Picture This: It's 2025. Discover How You Fit Into the Future of Market Research

Feb 14, 2024
future of market research
Table of Contents

I. Introduction

It’s the year 2025. As you wake up, your AI assistant gives you a morning briefing of today’s weather, news, and schedule – you’re supposed to conduct a research project. But first, coffee! You use voice commands to brew some espresso and adjust the thermostat in your home as you start your morning routine and go about your day. 

The emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) has made life a whole lot easier. We are living in a time where AI technology, holograms, video calls, and drones are no longer futuristic concepts only seen in movies or TV shows like "Back to the Future" and "Meet the Jetsons."

ai robot future of market research industry

Market research is no exception to these innovations. AI has impacted various aspects of the research process, streamlining everything from data collection to analysis. Despite being only widely accessible in the last few years, 29% of companies already implement natural language processing (NLP) AI for marketing. The future of the market research industry emphasizes that AI growth is expected to soar as it becomes more advanced and easier to incorporate.

The use of AI will bring both exciting opportunities and major challenges for insights professionals. The question is: How can you start preparing NOW to become a successful market research leader of tomorrow?

This guide offers a thrilling glimpse into AI tools and technologies poised to disrupt the market research industry in the next few years. We’ll go on a journey to picture what a typical day in your life as a market researcher could look like in 2025.

II. How Will AI Transform Your Role as a Researcher?

quantum computing

Fast forward to 2025, and we find ourselves in a timeline where artificial intelligence (AI) has taken center stage in the qualitative market research process. AI is no longer a mere tool but a valuable companion in our daily research tasks. 

Here's a description of what your typical day of conducting market research might look like with the assistance of specific AI technologies:

1. Project Planning and Design

Your clients from a fast-moving consumer goods company are planning to release a plant-based protein bar. You are tasked to conduct a market research project and identify the most promising flavor profiles and nutritional features.

Quantum Computing 

With quantum computing, you can access an unparalleled level of data processing and analysis. Quantum algorithms process large datasets in a fraction of the time it would take traditional computers – 158 million times faster, to be exact.

You use this technology to analyze historical and real-time data to identify trends, such as the rise of plant-based foods and the popularity of sustainable and nutritionally enriched snacks in the food industry.

ai recommendation system

AI Recommendation System

Drawing upon the data generated from quantum computing, you create an AI-powered system. It suggested two possible research methodologies based on real-time market data and consumer trends. This includes:

  • Augmented and virtual reality shopping activities with eye-tracking
  • IDIs with synthetic and human respondents

The AI recommendation system segments your target market based on their nutritional needs, flavor preferences, and dietary restrictions. It identifies three different consumer groups that you could recruit for your research project: 

  • Fitness enthusiasts
  • Vegans
  • Individuals with specific dietary requirements

2. Respondent Recruitment

With the help of your AI, you generate detailed respondent criteria based on the three segments: 

respondent criteria protein bar project

Recruiting Synthetic (AI) Respondents

Based on the criteria above, you use generative AI to create sample personas that mimic real respondents within your target groups. By engineering different prompts, you also customize your synthetic respondents by specifying certain characteristics and adjusting parameters – creating profiles that align with your research objectives.

  • For fitness enthusiasts, you specified that some samples should reflect a higher level of fitness experience to include novice gym-goers and experienced athletes.
  • To capture the different dietary preferences of your target groups, you adjusted some profiles to indicate a preference for protein bars with specific nutritional features, while others lean towards flavor and taste.
synthetic respondents

Recruiting Human Respondents

  1. Pooling

Your AI system identifies potential human participants by scanning various data sources, such as social media (e.g., Twitter/X, Instagram, Facebook), customer databases, or online communities. Predictive analytics pinpoint respondents most likely to participate in your project. These models can predict the willingness of individuals to engage based on historical data and behavioral patterns.

  1. Screening

An automated engagement platform reaches out to your potential respondents through targeted messaging or emails. Afterward, chatbots or avatar assistants equipped with natural language processing (NLP) assist you in identifying qualified candidates by conducting initial screening interviews using an AI-generated screener. 

  1. Security

Blockchain technology is used to protect your recruited participants’ personally identifiable information (PII). It creates immutable, tamper-proof digital identity records for each respondent, which are only accessible to you and authorized parties. 

