How Has GDPR affected Market Research?

Data is critical in the Market Research Industry and an integral part of internal processes and checks. It’s been six months since the European Union began to enforce its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), changing a lot with regard to personal data security and customer consent.

With the change in GDPR has come additional barriers to the industry, particularly when conducting market research projects. Following the enforcement, changes have meant that research companies must now identify which of these bases directly fits their business and any of their research projects.

  • Consent
  • Contract
  • Legal obligation
  • Vital interests
  • Public task
  • Legitimate interests

But which of these six regulations have our industry been most affected by?

We at BEAM feel that the base most affecting our field of work is consent. For Market Researchers, data collection and processing are vital parts of GDPR meaning the key challenge has been gaining data consent from consumers. It is now essential that market researchers explain exactly what the data they receive is used for, why it is needed and must also ensure that it is deleted once it has been used for its intended purpose.

Research companies have had to ensure that anybody participating in research has consented to the use of their personal data, for a specific purpose. It means that companies have had to be explicitly clear to consumers as to the purpose of processing; if the original purpose changes, then consent has had to be regained from the individual.

The Exemption?

Select research areas will be exempt from the strict regulations of GDPR. Article 89 states that if researchers are conducting historical, scientific or statistical research then they are exempt from rules surrounding secondary processing and using sensitive data but only if they have implemented the appropriate safeguards to protect this information.

It may be six months in but GDPR is something that many market researchers are still learning to work with. At BEAM we feel it is helping the industry make progress into having a safer, more transparent data compilation working to ensure consumer data is protected and used for the right reasons.


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