Data Collection Prices in Market Research: A Crucial Dilemma

September 26, 2023 Author:

In the early years of online research, data collection prices were high. However, in recent years, prices have plummeted due to increased competition and the emergence of specialized marketplaces.

From a business perspective, the decline in data collection prices may seem like an advantage for market research companies and big brands looking to reduce their costs. But it is a double-edged sword. The emergence of new technologies like artificial intelligence may accelerate the decline in data collection prices but increases the possibility of fraud.

Cost vs. Price of Data Collection Tools

The cost of conducting an online survey includes various factors, such as human resources to hire and manage the staff to operate the data collection tools and mine its insights, fixed costs, and most importantly, incentives for participants. The size and complexity of projects also impact pricing, as does the data collection method. So, how can the market research industry deal with the pressure to reduce costs in the current environment without negatively impacting data quality?

Perhaps it’s a matter of perspective. Many researchers are considering investing in emerging technologies like artificial intelligence because of the potential efficiencies. As language models learn how to design questionnaires and program surveys, researchers can produce error-free online surveys faster at lower costs, which could improve client satisfaction. While some jobs may be eliminated, adopting AI could open up opportunities for upskilling within the organization.

Incentives, on the other hand, are not likely to reduce further and are essential to market research. While some argue that too much incentivization can bias responses, it is important to remember that these individuals are dedicating their valuable time to complete surveys that often take more than 20 minutes. It is only fair to compensate them for their time and effort. Well-designed incentives can attract a diverse and representative group of panelists, which can improve the quality and reliability of survey data.


Researchers should keep an open mind to the changes in the market research industry and play an active role in shaping its future. Just as the Model T revolutionized manufacturing, AI will play a pivotal role in transforming our work environments. Innovation frequently drives down the costs of goods and services while compelling us to explore new avenues for profitability and value creation. However, AI cannot replace human experience, and incentivizing participants remains a necessary investment that the industry cannot afford to forgo in the pursuit of cost savings. Ultimately, the decline in data collection prices will remain a concern for the market research industry, but it is also an opportunity to develop new and innovative ways to conduct research.