My colleague Reineke Reitsma and I have been championing mobile market research for quite some time. In fact, we published the first Forrester report on this emerging and innovative methodology back in 2009. In the report, Reineke wrote about the value of its mobility and flexibility to gather insights into consumers’ behavior anytime and anywhere. And for mainstream adoption to occur, hurdles such as cost, technology, privacy, and representation must be addressed.

At that time, I thought the growth of mobile market research was soon upon us. I was off by about 2 years. But 2011 was a turning point for mobile market research. We started 2011 with seeing the number of global shipments of smartphones and tablets surpassing the global shipment of desktop and notebook PCs. Blog posts and Twitter chatter under the #mobilemr hashtag increased significantly. In July 2011 there was the first formal debate about the merits of this new technology. And also in July there was a conference completely dedicated to how early adopters have leveraged mobile market research.

In our 2012 market research predictions report, we predict that mobile research will start to show uptake within the market research community. And it’s not another false promise. Let me share our thinking behind this prediction with you. In 2012, I think we will see the following things occur for mobile market research:

  • Discussions surrounding mobile market research will shift away from whether we should embark on mobile market research to which is the “right” mobile methodology to apply.
  • More M&As similar to Confirmit acquiring Techneos in September 2011 will occur to further enhance a vendor’s overall EFM offering.
  • Device-agnostic research will become a buzz term in 2012. And vendors will ensure their technology offerings are able to discern which device a respondent is using to access a survey.
  • Experimentation beyond “basic” mobile surveys will increase. We will see client-side researchers begin to leverage other techniques such as passive mobile tracking, mobile MROCs, mobile ethnography, and location analytics.

For a while, it was thought “[insert year] will be the year of mobile”. Finally, this statement is no longer a joke among market researchers. I believe 2012 is the year of mobile. And it will be a fun ride talking and seeing how this emerging methodology takes shape.

What do you think? Are there predictions you would add to the list?