ESOMAR releases its annual ‘Global Top-50 Insights Companies’ ranking

Acknowledging the largest players moving the insights industry forward
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Date 19 July 2022
Author Xabier Palacio

ESOMAR released its annual Global Top-50 Insights Companies ranking. This compilation serves two purposes: to acknowledge the largest players moving the Insights Industry forward and to get a sense of the overall health of the profession in the world. It includes an expanded definition of the industry beyond its most established meaning, with companies present in the MarTech arena, consultancies, self-serve platforms, social listening, sample panel providers, or enterprise feedback management firms. 

The list places IQVIA as the largest company dedicated to the data, analytics, and insights industry. This year’s poll position has changed after Nielsen’s split into two firms, prior to its latest announcement of a merger with GfK, itself the 14th largest firm globally. The share of the Global Top-50 Insights Companies sits at 53.9%. Lightspeed, the fastest growing firm during 2021, declared an increase of 227% in turnover. This MarTech (or Digital Data Analytics) company is a witness to the fast-paced capital outpour through rounds of investment and M&As after its 2020 IPO.

The industry shows signs of good health, particularly fuelled by technological firms, the sectorial recovery experienced after the pandemic, the consolidation of players, and large levels of investment. It’s fantastic to see that the global top-50 companies grew a combined 14% in 2021, after the sluggish growth registered in 2020.

Pravin Shekar, Interim CEO of ESOMAR

Up to 40% of the turnover from the largest companies related to the MarTech sector was related to companies that had either acquired or been acquired. All in all, up to 20 of the Top-50 companies in the ranking, nearly 50% of the total turnover reported by the entire ranking, saw a degree of M&A involvement in 2021.

The Global Top-50 Insights Companies are a mix of 3 realms: 37% of the turnover is taken by 14 companies related to the established industry, 30% is taken by 17 tech-enabled companies, and 33% by reporting companies.

The swift adoption of technological tools caused the industry to transition to alternative business models. While initially research, data collection, and project scope were the drivers of pricing, it has now transitioned to the specific tools that allow the emergence of insights, also referred to as SaaS, or the availability to crunch large datasets, known as DaaS. The industry is changing in such a fundamental way that it is creating unanticipated opportunities for corporate profitability. This is already reflected in this year’s ranking.

Xabier Palacio, Senior Industry Analyst

Xabier Palacio
ESOMAR Staff, Head of Intelligence, Standards and Advocacy at ESOMAR