Market Research Analysts

Career, Salary and Education Information

What Market Research Analysts Do[About this section] [To Top]

Market research analysts study market conditions to examine potential sales of a product or service. They help companies understand what products people want, who will buy them, and at what price.

Duties of Market Research Analysts

Market research analysts typically do the following:

  • Monitor and forecast marketing and sales trends
  • Measure the effectiveness of marketing programs and strategies
  • Devise and evaluate methods for collecting data, such as surveys, questionnaires, and opinion polls
  • Gather data on consumers, competitors, and market conditions
  • Analyze data using statistical software
  • Convert complex data and findings into understandable tables, graphs, and written reports
  • Prepare reports and present results to clients and management

Market research analysts research and gather data to help a company market its products or services. They gather data on consumer demographics, preferences, needs, and buying habits. They collect data and information using a variety of methods, such as interviews, questionnaires, focus groups, market analysis surveys, public opinion polls, and literature reviews.

Analysts help determine a company's position in the marketplace by researching their competitors and analyzing their prices, sales, and marketing methods. Using this information, they may determine potential markets, product demand, and pricing. Their knowledge of the targeted consumer enables them to develop advertising brochures and commercials, sales plans, and product promotions.

Market research analysts evaluate data using statistical techniques and software. They must interpret what the data mean for their client, and they may forecast future trends. They often make charts, graphs, infographics, and other visual aids to present the results of their research.

Workers who design and conduct surveys are known as survey researchers.

Work Environment for Market Research Analysts[About this section] [To Top]

Market research analysts hold about 595,400 jobs. The largest employers of market research analysts are as follows:

Management, scientific, and technical consulting services 12%
Finance and insurance 10
Wholesale trade 9
Management of companies and enterprises 8
Publishing industries (except Internet) 3

Because most industries use market research, these analysts are employed throughout the economy.

Market research analysts can work individually or as part of a team, collecting, analyzing, and presenting data. For example, some analysts may work with graphic designers and artists to create charts, graphs, and infographics summarizing the research and findings.

Market Research Analyst Work Schedules

Most market research analysts work full time during regular business hours. Some, however, work under pressure of deadlines and tight schedules, which may require additional hours of work.

How to Become a Market Research Analyst[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Market Research Analysts near you!

Most market research analysts need at least a bachelor's degree. Some research positions may require a master's degree. Strong math and analytical skills are essential.

Education for Market Research Analysts

Market research analysts typically need a bachelor's degree in market research or a related field. Many have degrees in fields such as statistics, math, or computer science. Others have backgrounds in business administration, the social sciences, or communications.

Courses in statistics, research methods, and marketing are essential for these workers. Courses in communications and social sciences, such as economics or consumer behavior, are also important.

Some market research analyst jobs require a master's degree. Several schools offer graduate programs in marketing research, but many analysts complete degrees in other fields, such as statistics and marketing, and/or earn a master's degree in business administration (MBA). A master's degree is often required for leadership positions or positions that perform more technical research.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations for Market Research Analysts

Certification is voluntary, but analysts may pursue certification to demonstrate a level of professional competency. The Marketing Research Association offers the Professional Researcher Certification (PRC) for market research analysts. Candidates qualify on the basis of experience and knowledge; they must pass an exam, have at least 3 years working in opinion and marketing research, and complete 12 hours of industry-related education courses. Individuals must complete 20 hours of industry-related continuing education courses every 2 years to renew their certification.

Important Qualities for Market Research Analysts

Analytical skills. Market research analysts must be able to understand large amounts of data and information.

Communication skills. Market research analysts need strong communication skills when gathering information, interpreting data, and presenting results to clients.

Critical-thinking skills. To determine what marketing strategy would work best for a company, market research analysts must assess all available information.

Detail oriented. Market research analysts must be detail oriented because they often do precise data analysis.

Market Research Analyst Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for market research analysts is $62,560. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $33,950, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $121,720.

The median annual wages for market research analysts in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Publishing industries (except Internet) $72,880
Management of companies and enterprises 71,570
Finance and insurance 69,730
Wholesale trade 60,590
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services 58,640

Most market research analysts work full time during regular business hours. Some, however, work under pressure of deadlines and tight schedules, which may require additional hours of work.

Job Outlook for Market Research Analysts[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of market research analysts is projected to grow 23 percent over the next ten years, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Employment growth will be driven by an increasing use of data and market research across all industries. They will be needed to help understand the needs and wants of customers, measure the effectiveness of marketing and business strategies, and identify the factors affecting product demand.

Market research provides companies and organizations with an opportunity to increase sales and cut costs. Companies increasingly use research on consumer behavior to develop improved marketing strategies. By doing so, companies are better able to market directly to their target population.

Market research also lets companies monitor customer satisfaction and gather feedback about how to improve products or services, allowing companies to build an advantage over their competitors. They may use research to decide the location of stores, placement of products, and services offered.

The increase in the collection and analyses of "big data"—extremely large sets of information, such as social media comments or online product reviews—can provide insight on consumer behaviors and preferences. Businesses will need market research analysts to conduct analyses of the data and information.

Job Prospects for Market Research Analysts

Job prospects should be best for those with a master's degree in market research, marketing, statistics, or business administration.

Those with a strong quantitative background in statistical and data analysis or related work experience will have better job opportunities than those without it.

Employment projections data for Market Research Analysts, 2016-26
Occupational Title Employment, 2016 Projected Employment, 2026 Change, 2016-26
Percent Numeric
Market research analysts and marketing specialists 595,400 731,400 23 136,000


*Some content used by permission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

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