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Presenting The Top 150 Global Companies In Market Research! Kinda…

Lenny Murphy compiles his own list of the top 150 market research companies in the world, explaining why it's both right and wrong at the same time and why that needs to change for the industry to thrive.

We at GreenBook are proud to present our first Global 150 Research List!

Before we dive into the list though, first a disclaimer:

The list below is wrong.

But it’s mostly right as well.

Sorta. But not really. Maybe…

Confused? Yeah, so was I, for years now. That is why I undertook this exercise, because not only are our industry definitions all over the place, but getting a solid read on company performance to evaluate how the industry is doing (whatever your definition!) is challenging.

I am a huge fan of the iconic  AMA Gold Top 50 Report (formerly the Honomichl Report) and the variation of it used in the ESOMAR Global Market Research Report, MRS ResearchLIVE Report, and RFL Communication’s Global Top 50 Research Organizations report. All give a unique perspective on the industry that is valuable and I applaud the work that these organizations put into them.

These reports have evolved over the years to encompass an ever-expanding definition of what constitutes market research, but have left some critical gaps by not including sample companies, technology platforms, and organizations such as Google, Facebook, Equifax, etc… companies that fit within other categories but yet have active research divisions that are players in the market. So although incredibly useful and important, I think they are incomplete views of the industry, and that is a significant issue.

Here is why: for many years the need for data-driven insights has generated adjacent categories to research that have very different business models to MR, and very different capital structures. Business Intelligence, EFM, CX, Big Data, AI, Analytics, Data Visualization, Biometrics, Web Analytics, Social Media Analytics, etc… are all examples of defined categories that are largely based on the fundamentals of market research, and all claim “insights” as one of their primary use cases. All also have very different valuation formulas for their businesses and access to capital vs. traditional MR. In many cases, companies that should rightfully just be considered research companies (Qualtrics and SurveyMonkey come to mind) bend over backward and twist themselves in messaging knots to avoid being considered research companies and position themselves as much sexier “Enterprise Feedback Management platforms” or ” consumer intelligence data platforms”.  And no wonder; those two companies alone have a combined market cap of around $4 Billion! Similar companies that have embraced the market research categorization and have great financial fundamentals can’t claim the same.

The crux of the issue is this: if we cannot develop a comprehensive view of the value of our industry, how can we convince the rest of the world of our value? Clients, investors, VC firms, Private Equity groups, strategic acquirers, even prospective employees use industry reports and rankings to validate their decisions to engage with companies. We as an industry have a very hard time delivering on this for a variety of reasons, but we need to get a lot better at it quickly.

I make a big part of my living advising the stakeholders I just listed on this space and helping to identify companies to work with, and even I, perhaps one of the most well-connected individuals in our industry, struggle to define the category and identify companies that are attractive to engage with based on their financial performance. The needed info is often very hard to come by.

These reports are not exercises in collective navel-gazing or bragging rights: they are vital information resources that play a critical role in facilitating the growth of the industry.

At IIeX in Atlanta Simon Chadwick presented his view on the structure of the industry as well as an analysis of the flow of capital related to the industry. It’s a great piece of work and helps to underline the challenges MR has in redefining itself (and the companies in it) in order to be better positioned for growth.



As an industry, we could far worse than adapting Simon’s structure as the basis for analyzing the industry. In fact, I hereby challenge ESOMAR, the MRS, Insights Association, the AMA Gold Report and RFL to use this model for all future reviews of the industry and in developing industry company rankings.

We need a consistent view definition of the industry and a consistent means of evaluating the companies in it that not only is comprehensive but also can support the argument that the research industry is the core of all marketing insights-related categories and the companies that participate in it deserve serious attention as growth opportunities.

And that brings us back to the list below. As mostly an exercise in information curation, I combined all of the most recent reports from the four sources above and then added my own list of companies that I thought needed to be included, primarily sample providers, data collection technology companies, and various research suppliers that I suspected were large enough to fit.

In my seemingly contradictory opening for this piece I said it was both right and wrong. Kind of. Here is why. I’m quite sure it’s missing companies that should be on there, especially at the lower levels. In some cases, the revenue for these companies was estimated when I couldn’t find an accurate source.  I did not include all of the companies that Simon listed simply out of time constraints, but it’s an aspiration of mine for the future to perhaps re-work this list with that goal in mind. If and when I do so, it will look VERY different than the one below.

The total annual sales revenue attributed to the company is based on several sources, usually the original report I combined. For those that I added, some sales revenue data is directly pulled from financial statements or other filings (actual data), while other data is estimated or modeled based on a host of sources.

