Feeling Crowded?

February 21, 2012 at 7:52 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Is anyone feeling crowded out there?

If your local pub, shopping centre, streets and roads are feeling a little crowded lately, it may be because the world has just ticked over to a new era. As of October 31st 2011 there are now 7 billion people sharing the Earth’s land and resources (Source: UN Population Fund). According to demographers, the earth hit 1 billion people in 1804 (how did they count?), and then it took 123 years to hit the 2 billion mark before the pace accelerated, 5 billion in 1987 and 6 billion in 1998. We all know how hard forecasts are to make, however the UN are forecasting 8 billion people on the planet by 2025.

The majority of population growth since the 1950’s has come from so called “developing nations” which is everywhere except, Europe, North America, Japan and Australia/NZ. There are obviously massive social implications of population growth including strains on energy, food prices, environmental stresses and almost 1 billion under-nourished. But let’s be self absorbed for a minute and think of the impact of this on the market and social research profession.

Will there be a greater demand for social research and polling?
Will there be more opportunities for sharing our technique expertise in other countries?
Will there be opportunities for quality and ethics information transfer?
Will there be even more data collected and needing analysis?
Will segmentations that identify key motivations and drivers exist across geographic boundaries or at all?
Will there be more or less roles for market and social researchers that can brief, design, collect, analyse, interpret and communicate impactful stories in this new era?
What challenges lie ahead of our profession in making sense of the data, big or small?

Your guess is as good as mine here however it is clear that the overarching population trends will impact marketing, consumers, citizens and therefore research. The global shifts in GDP power, technology and digitization, a more empowered consumer and escalating privacy concerns will continue to throw up challenges and we need to continue our evolution as a profession working closely both locally and keeping connected internationally.


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