Market Research Analysts

Summary

market research analysts image
Market research analysts prepare and discuss reports on their findings.
Quick Facts: Market Research Analysts
2012 Median Pay $60,300 per year
$28.99 per hour
Entry-Level Education Bachelor’s degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2012 415,700
Job Outlook, 2012-22 32% (Much faster than average)
Employment Change, 2012-22 131,500

What Market Research Analysts Do

Market research analysts study market conditions to examine potential sales of a product or service. They help companies understand what products people want, who will buy them, and at what price.

Work Environment

Because most industries use market research, these analysts are employed throughout the economy. Most analysts work full time during regular business hours. Some work under pressure of deadlines and tight schedules.

How to Become a Market Research Analyst

Most market research analysts need at least a bachelor’s degree. Top research positions often require a master’s degree. Strong math and analytical skills are essential.

Pay

The median annual wage for market research analysts was $60,300 in May 2012.

Job Outlook

Employment of market research analysts is projected to grow 32 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will be driven by an increased use of data and market research across all industries, to understand the needs and wants of customers, and to measure the effectiveness of marketing and business strategies.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of market research analysts with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about market research analysts by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Market Research Analysts Do About this section

Market research analysts
Market research analysts gather and analyze data on consumers and competitors.

Market research analysts study market conditions to examine potential sales of a product or service. They help companies understand what products people want, who will buy them, and at what price.                        

Duties

Market research analysts typically do the following:

  • Monitor and forecast marketing and sales trends
  • Measure the effectiveness of marketing programs and strategies
  • Devise and evaluate methods for collecting data, such as surveys, questionnaires, and opinion polls
  • Gather data about consumers, competitors, and market conditions
  • Analyze data using statistical software
  • Convert complex data and findings into understandable tables, graphs, and written reports
  • Prepare reports and present results to clients and management

Market research analysts perform research and gather data to help a company market its products or services. They gather data on consumer demographics, preferences, needs, and buying habits. They collect data and information using a variety of methods, such as interviews, questionnaires, focus groups, market analysis surveys, public opinion polls, and literature reviews.

Analysts help determine a company’s position in the marketplace by researching their competitors and analyzing their prices, sales, and marketing methods. Using this information, they may determine potential markets, product demand, and pricing. Their knowledge of the targeted consumer enables them to develop advertising brochures and commercials, sales plans, and product promotions. 

Market research analysts evaluate data using statistical techniques and software. They must interpret what the data means for their client, and they may forecast future trends. They often make charts, graphs, and other visual aids to present the results of their research. 

Workers who design and conduct surveys are known as survey researchers.

Work Environment About this section

Market research analysts
Market research analysts may give presentations to clients.

Market research analysts held about 415,700 jobs in 2012. Because most industries use market research, these analysts are employed throughout the economy. 

The industries employing the most market research analysts in 2012 were as follows:

Finance and insurance10%
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services10
Wholesale trade9
Management of companies and enterprises9
Manufacturing8

Some market research analysts research trends for the company for which they work. Others work for consulting firms that do market research for many different clients.

Those who hold full-time jobs in government, business, or teaching also may consult on a part-time basis.

Market research analysts generally work alone at a computer, collecting and analyzing data and preparing reports. Some, however, work directly with the public to collect information and data. 

Work Schedules

Most market research analysts work full time during regular business hours. Some, however, work under pressure of deadlines and tight schedules, which may require longer hours.

How to Become a Market Research Analyst About this section

Market research analysts
Market research analysts measure the effectiveness of marketing strategies.

Most market research analysts need at least a bachelor’s degree. Top research positions often require a master’s degree. Strong math and analytical skills are essential.         

Education

Market research analysts typically need a bachelor’s degree in market research or a related field. Many have degrees in fields such as statistics, math, and computer science. Others have backgrounds in business administration, the social sciences, or communications.

Courses in statistics, research methods, and marketing are essential for these workers. Courses in communications and social sciences, such as economics, psychology, and sociology, are also important.

Some market research analyst jobs require a master’s degree. Several schools offer graduate programs in marketing research, but many analysts complete degrees in other fields, such as statistics and marketing, and/or earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA). A master’s degree is often required for leadership positions or positions that perform more technical research.   

Other Experience

Most market research analysts can benefit from internships or work experience in business, marketing, or sales. Work experience in other positions that require analyzing data, writing reports, or surveying or collecting data can also be helpful in finding a market research position. 

