quantitative research) that decline is even larger. Employment has dropped even faster (and this is measuring research firm employment, I suspect client side researchers were hit even harder). Jack Honomichl is certainly dour in his column, but I think if anything he is understanding how bad a hit research took this year.
The question is, were the results of this year and last (2008 also showed declines) just related to the recession or do they reflect a trend that will continue long after the recession is officially over? My guess is, we will see some recovery with the better economy this year, but the heretic's warnings should not be ignored.