Menu
Menu
Tel: +61 2 95663100 | Contact

About the Market & Social Research Industry

General information on market and social research:

For more information go to www.rica.com.au

Market and social research provides accurate and timely information on the needs, attitudes and motivations of a population:
It plays a vital social role, assisting governments and businesses to develop services, policies, and products that are responsive to an identified need.

It contributes to Australia’s economic wellbeing, by ensuring that organisational responses to these needs are relevant and properly targeted.

Consumers of market and social research include State and Federal government agencies, companies and non-government organisations – in fact, any organisation that needs to better understand the community, trends of any kind or its own customers will use research.

Research projects educate the response of decision makers to a range of important issues, including planning for major transport and infrastructure projects, responses to climate change, taxation policy and many other areas.
Market and social research is not marketing and cannot be used to “push” a product or service:

Under the Trade Practices Act and the Privacy Act, it is illegal to pretend to be doing market or social research if the real purpose of the call is to sell something.

The market and social research industry operates under strict, government-approved codes of conduct that ensure ethical behaviour and professional standards are upheld. Complaints can be investigated and sanctions applied by AMSRO and AMSRS.

About the industry

Q: How much is the research industry worth in Australia?

  • The critical decisions of governments and business in this country rely on the Australian market and social research industry being able to gather statistically valid, representative, samples from the population.
  • Market and social research provides information on the needs, attitudes and motivations of a population.
  • It plays a vital role in assisting governments and businesses develop policies that respond to community sentiment and opinion by polling representative samples.
  • The size of the total industry in Australia for 2008 is AUD $799.5 million. It employs more than 10,000 full time equivalents in Australia, including 4,100 full time professionals.
  • The Australian Government is the biggest client of market and social research.

Q: What are the biggest threats facing the industry?

  • Mobile phone calling
  • Current restrictions on calling mobiles are an impediment to collecting representative data.
  • In June 2006, 82 per cent of persons aged 14 years and over in Australia used a mobile phone (according to ABS). Note that between 10-15 per cent of households in Australia may be mobile phone-only households (more when you include households that have a landline but only use mobiles). This figure will only increase as mobile-usage rates increase.
  • The trend for people to favour mobile phones over landlines means legislation is not geared to keep pace with technological and demographic change.
  • Falling response rates
  • The spread of social media and the use of online research methodologies provide opportunities for the industry but also represent potential threats if mis-used and is an area that we are monitoring closely

The organisation and its role

Q: Why has RICA been set up?

  • RICA has been set up to become a single brand and external voice for the market and social research industry in Australia

A: RICA has been set up to communicate to:

  • The business and government client community
  • Government and regulatory bodies
  • Students/potential employees and academics
  • The media
  • The general public

Q: What regulations are there in the industry?

  • The Australian market and social research industry has an effective regime of self-regulation underpinned by a range of individual and company standards.
  • Individual standards (AMSRS) include:

    • The AMSRS Code of Professional Behaviour.
    • The Qualified Practicing Market Researcher scheme (QPMR).
    • Company standards (AMSRO) include:
    • The Australian Standard for Market, Opinion and Social Research (AS ISO 20252-2007).
    • The Quality Standard for Online Access Panels (QSOAP).
    • Market & Social Research Privacy Principles (M&SRPPs), an approved industry code under the Privacy Act (C’wth).
  • AMSRO and AMSRS require that members comply with relevant codes and standards as a condition of membership. Non-compliance results in withdrawal of membership and severely limits the ability to work, especially for government.
  • We are committed to upholding our codes and standards and our track record is one of working closely with the Government and regulators to ensure that industry adheres to the relevant law, guidelines and industry standards.

Q: Is self-regulation strong enough?

  • AMSRO and AMSRS require that members comply with relevant codes and standards as a condition of membership. Non-compliance results in withdrawal of membership and severely limits the ability to work, especially for government.
  • We are committed to upholding our codes and standards and our track record is one of working closely with the Government and regulators to ensure that industry adheres to the relevant law, guidelines and industry standards.
  • Since 31 May 2007, 169 out of a total of 32,756 complaints were forwarded to ACMA regarding calls from companies possibly identified as market researchers. This represents 0.5 per cent. We believe that the vast majority of these 169 cases did not in fact involve any breach of the Standard.

Q: What new trends are evolving in the industry?

  • Mobile phone calling
  • Collecting data via SMS
  • Collecting data through the use of social media