Participants who have opted into the study will have their personal information, such as their names, ages, and fitness levels recorded. This data is encrypted, hashed, and securely stored on the blockchain. 

recruiting human respondents

3. Data Gathering

Augmented and Virtual Reality Shopping Activities with Eye Tracking

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are used to create simulated shopping experiences related to your protein bar product inside a real-life or virtual retail store. An online avatar of your moderator is present throughout the augmented and virtual shopping activities to guide participants and ask questions. 

Eye-tracking technology records your participants’ eye movements and visual focus to help you understand their cognitive processes when selecting a product. Each session is also recorded and automatically transcribed through the headsets.


  • Your participants are provided with AR and VR headsets with eye-tracking technology
  • Generative AI is used to create a discussion guide and follow-up questions 
  • Virtual moderator avatars will assist participants during the activity


  • Exploring the Aisle: In-person participants enter a real-life retail store that displays various protein bars while wearing the AR headset. On the other hand, online participants use the VR headphones to enter a virtual copy of the store. They interact with the moderator avatar, who provides information on the bars, such as ingredients, nutritional value, and flavor options.
  • Selection Process: Participants are encouraged to select a protein bar. The moderator asks questions like, "What factors influenced your choice?" and "How important are taste and nutritional value to you?". Probing questions are automatically generated based on their responses.
  • Eye Tracking: Eye-tracking technology records your participants' eye movements as they evaluate different bars. It captures to what degree they focus on nutritional labels, flavor descriptions, or price tags.
  • Purchase Decision: Participants make a virtual purchase decision. The moderator inquires about the reasons behind their selection and the influence of brand reputation, packaging, or product claims.

In-Depth Interviews (IDIs) with Synthetic and Human Respondents

After all shopping activities have been completed, you will conduct one-on-one interviews with both synthetic (AI-generated) and human respondents to gather more information on their experiences and preferences.  


  • An AI scheduling system will automatically schedule online IDIs with human participants from your three target groups: fitness enthusiasts, vegans, and individuals with dietary requirements
  • Chatbots will act as moderators to facilitate your interviews with synthetic and human respondents
  • Interviews are recorded and automatically transcribed in real-time within the interview platform
idi with human and synthetic respondents


  • Interviews with Chatbots: AI chatbots engage in conversation based on a generated discussion guide. This includes topics on taste preferences, dietary habits, and protein bar consumption patterns. 
  • Qualitative Insights: Synthetic respondents provide insights into their preferences and the factors influencing their protein bar choices. Their responses are based on the persona (e.g., fitness enthusiasts, vegans, individuals with dietary requirements) they are mimicking. 
  • Human Insights: Human respondents share real-world experiences and opinions when buying a protein bar, shedding light on their unique perspectives and purchase decisions.
  • Voice Recognition and Transcription: Accurate automated transcripts are generated in real-time during the interview.

4. Processing and Report Writing

automated video insights

Automated Video Insights

After the data-gathering phase of your project, it’s now time to process and organize your data. The recordings and transcripts of the shopping activities and interviews are directly transferred to a secure project hub. 

The AI-powered video insights tool automatically generates tags, clips, and storyboards you include in your client report. The AI platform scans your content to identify and tag common themes, patterns, and keywords. From these tags, the AI creates short clips that you can turn into a storyboard for your client presentation.

AI Report Generation

Using an AI report generating tool, you query your session recordings and transcripts to extract patterns and insights within the raw data. The AI then creates a customized client report that you enhance with your own insights and perspectives. 

This tool includes features that let you: 

  • Summarize individual interviews or focus groups
  • Answer specific questions across one or all sessions in a study
  • Get summaries from all questions in your discussion guide
  • Target responses to the reading level of your audience
  • Cite specific quotes within your content 
ai sentiment analysis

Sentiment Analysis

AI-driven sentiment analysis lets you recognize micro-expressions and vocal cues to determine the emotional tones within audio and text-based responses. You used this technology to understand how your participants feel about your protein bar snack and its related concepts (e.g., taste, value, packaging, overall appeal).

