Market research took a different turn and approach last year during the COVID-19 pandemic. The way in which businesses had conducted market research until now had to be changed and adapted to an entirely new situation with everyone becoming reliant on digital tools. A health crisis like this, with social distancing restrictions and lockdowns being enforced throughout the world, has disrupted the lives of people and companies’ business operations. For this reason, everyone was forced to adjust accordingly.
For business, this meant dealing with clients and conducting market research through an all-virtual approach. Apart from this, companies had to avoid certain aspects when it was required to social distance. For instance, large-scale estimations were no longer relevant given the fact that consumer behaviours were more prone to changing faster. On a similar note, products that didn’t match consumer demands at a time had to be left on hold.
When it comes to the financial market, this was also heavily disrupted during the pandemic. Market research conducted during the pandemic was utterly different to what financial markets had witnessed so far, as the economy was more fragile than ever. Worldwide economies have been affected as a consequence of a health crisis of the scale of this one.
Now that businesses have begun resuming their practices, their tactics are changing yet again. For the financial sector, this means a hybrid approach. Here’s what this means:
The virtual method meets the offline
When companies shifted their business operation to the online environment, this meant that every aspect of the business and activity within the value chain had to be conducted virtually. With the help of digital communication tools, software programs to facilitate business activities and new technologies to enhance supply chain management, many companies managed to keep working.
For the financial sector, this meant meeting with clients, supporting investors and conducting market and equity research through virtual connectivity. Although extremely challenging, financial companies managed to keep their activities through this method. What’s more, the relationships and interactions with their clients improved, given that it was the only way of conducting business. Now, the hybrid approach means a combination of methods: virtual and in-person meetings.
Equity research is the study of the financial situation of a business and an analysis of the industry needed to make an informed investment decision. Equity and market research analysts are now adopting this hybrid approach. Their analysts will be able to go back to the office, as personal interaction is crucial for client relationships while also keeping the remote working strategy in place, given the fragility of the situation due to the pandemic.
Why market research is crucial for the financial sector
The financial sector has many things at stake, given that it deals with money transactions and it manages economies. For this reason, market research is of the utmost importance. With thorough and frequent market research, financial providers are able to make informed decisions in terms of financial strategies. Market research analysts are vital for any financial provider as they can identify and analyse trends and new consumer behaviours. They can forecast the future demand and needs of their customers.
This type of information can maximise the profit of a business and help organisations better understand their customers’ needs, so the importance of market research in finance should not be underestimated or overlooked. Based on this, financial providers can tailor their services. Some of the most researched markets within the financial sector are as follows:
- Savings accounts;
- Personal loans and credit cards;
- Investments and business banking;
The fact that saving accounts and personal loans are among the most researched areas shows that the consumers’ behaviour changed during the coronavirus pandemic. People become less sure about the financial situation, both personal and in the world, so they are looking into ways of getting that certainty back. Business investments are also relevant, although entrepreneurs are going into the business industry with more scepticism. This goes to show how crucial market research is in the financial sector.
The future of market research beyond 2021
Businesses were forced to respond to an unprecedented circumstance created by a pandemic in the best way possible, so their strategy mainly consisted of cutting back expenses to the best of their ability. This generally meant prioritising differently. The market research department was among the ones which saw a significant reduction in financing. A consequence of the pandemic generated general shock and uncertainty, which meant consumers’ behaviour changed, and their usual demands became irrelevant. Doing more with less was the new strategy for many companies, including financial providers, as they still needed to research constantly changing trends and habits.
More than a year into the pandemic and after the initial shock, companies are trying to go back to normality or adjust it to hybrid models. In 2021 and beyond, the future of market research doesn’t look like anything from the pre-pandemic world. Apart from technology being a predominant and indispensable aspect for market research, the uncertainty of the current times is very much at the core of the new approach. This means that researchers and analysts are still working to comprehend the impact of the 2020’s events.
Therefore, future plans include working on understanding how much markets and consumers’ behaviours truly changed and what new tactics and strategies are needed. The future of market research will mean a more holistic approach: a combination of technologies and highly skilled research analysts to generate results at a faster speed.
The role of technology in market research
As mentioned earlier, technology will play an extremely significant role in market research in the financial sector and other industries from 2021. This is necessary because companies need to generate research results faster than ever, and technology is the most effective way of accomplishing this. What’s more, company budgets haven’t increased too much, but the volume of market research needed and the need to understand new trends are significantly increasing.
For this reason, technology can help businesses acquire the needed information much faster and keep up with demand. Apart from the fact that technology is vital for remote working in staying in touch with partners, clients and members of the same business through communication tools, it is also the best method for market researchers to bring data together from various sources.