Similar to the model used in the GRIT 50 Most Innovative Companies, we have rolled up branches, subsidiaries, divisions, etc.. into the parent company, while also attempting as best we could to only consider revenue from “marketing intelligence”  operations, which generally meant the revenue came from a few key activities:

  • Access to consumers for research purposes
  • Data collection services and/or technology (quant, qual, behavioral, and syndicated)
  • Data Analysis and Reporting
  • Insights-based consulting or advisory work

If you are the CEO of a company that looks at this and says “Hey, my company is $20M, why am I not listed!” hold your righteous indignation: the reason is that neither I nor the original report authors I built off of, knew that information. Update your Hoovers, Techcrunch, CB Insights, Owler, or even LinkedIn profiles or better yet join one of the relevant trade associations and disclose that info when asked. Transparency is the key to efforts like this.

Finally, I can’t iterate enough this is an intellectual exercise more than anything. While “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” is true here for sure and I think the revenue is pretty close even when estimated, there is much room to argue specifics and it is not complete. It is only as complete as the knowledge of myself and the authors of the four reports I based it on.

However, that said I do believe it is the most comprehensive view of the players that make up the research industry as loosely defined today.

Now, without further ado, here is my take on the Top 150 companies in Market Research. Congratulations to all the companies listed and take pride in the fact that your company is kicking butts and taking names!


Rank Company 2016 Revenues ($Mil)
1 Optum $7,333,000,000
2 Nielsen $6,309,000,000
3 Video Research Ltd. $6,288,000,000
4 Equifax $3,985,740,000
5 Kantar $3,847,000,000
6 QuintilesIMS $3,301,000,000
7 Ipsos $1,972,800,000
8 Gartner $1,829,700,000
9 GfK $1,677,200,000
10 Verisk Analytics $1,270,900,000
11 IRI $1,026,700,000
12 Acxiom Corp. $880,000,000
13 Tableau Software $826,900,000
14 Experian Consumer insight $563,000,000
15 Westat, Inc. $512,000,000
16 Rocket Fuel $456,900,000
17 Wood Mackenzie $442,800,000
18 Dunnhumby $429,000,000
19 Intage Holdings $419,200,000
20 Harte-Hanks Marketing $404,400,000
21 iDC $400,000,000
22 Informa Financial Intelligence $393,000,000
23 NPD Group $341,000,000
24 J.D. Power $340,000,000
25 comScore $339,800,000
26 Macromill $300,000,000
27 Simon-Kucher & Partners $266,700,000
28 Qualtrics $250,000,000
29 Gallup $249,200,000
30 Research Now Group, Inc $238,100,000
31 ICF International $224,000,000
32 Information Services Group $216,500,000
33 Forrester Research $214,500,000
34 SurveyMonkey $200,000,000
35 Toluna $194,400,000
36 DRG (Decision Resources Group) $178,000,000
37 MaritzCX $170,000,000
38 Survey Sampling International $167,900,000
39 Abt SRBI $147,200,000
40 LRW (Lieberman Research Worldwide) $144,400,000
41 GlobalData Plc $135,500,000
42 YouGov $130,000,000
43 Leger $120,000,000
44 Mediametrie $118,800,000
45 ORC International $118,500,000
46 Creston $117,200,000
47 National Research Corp $109,400,000
48 FocusVision $102,000,000
49 PRS IN VIVO $97,000,000
50 NRC health $96,000,000
51 Cello health $95,100,000
52 Teradata UK $90,906,000
53 Euromonitor $88,356,000
54 Confirmit $88,000,000
55 Vision Critical $84,700,000
56 C Space $83,400,000
57 Mintel Group $82,974,000
58 Google Analytics 360 $80,412,750
59 Blueocean Market Intelligence $80,400,000
60 Burke, Inc. $80,000,000
61 Periscope by McKinsey $80,000,000
62 Ebiquity $73,874,000
63 Schlesinger Associates $73,200,000
64 Medallia $70,000,000
65 Convergys Analytics $67,400,000
66 Market Strategies International $65,400,000
67 MarketCast $61,300,000
68 Morpace, Inc. $60,400,000
69 Nepa AB $56,600,000
70 Market Force $55,000,000
71 Service Management Group (SMG) $53,300,000
72 Idea Couture $52,000,000
73 LRA by Deloitte $46,800,000
74 Focus Pointe Global $46,200,000
75 Directions Research $45,000,000
76 Precise Media Monitoring $44,012,000
77 Hanover Research $40,900,000
78 MARU / Matchbox $40,400,000
79 Environics $40,200,000
80 De La Riva Group $40,000,000
81 SKIM $39,600,000
82 Phoenix Marketing International $36,200,000
83 MarketVision Research $35,000,000
84 Radius Global Market Research $33,600,000
85 Simmons Research $33,300,000
86 NatCen $32,933,000
87 Brainjuicer $32,800,000
88 Kelton $32,800,000
89 Fors Marsh Group $31,100,000
90 Provokers $30,500,000
91 Isobar Marketing Intelligence $30,000,000
92 Insites Consulting $30,000,000
93 Hall & Partners $29,500,000
94 SSRS $28,600,000
95 Decision Analyst $28,200,000
96 Twitter $28,100,000
97 Double Helix $28,000,000
98 The Link Group $28,000,000
99 Flamingo Research $26,148,000
100 MMR Research Worldwide $25,980,000
101 Zappistore $25,000,000
102 20/20 Research $24,600,000
103 Forethought Research $24,000,000
104 Gongos $23,200,000
105 Stylus $23,000,000
106 Acturus $22,700,000
107 Lucid $22,000,000
108 The Research Partnership $21,814,000
109 NAXIoN $21,800,000
110 KS&R $20,500,000
111 QuestionPro $20,000,000
112 Bellomy Research $19,800,000
113 Chadwick Martin Bailey $18,800,000
114 Illuminas $18,300,000
115 Frost & Sullivan $18,280,000
116 Hypothesis Group $17,700,000
117 Future Thinking $17,416,000
118 RTi Research $17,000,000
119 Azure Knowledge $16,000,000
120 Cint $16,000,000
121 Luth $16,000,000
122 Netbase $16,000,000
123 WorldOne Research $15,500,000
124 Hay Group Insight $15,050,000
125 Amazon Mechanical Turk $15,000,000
126 Hotspex Inc $15,000,000
127 Populus group $13,489,000
128 BDRC Continental $13,302,000
129 Defaqto $13,190,000
130 SurveyGizmo $13,000,000
131 Eolas International $13,000,000
132 Incite Marketing Planning $12,926,000
133 Markit Economics $12,445,000
134 Adelphi international Research $12,100,000
135 Q Research Solutions $12,000,000
136 Datamonitor $11,653,000
137 InCrowd Inc $11,400,000
138 Firefish $11,237,000
139 Realeyes $11,000,000
140 MSW ARS $11,000,000
141 Business Research group $10,974,000
142 Avention UK $10,788,000
143 Quadrangle $10,678,000
144 Marketing sciences Unlimited $10,618,000
145 Strategy Analytics $10,387,000
146 Brandtrust $10,200,000
147 iCM Research Unlimited $9,963,000
148 2CV $9,865,000
149 The Planning shop international $9,633,000
150 Ameritest $9,200,000

