Want FREE Templates on Strategy & Transformation? Download our FREE compilation of 50+ slides. This is an exclusive promotion being run on LinkedIn.







Flevy Management Insights Q&A
What are the most effective techniques for conducting market research in emerging markets?


This article provides a detailed response to: What are the most effective techniques for conducting market research in emerging markets? For a comprehensive understanding of Pricing Strategy, we also include relevant case studies for further reading and links to Pricing Strategy best practice resources.

TLDR Effective market research in emerging markets combines Digital Data Collection, On-the-Ground Research, and Geospatial Analysis to understand consumer behavior, cultural nuances, and market trends.

Reading time: 4 minutes


Conducting market research in emerging markets presents unique challenges and opportunities. The dynamism, diversity, and pace of change in these markets require a nuanced approach. Organizations looking to enter or expand in these markets must employ a blend of traditional and innovative research methodologies to gain accurate insights. Below are some of the most effective techniques for conducting market research in emerging markets, drawing on insights from leading consulting and market research firms.

Utilizing Digital Data Collection Methods

Emerging markets are increasingly digital. A report by McKinsey highlights the rapid digital adoption in regions such as Africa, where mobile penetration and internet usage have skyrocketed in recent years. This digital boom provides a fertile ground for digital data collection methods. Online surveys, social media analytics, and mobile data collection can yield real-time insights into consumer behavior, preferences, and trends. For instance, mobile surveys can reach a wide audience quickly and cost-effectively, making them particularly useful in regions with high mobile usage but limited access to traditional internet services.

Moreover, social media analytics can uncover patterns in consumer sentiment and emerging trends. Organizations can analyze conversations, posts, and interactions on platforms popular in specific emerging markets. For example, in China, platforms like WeChat and Sina Weibo offer a wealth of consumer insights that can inform market entry or product development strategies. This approach requires sophisticated analytics tools and expertise in data science but can provide a competitive edge by capturing the voice of the customer directly and in real-time.

Additionally, leveraging big data and advanced analytics can help organizations make sense of the vast amounts of unstructured data collected from digital platforms. Predictive analytics and machine learning models can identify trends and predict consumer behavior with a high degree of accuracy. This not only aids in Strategic Planning but also in tailoring products and services to meet the specific needs of consumers in emerging markets.

Learn more about Strategic Planning Machine Learning Big Data Consumer Behavior Voice of the Customer Data Science Market Entry Product Development

Are you familiar with Flevy? We are you shortcut to immediate value.
Flevy provides business best practices—the same as those produced by top-tier consulting firms and used by Fortune 100 companies. Our best practice business frameworks, financial models, and templates are of the same caliber as those produced by top-tier management consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte, and Accenture. Most were developed by seasoned executives and consultants with 20+ years of experience.

Trusted by over 10,000+ Client Organizations
Since 2012, we have provided best practices to over 10,000 businesses and organizations of all sizes, from startups and small businesses to the Fortune 100, in over 130 countries.
AT&T GE Cisco Intel IBM Coke Dell Toyota HP Nike Samsung Microsoft Astrazeneca JP Morgan KPMG Walgreens Walmart 3M Kaiser Oracle SAP Google E&Y Volvo Bosch Merck Fedex Shell Amgen Eli Lilly Roche AIG Abbott Amazon PwC T-Mobile Broadcom Bayer Pearson Titleist ConEd Pfizer NTT Data Schwab

Engaging in On-the-Ground Research

Despite the rise of digital, on-the-ground research remains critical in emerging markets. This involves qualitative methods such as focus groups, in-depth interviews, and ethnographic studies. These approaches allow for a deeper understanding of cultural nuances, consumer behavior, and market dynamics that digital methods might miss. For example, Accenture's research in India highlighted the importance of understanding the role of family in consumer decisions, a factor that online surveys might not fully capture.

On-the-ground research can also uncover insights into the operational challenges and opportunities in emerging markets. This includes distribution channels, retail landscapes, and local competitor analysis. For instance, field visits and retailer interviews can reveal the complexity of distribution networks in countries like Brazil, where informal markets and small retailers play a significant role. Such insights are invaluable for organizations planning their market entry or expansion strategies.

Furthermore, engaging with local partners, such as market research firms, universities, or non-governmental organizations (NGOs), can enhance the effectiveness of on-the-ground research. These partners can provide access to local networks, insights into cultural nuances, and logistical support. Collaborating with local entities not only enriches the research process but also builds relationships that can be crucial for long-term success in these markets.

Learn more about Market Research Non-governmental Organization

Incorporating Geospatial Analysis

Geospatial analysis is an emerging technique that can provide valuable insights in emerging markets. This involves analyzing geographic data to understand market trends, consumer behavior, and economic activities. For example, satellite imagery can help identify patterns of urbanization, infrastructure development, and even agricultural productivity. This information is crucial for organizations looking to invest in sectors such as real estate, agriculture, or retail.

One real-world example of geospatial analysis in action is the use of satellite data by retailers to determine optimal locations for new stores in Southeast Asia. By analyzing traffic patterns, population density, and proximity to competitors, retailers can make data-driven decisions on store placements. This approach can significantly reduce the risks associated with market entry and expansion.