  • Sentiment Classification: Natural language processing models classify each piece of your text into sentiment categories: positive, negative, and neutral.
  • Sentiment Scoring: Sentiment analysis algorithms assign a numerical score to indicate the strength and direction of the sentim ent expressed. Scores can range from -1 (very negative) to 1 (very positive), with 0 representing neutrality.

5. Visualization of Findings

Insights Generated

These insights can inform product development, marketing strategies, and overall customer satisfaction, allowing your clients to make data-driven decisions in the R&D and promotional phase of the plant-based protein bar. 

Insights from Augmented Reality Shopping Activities

  • Visual Preferences: Vegans and those with dietary restrictions focus on ingredients and nutritional labels during virtual shopping.
  • Taste vs. Nutrition: Fitness enthusiasts prioritize protein content, while vegans emphasize plant-based ingredients and taste.
  • Packaging Impact: Participants pay attention to packaging design and brand logos.

Insights from In-Depth Interviews (IDIs)

  • Flavor Balance: Fitness enthusiasts prefer protein bars with a balance of taste and nutrition that suits their daily macros.
  • Vegan Considerations: Vegans seek plant-based ingredients that align with their ethical choices (e.g., animal welfare, sustainability, environmental impact).
  • Dietary-Specific Demand: Individuals with dietary requirements look for bars that cater to their specific needs.

Flavor Preferences

  • Fitness Enthusiasts: These respondents preferred protein bars with flavors that taste like traditional “unhealthy” desserts but are still in line with their nutritional goals. They often favor flavors like chocolate, peanut butter, cookie dough, and cheesecake.
  • Vegans: Vegans prefer flavors that align with their plant-based dietary choices. These include flavors like almond, coconut, mixed berries, or other fruit-based options. 
  • Individuals with Dietary Requirements: Those with dietary restrictions or allergies gravitate towards protein bars with flavors safe for consumption at first glance. For example, people with nut allergies prefer more fruit-based flavors (e.g., cinnamon apple, mint chocolate).
ai presentation

AI-Powered Presentation

1. Generative AI Design Systems

By leveraging an AI design platform, you can create a customizable and engaging report that clients can interact with using hover interactions. These interactions are powered by tooltip components that display when users mouse over a specific visual element. The content itself can be populated dynamically based on metadata tagged to that data point.

  • Data Visualization: The AI design platform incorporates various interactive charts, graphs, and infographics into your report for a comprehensive view of research data. This includes:
  • Heat Maps: The flavor preferences of different target groups are displayed using interactive heat maps. Clients can hover over specific regions on their devices to view detailed breakdowns. 
  • Trend Lines: Graphs display trends in protein bar consumption over time, allowing your clients to identify growth or decline patterns. They can adjust the time frame and filter data based on various criteria.
  • Demographic Comparisons: Bar charts enable clients to compare the age and gender distribution of consumers within different dietary preference groups. Clients can filter by specific demographics for more detailed insights.
  • Client Interaction: Clients can hover over data points to access additional information or adjust parameters to see how different factors influence the needs of their market. This allows your clients to slice data on demand without dependencies on analysts.
  • Personalized Insights: The AI system tailors the report to the specific interests of the client. For example, a client interested in a certain consumer segment can access data visualizations that specifically focus on the preferences and behaviors of this subgroup.
  • Accessibility: The reports are accessible on various smart devices for clients to review. 
future of the market research industry

2. VR Reality Product Visualization

Virtual reality (VR) glasses are used to provide an immersive 3D visualization for clients to experiment with different product variations and see how consumers interact with the product. 

  • 3D Visualization: Clients wear VR glasses to enter a virtual space where they can see a life-sized, 3D representation of the ideal protein bar snack based on your research findings.
  • Customization: Clients can use hand gestures or voice commands to modify the appearance and attributes of the protein bar in real-time. For example, they can change its flavor, nutritional content, or packaging design.
  • Simulated Consumer Interactions: Clients can observe virtual consumers interacting with the protein bar in simulated real-world scenarios wherein consumers evaluate and make purchase decisions.
  • Data Integration: Data points and insights from the research, such as eye-tracking results and consumer feedback, are integrated into the VR experience, providing context for your clients. 
vr market research

6. Data-Driven Recommendations

predictive analytics ai

Predictive Analytics

You utilize AI-enhanced predictive analytics models to analyze historical market data and predict emerging trends. The AI algorithm forecasted the rising popularity of plant-based and sustainable food products, which can influence the development and marketing of your protein bar snack.

