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Business of Evidence 2016

An assessment of the size and impact of the UK research and evidence market, commissioned by the Market Research Society (MRS)


PwC’s analysis has revealed that the UK business of evidence market currently generates £4.8 billion in Gross Value Added (GVA).  From a £3bn market in 2012 that was looking to new ways to improve old processes, the UK’s research market has exploded by over 60%, driven by data analytics, insight generation and social media and web-traffic monitoring.  This means that the business of evidence market has significantly outpaced the growth in the UK economy as a whole, which showed growth of only 8.7% over the same period. And with £4.8 billion representing 0.3% of total UK GDP, the UK research sector has revenues larger than the music industry and the also PR and communications sector.


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Honor Mallon, PwC r2i Lead Partner, introduces the Business of Evidence 2016.



The Business of Evidence 2016 study consisted of 3 main stages: 

Desk based research.   

This involved building on the results of The Business of Evidence 2012 study  and gathering market intelligence from various sources including, but not limited to, the Market Research Society, the ONS Annual Business Survey, and the Economic and Social Research Council.  Where possible methods used were consistent with the 2012 study to allow the results to be directly comparable across the sectors. 

Online survey.   

An online survey was constructed and launched to both research suppliers and companies with in-house research departments.  This survey achieved 110 valid responses and was administered to a panel.  Respondents were spread across each of the sectors reflected in our report. 

Depth interviews.  

Key stakeholders in the Market and Social Research sector were asked to undertake depth interviews to provide their views on the market and how it has grown and changed since the 2012 study.  These interviews along with the online survey results were used to supplement and enhance the intelligence gleaned from the desk research. 

Contact us

Honor Mallon

Research Lead, Northern Ireland, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7841 954129

Alison Blair

Director - PwC Research, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7711 589018

Julie McClean

Head of quantitative research, PwC Research, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7738 313241

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