Quantitative Market Research

Quantitative market research is research that looks at trends and numbers. The research makes sense of data acquired to create groups and commonalities.

At Acumen, we are a leading quantitative research agency and experts in all forms of market research, with specialist teams for both quantitative research and also the qualitative strand.

In this page, we will outline key information about this form of market research and also speak briefly about how we stand apart from other research agencies.

What is quantitative market research

Further details below, but the short answer is that quantitative data research relates to numbers and the grouping of data.

The insight will find broad trends, it will not focus on individuals. That different insight is provided by qualitative research. One informs and complements the other.

One example would be finding out the most popular movies of the year – what were the top 10 films for those aged 21 to 30? You would acquire the data, what you would not know is why these films were so popular.

However, with this data, you could then establish sensible qualitative questions to explore the why.

Quantitative Research Methods

To gain the insights required, there are numerous ways to acquire quantitative research data. The use of these, finding the best option, falls upon the skill of the research agency.

Typical methods include.


We all know surveys, we have all filled them in online, we have probably all been stopped in the street to answer a survey.

The survey gathers a snapshot of opinion, it can be used purely for that moment, or be used in a more longitudinal way to see how opinions change over time.

In days past, surveys were labour intensive – pen and paper affairs, manned by people.

Usually most people don’t agree to be surveyed, so the person trying to gather data is pleased just to get a bite on the line.

This method still has uses – if you want to get data on the choice of shops at a mall, where better to do this than at the mall?

However, online surveys can work better – allowing more data to be captured and also more efficiently (read more cheaply!)

Other options would include phone surveys, those on social media and also point of sale.

A recent trend is the gamification of surveys, and rewards for completing them online – though care must be taken to ensure the data is still valid; you don’t want people just giving top of head answers to grab quick rewards.

Surveys seem easy, but great care is still required to ensure that the right people are asked, a fair representation of those you need data from.

For example, if the survey was conducted in person, via pen and paper, the time of day could impact the findings.

If you survey at certain times, a lot of the people you would want data from might be at work, you might find you get a lot of teenagers who should possibly be in lessons.

If you survey online, if care is not taken you might get wholly the wrong group replying.

We have seen examples of things like people based in London filling in information about transport in Manchester because the surveying company had not set up rules efficiently.

Given that everything follows from the quantitative stage of market research, the quantitative data has to be robust.


As with surveys, interviews used to typically be face to face, but are now often online.

This creates obvious advantages in terms of time and expense and also makes it easier to capture data from around the world – it is as easy to interview someone in Australia as it is someone in your own town.

The interview will run through a setlist of questions and from this data can be gathered and grouped.

Once data has been captured, there is then the possibility for follow-up sessions as required.

Interviews can also skilfully blend quantitative and qualitative research.

You might, for instance, want to ask questions relating to car brands and popularity.

However, interesting responses can be delved into and noted to help inform future qualitative research.

Skill is required to pull this off successfully, and the person performing the interview must be fully across the brief in order to be able to delve for greater depth.

Quantitative data analysis and qualitative are separate, but as part of an overall project there always needs to be ongoing thought about how any bit of information might be useful in future.

There is a need to be agile when working on all research questions.

User Testing

User testing is another common quantitative research method.

As with other forms of analysis, the data sample is used to find trends.

Often users will not know they are actually part of user testing, for instance; on a website such as Amazon users are effectively continually being ‘tested’ in that minor redesigns are made based on user activity and the impact of these measured.

However, user testing can also be carried out in person – it may be observed by the researcher, who subtly takes notes.

Advantages of Quantitative Data Collection

Typically, most projects will involve both quant and qualitative research, but there are still pros and cons to each in isolation.

Benefits of quantitative analysis methods are:

  • The data is easy to analyse – it will usually be in numerical format
  • All data collected is factual, in that it is the data as given not subjective opinion. You are finding out which cars people buy, not why they buy them.
  • The anonymous nature helps to remove personal bias. If the research is managed carefully, all answers should be honest. However, there is still a need to carefully manage data collection – an example would be election surveying whereby votes for the conservative party are always under-reported in pre-election surveys. The ‘shy Tory’ effect.
  • Data can be captured in a very efficient manner. You can get data from thousands of users around the globe at an affordable rate. Modern methods have only helped to make this easier.

The data should help to inform future research questions and analysis. It will usually be impossible to run a successful qualitative data research session if quantitative insights have not first been gained.

Disadvantages of Quantitative Data Collection

The disadvantages are really known limitations – they are things quantitative data would not claim to deliver.

  • The data lacks extra detail from respondents. The aim is to capture trends, not to then delve into the individual motivations behind these choices. This is a key reason why on its own quant research would not deliver enough understanding of user behaviour.
  • If the quantitative stage is not performed well, all subsequent work is doomed. If the data is unreliable, any qualitative work will start from unsafe foundations. Imagine asking users to pick from a list of their favourite activities at a leisure centre and using this to add more classes and remove others. Then you realise some options were never on the list…

Quantitative Case Studies

At Acumen, we have huge experience managing quantitative projects for businesses, healthcare users and organisations.

Our case studies also give a fascinating insight into how modern methods can deliver the insights required, and these can then be built upon to drive any organisation forward.

We have worked on numerous projects and links to two very different projects are below – both heavily used this form of descriptive statistics.

Online Market Sizing

The buying process – Data collection For A Footwear Brand

Your Quantitative Research Project

At Acumen, we have a dedicated quantitative research team with an embedded data analysis unit to ensure all insights can be delivered instantly to clients in their preferred manner.

Regularly lauded for our innovative approach – an approach that ensures we embrace new technology to deliver insights in the most efficient manner – we would welcome the chance to discuss your project on an obligation-free basis.

About Acumen

Our large medical marketing research team is on hand to help with all your research queries. We’ve got years of experience working with a wide range of healthcare users and companies who work in this field.

Our award-winning pharmaceutical market research team has been recognised throughout our industry, with a reputation for lateral thinking and problem solving that seeks to answer the questions at the heart of your brief.

We provide a tailored, full service approach which begins from our earliest conversations and continues with your dedicated project manager who will keep you updated throughout the research process.

We’re happy to discuss any research methodology and will provide transparent and practical advice on the feasibility of your project.

Meet our Team

Please call us on 0161 234 9440 or use our Contact Form to discuss your requirements for market research.