Neural Interfaces 

During your client meeting, a neural interface collects immediate and unfiltered feedback. Neural interfaces or brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) are technologies that enable direct communication and interaction between the human brain and external devices or computer systems. Collaborative AI platforms powered by these interfaces enable real-time brainstorming between you and your clients – making decision-making more efficient and interactive. 

Based on the insights from your research project, you suggested these product development and marketing strategy recommendations:

product development

Product Development Recommendations

  1. Ingredient Transparency and Variety

Develop protein bars with clear and detailed ingredient labels, emphasizing the quality and sourcing of ingredients. Highlight the use of plant-based ingredients for the vegan market segment.

Create a diverse range of flavors to cater to the preferences of different segments. Include classic dessert-inspired flavors for fitness enthusiasts and fruit-based options for vegans and those with dietary restrictions.

  1. Sustainable Packaging and Ethical Branding

Opt for eco-friendly and sustainable packaging materials to appeal to the environmentally conscious consumer segment. Highlight ethical branding practices such as cruelty-free sourcing and sustainable production to resonate with consumers' concerns on animal welfare and environmental impact.

marketing strategy protein bar

Marketing Strategy Recommendations

  1. Segmented Marketing Campaigns

Tailor the protein bar’s marketing campaigns to specific segments. Highlight nutritional content and protein benefits in campaigns targeted at fitness enthusiasts. For vegans and environmentally conscious consumers, focus on the plant-based and sustainable aspects of the snack.  

Assure individuals with dietary requirements that your protein bar caters to their needs. Emphasize the absence of allergens, dietary-specific features, and safety for their consumption.

  1. Educational Content for Social Media

Release short reels on social media discussing the benefits of plant-based ingredients, sustainability, and ethical practices for protein bars. Discuss the importance of macronutrient balance for fitness enthusiasts and the suitability of the protein bar for their dietary needs.

  1. Interactive Packaging and Branding

Use augmented reality (AR) technology to create interactive packaging that engages consumers when they scan the code with their smartphones. This could include virtual tours of the factory or informational videos about the product's ethical practices. Highlight branding elements that convey the story and values behind the protein bar on the packaging.

Looking Forward to the Future of AI Market Research

future of market research

Your typical day as a qualitative market researcher in 2025 may be a seamless integration of all these AI tools and techniques at every stage of your research process. These AI-driven enhancements improve the efficiency of your qualitative research, leading to more insightful and data-driven recommendations for your clients and stakeholders.

It’s important to look forward to the applications of AI in market research, which will be within reach in the not-so-distant future. Staying at the forefront of these advancements ensures that you won’t be left behind in the dust with every newly launched AI tool. 

III. Why Human Judgment Remains Critical

researcher listening to respondent

In a future that will likely be dominated by artificial intelligence, human judgment will remain irreplaceable, especially in the market research field. To maximize the potential of AI-powered research, a combination of AI’s technological advancements and human consciousness is key.

Here are some compelling reasons why your judgment is vital when leveraging AI’s capabilities for market research:

1. People Prefer Human Interactions for Sensitive Topics

Participants prefer to interact with other people when talking about sensitive research topics. These discussions require trust, empathy, and depth of understanding, which human researchers can provide. 

For example, when discussing personal health choices, ethics, or lifestyle preferences, respondents are more comfortable opening up to a human researcher who can establish a genuine connection and demonstrate empathy.

2. AI Lacks Human Nuance and Empathy

Qualitative market research frequently explores the motivations, needs, and emotional responses of consumers. For this reason, AI may struggle to grasp the complexity of these human factors, which are crucial in understanding consumer behavior. 

For instance, AI might miss the underlying reasons behind a consumer's choice or the emotional connection that drives their decisions.

3. Final Analysis Requires Human Insight

Decision-making and interpreting research results are processes that require the cognitive abilities of human researchers. AI can generate data and trends, but your judgment delivers the insights and understanding necessary to make sense of the data. 

human biases

4. Spotting Flaws or Biases in AI

While AI algorithms are powerful, they aren’t without fault. These systems can inadvertently introduce biases or errors in the research process. 

