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NEW DELHI : Didier Truchot, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Ipsos Group, has a pulse of what consumers the world over are thinking. From decoding public opinions on politics, to the health of the economy, and consumer perception on climate change, the Paris-headquartered market research firm, that is present in 90 markets, provides marketing, media, public affairs and survey management to corporates and governments.

On his recent visit to India, Truchot, who founded Ipsos in 1975, spoke about the research firm’s scope of business in the Asia Pacific region, the shift to online research, and how research firms need to stay relevant today. Edited excerpts:

How has digitization changed market research over the last 3 decades?

It changes everything—it changes our access to people. But it creates its own challenges because if I want to get your feedback via mobile, I need to create templates that are easy to use.

With your agreement, of course, we can also track what you are doing with your mobile, and also link what you are doing to where you are etc. Having said that, we are compliant with the new privacy (GDPR) rules in Europe.

So, with the consumer agreement, I can get more information on you, and certainly also ask you if you are willing to enlist to a panel and can build a relationship with you. Technology, in that sense, creates opportunities for research companies to access people.

Currently, the Asia Pacific (APAC) region is the firm’s smallest market in terms of contribution to business. Will that change?

In Asia, we are growing twice as quickly as we are growing in some other regions. I think five years from now, if you just did the math, Asia will represent a third of our revenue.

Market research, as a discipline, has been invented in the US—this is the reason why a significant part of the global market is in the US. When you talk about other sectors, of course, the weight of US is important but it is decreasing because there are some parts of the world which are growing faster than the US (from a total economic perspective).

So, we believe that APAC will become our largest region but it will take another five years because from an overall economic perspective, APAC will become important.

As these economies become more competitive and sophisticated, it will build the need to get more information about citizens, and consumers.

Within APAC, how will India grow?

Right now, China is much more important as a market than India. It is not so because of the volume of work but because of the price.

The India market—it is one of the cheapest in the world in terms of services provided by the market research industry. India is much smaller in terms of revenue than our China business.

In India, we still have competition that is significantly larger than us, so we want to move quickly. Which means we want to develop more of what we are doing.

What would drive our growth would be public affairs, health care, retail, and we want to work more with the technology industry in India because historically, we have focussed a lot on consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies. But we want to diversify especially within the technology world, for instance, we have been successful in the US with clients such as Google, Facebook etc.

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