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17 responses to “Presenting The Top 150 Global Companies In Market Research! Kinda…

  1. Hi,

    I’m Managing Partner at Hypothesis (#116). $17.7 was our 2016 revenue. Not sure why Hypothesis Group (#135) is also on the list. I don’t believe it’s really a different company.

  2. Hi Lenny, Thank you for your challenge to make it. Just FYI on the 2016 sales of listed Japanese research companies through the WEB: 1. Intage $414,066,000, 2. Macromill $323,325,000, 3. Video Research (not listed) $190,237,000, 4. Cross Marketing $145,385,000, 5. GMO Research $27,127,000 (USD=JPY109.84 Yearly- Average TTS)

  3. I thought this was extremely well written and I enjoyed reading it very much. what could otherwise have been a dry topic, your humor and insight made a fascinating read.
    Thank you Lenny! Dave

  4. Hi Lenny,
    just wanted to check why you didn’t feature IHS-Markit in this list..its a multi billion dollar public international company. Also wondering why did you leave out CB Insights from the list. They offer more than just databases. Also quickly checking what’s your source of information on the revenue of each of these firms?

    1. As I said in this list, it is incomplete because the definition of who belongs is constantly changing. As we look at revamping for 2018, we’ll make sure to check them both out. BTW, I LOVE CB Insights; their daily newsletter is one of the few emails I look forward to every day! Revenue is a mix of public sources or, if data is not available, estimates based on industry norms by company type and location.

  5. Hello Leonard,
    Thank you very much for this list. I work for a group international investors that need direction as they consider a senior community in Puerto Vallarta. Can you suggest which company or companies we should hire are a market analysis?

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