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European agency managers are unprecedentedly optimistic, but less expectant regarding the market development

Since 2013 EFAMRO is measuring the sentiment in the European research industry biannually. By the end of 2018 a new wave was conducted. Research agencies, that are members of their national trade association, were asked about the business outlook from the perspective of both their own organisation and their domestic market. In this wave, respondents from 13 European countries participated.

The sample base and response rates are relatively small in some countries and the questions differ slightly (as a result of historic benchmarking). However, the results give a good indicator of the development of the European research industry, particularly when comparing the results to the results of the previous waves. The smallest samples used in the report include 7 respondents (business managers) per country. One country with just 2 respondents was not included in the report.  The overall base for the results is 287.


Optimism of business managers is continuing and on an even higher level than in the preceding waves of the EFAMRO Moodindicator. Again, in most of the countries the majority of the business owners are optimistic regarding the revenue of their agency in the year ahead (see Table 1). The average level of optimism is slightly higher than in the previous wave, Q1/Q2 2018.

Regarding the growth of revenue for their own agencies, business managers are extremely positive in Sweden, Finland, Ireland, Russia, Norway and the Netherlands.

Table 1: Business owners views on their own businesses

Research businesses in Switzerland, Spain, Italy and the UK are less optimistic compared to other countries in this wave. In Switzerland the quite negative sentiment continued during 2018.

In several countries the sentiment has somewhat changed since the last wave in early 2018. In Spain and Italy in particular the sentiment has declined.

In many other European countries the sentiment seems to have improved during 2018: in Germany, Portugal, Ireland and Russia for example.

In the UK the sentiment has slightly improved since early this year. This is quite surprising given the uncertainty related to Brexit, and it is possible that this may have subsequently weakened following very recent increased uncertainty.

In the Nordics growth expectations and optimism of businesses are at an all-time high (in the 5 years of the Moodindicator) or very close to it.

Table 2 details the results of the EFAMRO Moodincator since 2013, expressed in ‘net positive’ (meaning ‘percentage respondents expecting an increase -/- percentage expecting a decrease’).

Table 2: Net positives for business owners’ views on their own businesses


Although the managers in most countries are very optimistic regarding the outlook of their own agency, they are far less optimistic about the development of their domestic market.

Let’s hope the expectations of the managers regarding the outlook of their own agencies are more accurate than regarding the domestic market.

Jan Oostveen

About The Research Society 1080 Articles
The Research Society is the peak body for research, insights and analytics professionals in Australia. It has a diverse membership of individuals at all levels of experience and seniority within agencies, consultancies, client-side organisations, the non-profit and government sectors, support services as well as institutions and the academic community. As well as over 2,000 individual members, the Research Society has 125+ company and client partners, with the number continuing to grow. The Research Society research professionals and company partners commit to and are regulated by the Research Society Code of Professional Behaviour.

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