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Title The use of online data-collection in financial services market measurement research : the FRS experience
Year 2009
Access date 20.08.2009
Abstract

Accurate measurement of any market requires knowledge and skill, but the financial services market presents a number of additional challenges. The lack of consumer engagement with the sector, the perceived sensitivity of the questions plus the major commercial value of single-source data, (that is recording the details of all the financial products held by an individual respondent), mean that interviews are long, complex and difficult to secure.

GfK has been running the British Financial Research Survey (FRS) for over 30 years, based on a representative sample of 60,000 interviews a year. In all that time data-collection has been face-to-face. However, the increasing difficulty and costs of field interviewing led us and our clients to question whether the FRS could not be migrated to an online methodology, as so many other tracking programmes had been.

Our conclusion from a major two year R & D programme was that it is simply impossible to represent retail financial services markets with a wholly online solution. Indeed, doing so will produce highly misleading measures not just of channel usage, but also brand share, product penetration and new business levels. This is due to the very different financial behaviour of those who participate in online surveys, compared not just to the population as a whole, but also to other less intensive internet users. Our work has highlighted why and how the financial behaviour of online and offline audiences differ and is of direct relevance to anyone working in the financial services sector. We have found that our new methodology for the FRS produces market estimates that are not only economically sustainable but also closer to clients’ internal data estimates.

We also believe that our innovative multi-modal approach, based on the intensity of online use, provides valuable learnings for anyone considering the migration of any market measurement study away from an offline methodology. In particular, it shows how researchers can combine, in a single study, the broad representativeness of face-to-face with the cost-efficiency and access to minority populations available via online, something which we call the ‘yin and yang of market measurement’.

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Year of publication2009
Bibliographic typeConferences, workshops, tutorials, presentations
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