New York –Survey Sampling International (SSI), a provider of sampling solutions for survey research, conducted a webinar yesterday showing the potential of online survey research in the BRIC countries (i.e. Brazil, Russia, India, and China). The presenter argued that online surveys in BRIC countries have an enormous potential, especially among consumers, and they are an ideal solution for researchers covering these markets.
In Integrity Research’s view, investment research professionals covering the BRIC countries should consider online surveys as a valuable option, but it is prudent that they keep in mind the various obstacles surrounding this tool in BRICs. Some of these obstacles include infrastructure limitations, the specific demographics with access to internet, quality of connectivity, and cultural perception of online questionnaires, among others. Given the current state of technology incorporation in BRICs, telephone surveys might still be more effective than online tools in penetrating these markets.
Talking to a BRIC (online or telephone?)
As SSI indicated in yesterday’s webinar, BRIC countries share characteristics that make them fertile ground for online survey research. Large populations, rise in their middle class, increased urbanization, eagerness among the population to share their opinions, and increased online access are just some of the factors that work in favor of online survey research in BRICs, especially among consumers.
The webinar addressed issues that might hamper online research in BRICs and provided solutions to get around them. For example, it mentioned that online surveys in these countries must include a feature to easily re-access the survey since connectivity and infrastructure issues might require respondents to log in a few times before they can complete it. Simple language is another feature that could increase the response rate.
SSI ‘s webinar analyzed each one of the BRIC countries separately, and provided tips on how to better design and conduct a survey according to the specific characteristics of these countries. For example, SSI recommended that questionnaires to be implemented in China should avoid unlucky numbers (e.g. 4 or 5); questionnaires to be implemented in Brazil should avoid questions related to family; and questionnaires to be implemented in India should avoid questions regarding religion –but would be very successful if it includes questions regarding cricket.
It is widely known that online is among the cheapest, and most expedite methods for conducting survey research. It is also true that researchers are increasingly benefiting from tapping into BRICs consumers for market insights. However, Integrity would recommend investors covering BRICs to keep in mind the tool of telephone surveying since it is more likely than the internet to surpass obstacles such as quality of connectivity, infrastructure deficiencies, demographics, and certain cultural perceptions of online interaction existing in BRICs.
Other than SSI, firms offering sampling and research solutions in the BRIC countries include Borderless Access, Cross-Tab, and TNS. Investors interested in survey research in BRICs can benefit from these firms’ research expertise in those markets.