New Year, New Studies: Why January is an Ideal Time for Market Research

Posted by Op4G Staff on January 28, 2021


Market research can be a powerful tool at any time of the year. And, in fact, many organizations conduct market research at multiple points annually. But is any one period better than another? According to experts, January can be a particularly optimal time to undertake or begin market research studies. (That’s right—cold, dark January actually has some redeeming qualities!). Here’s why:

  1. Market research performed in January can inform a business’ strategy for the rest of the year. It can reveal which areas do—and do not—require attention, helping to focus precious resources. For instance, for one business, it may uncover huge growth potential in a certain city. In response, the business can launch a large advertising or promotional campaign in that area throughout the remainder of the year. 
  2. Many businesses “like to start their monthly ongoing fieldwork projects in January because it creates a nice yearly trending pattern." By capturing 12 months of data from January onward, businesses can collect data for a single calendar year (as opposed to data from across two years). This makes the data easier to explain, absorb, and compare to other years. 
  3. For companies, the start of a new calendar year often coincides with the start of a new budget. Typically, that brings “fresh dollars to spend” towards various soft costs, like market research. These funds start to dry up as the year progresses, especially for smaller businesses. Hence, the best way to ensure that market research occurs is to schedule studies early in the year.
  4. For many companies, January is a slow time. Retail stores, restaurants, hotels etc. all typically experience the “January slump." While less money is rolling in, this is actually an ideal time for businesses to invest in market research. After all, research can “provide management with crucial information… regarding market conditions." It can help companies predict and understand their “peaks and valleys” and adapt their practices accordingly. For some businesses, such insights could mean the difference between surviving and collapsing.

    Additionally, business slowdowns afford management more time for market research. This includes time to plan the research (i.e. develop questions, select panelists, hire a research company etc.) It also includes time to participate in market research, such as business-to-business (B2B) studies. A retail company, for instance, would have more time to complete a lengthy survey in January than during December’s Christmas rush. 
  5. An estimated 75% of Americans have set New Year’s resolutions for 2021. These resolutions can range from losing weight, to reading more, to learning new skills. For businesses in related fields, such resolutions present an incredible opportunity to capture new clientele. But first, they need to understand how to reach and appeal to these individuals. Market research in early January can provide the required insights. To learn more about which market research trends to look out for this year, check out this recent blog post on the topic.


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Topics: Consumer Research, Market Research Tips