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Certification is voluntary, but analysts may pursue certification to demonstrate a level of professional competency. The Marketing Research Association offers the Professional Researcher Certification (PRC) for market research analysts. Candidates qualify based on experience and knowledge; they must pass an exam, be a member of a professional organization, and have at least 3 years working in opinion and marketing research.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Market research analysts must be able to understand large amounts of data and information. 

Communication skills. Market research analysts need strong communication skills when gathering information, interpreting data, and presenting results to clients. 

Critical-thinking skills. Market research analysts must assess all available information to determine what marketing strategy would work best for a company.

Detail oriented. Market research analysts must be detail oriented because they often do precise data analysis.

Pay About this section

Market Research Analysts

Median annual wages, May 2012

Business operations specialists

$62,230

Market research analysts

$60,300

Total, all occupations

$34,750

 

The median annual wage for market research analysts was $60,300 in May 2012. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $33,280, and the top 10 percent earned more than $113,500. 

In May 2012, the median annual wages for market research analysts in the top five industries in which these analysts worked were as follows:

Manufacturing$67,550
Management of companies and enterprises67,330
Finance and insurance64,490
Wholesale trade60,200
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services56,760

Most market research analysts work full time during regular business hours. Some, however, work under pressure of deadlines and tight schedules, which may require long hours.

Job Outlook About this section

Market Research Analysts

Percent change in employment, projected 2012-22

Market research analysts

32%

Business operations specialists

13%

Total, all occupations

11%

 

Employment of market research analysts is projected to grow 32 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Employment growth will be driven by an increased use of data and market research across all industries—to understand the needs and wants of customers and to measure the effectiveness of marketing and business strategies.

Companies increasingly use research on consumer behavior to develop improved marketing strategies. By doing so, companies are better able to market directly to their target population. In addition, market research provides companies and organizations with an opportunity to cut costs. 

Market research also lets companies monitor customer satisfaction and gather feedback about how to improve products or services, allowing companies to build an advantage over their competitors. They may use research to decide the location of stores, placement of products, and services offered. As more companies use research to develop marketing strategies, competing companies will likely engage in similar market research. 

Job Prospects

Overall job prospects for market research analysts are expected to be good. Rapid employment growth in most industries means good job opportunities should be available. 

Job prospects should be best for those with a master’s degree in market research, marketing, statistics, or business administration. Candidates with a bachelor’s degree are expected to face strong competition for jobs.

Those with a strong background in statistical and data analysis or related work experience will have better job opportunities than those without it.

Employment projections data for market research analysts, 2012-22
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2012 Projected Employment, 2022 Change, 2012-22 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Market research analysts and marketing specialists

13-1161 415,700 547,200 32 131,500 [XLS]

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of market research analysts.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help 2012 MEDIAN PAY Help
Cost estimators

Cost Estimators

Cost estimators collect and analyze data in order to estimate the time, money, materials, and labor required to manufacture a product, construct a building, or provide a service. They generally specialize in a particular industry or type of product.

Bachelor’s degree $58,860
Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers

Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers

Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers plan programs to generate interest in a product or service. They work with art directors, sales agents, and financial staff members.

Bachelor’s degree $115,750
Operations research analysts

Operations Research Analysts

Operations research analysts use advanced mathematical and analytical methods to help organizations investigate complex issues, identify and solve problems, and make better decisions.

Bachelor’s degree $72,100
Statisticians

Statisticians

Statisticians use statistical methods to collect and analyze data and help solve real-world problems in business, engineering, the sciences, or other fields.

Master’s degree $75,560
Economists

Economists

Economists study the production and distribution of resources, goods, and services by collecting and analyzing data, researching trends, and evaluating economic issues.

Master’s degree $91,860
Survey researchers

Survey Researchers

Survey researchers design surveys and analyze data. Surveys are used to collect factual data, such as employment and salary information, or to ask questions in order to understand people’s opinions, preferences, beliefs, or desires.

Master’s degree $45,050
public relations specialists image

Public Relations Specialists

Public relations specialists create and maintain a favorable public image for the organization they represent. They design media releases to shape public perception of their organization and to increase awareness of its work and goals.

Bachelor’s degree $54,170
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Market Research Analysts,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/market-research-analysts.htm (visited October 21, 2014).

Publish Date: Wednesday, January 8, 2014