Furthermore, combining geospatial data with other market research methods can offer a comprehensive view of market opportunities and challenges. For instance, overlaying consumer survey data with geographic information can reveal regional variations in consumer preferences and behavior. This level of analysis is particularly useful in diverse and geographically large emerging markets, where regional differences can be pronounced.

In conclusion, conducting market research in emerging markets requires a multifaceted approach that combines digital data collection, on-the-ground research, and innovative techniques like geospatial analysis. By employing these methods, organizations can gain a deeper understanding of these complex and rapidly changing markets. Success in emerging markets demands not only a grasp of current market conditions but also an anticipation of future trends. The organizations that can navigate this complexity with strategic and insightful market research will be best positioned to capitalize on the vast opportunities these markets offer.

Learn more about Real Estate

Best Practices in Pricing Strategy

Here are best practices relevant to Pricing Strategy from the Flevy Marketplace. View all our Pricing Strategy materials here.

Did you know?
The average daily rate of a McKinsey consultant is $6,625 (not including expenses). The average price of a Flevy document is $65.

Explore all of our best practices in: Pricing Strategy

Pricing Strategy Case Studies

For a practical understanding of Pricing Strategy, take a look at these case studies.

Pricing Strategy Reform for a Rapidly Growing Technology Firm

Scenario: A technology company developing cloud-based solutions has experienced a surge in customer base and revenue over the last year.

Read Full Case Study

Pricing Strategy Refinement for Education Tech Firm in North America

Scenario: An education technology firm in North America is struggling to effectively price its digital learning platforms.

Read Full Case Study

Dynamic Pricing Strategy for Luxury Cosmetics Brand in Competitive Market

Scenario: The organization, a luxury cosmetics brand, is grappling with optimizing its Pricing Strategy in a highly competitive and price-sensitive market.

Read Full Case Study

Dynamic Pricing Strategy Overhaul for High-End Luxury Retailer

Scenario: The company is a high-end luxury retailer facing stagnation in market share growth due to a static pricing model that has not adapted to evolving consumer behaviors and competitive market dynamics.

Read Full Case Study

Dynamic Pricing Strategy for Regional Telecom Operator

Scenario: The organization, a mid-sized telecom operator in the Asia-Pacific region, is grappling with heightened competition and customer churn due to inconsistent and non-competitive pricing structures.

Read Full Case Study

Pricing Strategy Overhaul for a High-Growth Tech Startup

Scenario: A rapidly scaling technology startup in the SaaS space has been facing challenges with its current pricing model.

Read Full Case Study

Explore all Flevy Management Case Studies

Related Questions

Here are our additional questions you may be interested in.

How is the rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning influencing the development and implementation of dynamic pricing models?
AI and ML are revolutionizing Dynamic Pricing by enabling real-time, data-driven price adjustments, optimizing profitability, and enhancing competitiveness across industries. [Read full explanation]
What impact are global economic fluctuations having on pricing strategies across different industries?
Global economic fluctuations significantly influence pricing strategies in various industries, necessitating businesses to adapt through dynamic pricing, understanding market and consumer behavior changes, and leveraging advanced analytics for competitive advantage and profitability. [Read full explanation]
How can businesses integrate ethical considerations into their pricing strategies to avoid consumer backlash?
Businesses can integrate ethical considerations into their pricing strategies by focusing on transparency, fairness, and societal impact, balancing profitability with social responsibility, and engaging stakeholders for insights. [Read full explanation]
In what ways can companies leverage technology to enhance the accuracy of their pricing strategies?
Companies can significantly improve their Pricing Strategies through Advanced Analytics, AI, and ML to achieve dynamic, personalized pricing, and better understand price elasticity, leading to increased profitability and market competitiveness. [Read full explanation]
How do you assess the elasticity of demand for your products when considering a pricing strategy adjustment?
Assessing demand elasticity is crucial for Pricing Strategy adjustments, involving market segmentation, advanced analytics, and both quantitative and qualitative research to optimize revenue and market position. [Read full explanation]
How can organizations measure the effectiveness of their pricing strategy over time?
Organizations can measure the effectiveness of their pricing strategy through Revenue and Profitability Analysis, Customer Perception and Value Analysis, and assessing Market Share and Competitive Position, adapting based on insights to maintain competitiveness and achieve strategic objectives. [Read full explanation]

Source: Executive Q&A: Pricing Strategy Questions, Flevy Management Insights, 2024


Flevy is the world's largest knowledge base of best practices.


Leverage the Experience of Experts.

Find documents of the same caliber as those used by top-tier consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte, Accenture.

Download Immediately and Use.

Our PowerPoint presentations, Excel workbooks, and Word documents are completely customizable, including rebrandable.

Save Time, Effort, and Money.

Save yourself and your employees countless hours. Use that time to work on more value-added and fulfilling activities.




Read Customer Testimonials



Download our FREE Strategy & Transformation Framework Templates

Download our free compilation of 50+ Strategy & Transformation slides and templates. Frameworks include McKinsey 7-S, Balanced Scorecard, Disruptive Innovation, BCG Curve, and many more.