Verifying your AI-generated data is crucial in identifying these flaws and correcting them. You can recognize when data may be skewed, when an algorithm fails to consider critical variables, or when bias is present in the training data.

5. Providing Context from Experience

You can bring much-needed context to AI systems based on your expertise and insights. 

Your experience as a market researcher allows you to bridge the gap between raw data generated by AI and the real-world implications for businesses.

making recommendations aligned with company goals

6. Making Recommendations Aligned with Company Goals

At the end of the day, market research is about making recommendations that align with the objectives of your clients. With your expertise and experience in the market research industry, you can provide tailored recommendations that consider the broader context of the business and its goals. 

IV. Navigating the Future of Market Research

The world of market research is rapidly evolving. As we move closer to an AI-driven future, being updated with the latest AI developments helps you remain dynamic in the face of these technological changes. 

The new frontier of AI market research can provide unprecedented opportunities if you learn to properly leverage these innovative tools for streamlining your processes, Here, we offer practical advice and best practices to thrive in the present and future AI landscape.

ai as an ally not a replacement

AI is an Ally, Not a Replacement

First and foremost, it's important to consider AI as a valuable tool rather than a threat to your job. AI systems are created by humans to be helpful tools, not to replace human researchers. 

For instance, AI can quickly process, categorize, and extract trends from thousands of open-ended survey responses. However, a collaborative partnership with human researchers brings context and nuance to the data. You can interpret the subtleties of language, understand cultural variations, and recognize when a seemingly negative comment may hide an opportunity for improvement.

AI's data processing capabilities are a secret weapon, but your expertise in understanding the "why" behind the data makes it truly valuable. Instead of fearing that AI will make certain jobs obsolete, focus on how it can enhance human abilities and free up your time to do more strategic, creative research.

Develop Effective Prompts

AI's outputs are only as good as the input it receives. When working with AI systems, the key to getting the most relevant and useful insights lies in how you engineer your prompts. 

To get the most value, you should become proficient at writing prompts that are clear, concise, and aligned with your research objectives. Think of prompts as the language you use to communicate with AI. By investing time in mastering this language, you can get the insights you need in a fraction of the time.  

Here are some basic tips for writing effective market research prompts:

  • Be Specific: Adding context to your prompts helps the AI system produce more specific and relevant information. Provide precise details about your research project, including the product or service you're interested in and the exact information you need.

Example: Instead of a general prompt like "Tell me about protein bar preferences," a more effective prompt could be "Provide insights into consumer preferences for protein bar flavors and nutritional content among fitness enthusiasts aged 25-35. Focus on factors that influence their choices."

  • Role-play: Giving your AI system a role to perform helps it understand the context of the conversation. This improves the consistency of the AI’s responses, ensuring that it provides answers aligned with the perspective you need.

Example: To understand the viewpoint of a vegan consumer, you could set the AI's role as "You are a 28-year-old vegan searching for a plant-based protein bar that meets your ethical values. Provide recommendations based on ingredients, taste, and sustainability." 

  • Follow-up: When you receive responses that lack some information or require further detail, you can use follow-up questions to build on previous prompts. This helps you gather more comprehensive information and refine your outputs.

Example: The initial response provides insights into consumer flavor preferences but lacks details on packaging. You can follow up with, "Could you also elaborate on the packaging design elements that influence consumer choices?" to gather a more complete set of data.

Focus Higher-Value Tasks 

As AI gradually takes over routine data collection and processing tasks, you can shift your expertise toward higher-value activities. Strategic planning, in-depth analysis, and developing actionable recommendations have become more critical than ever. 

AI can provide you with data, but it's the human touch that transforms data into valuable insights. Channeling your energy into creating strategies helps drive success and provides clients with well-founded recommendations rooted in deep analysis.

soft skills market research

Increase Soft Skills

In an era dominated by AI and advanced technology, there's a unique facet of market research that remains distinctly human - the ability to connect with and interpret the nuances of human emotions and behaviors. 

By developing soft skills such as creativity, emotional intelligence, and empathy, you can understand your consumers on a deeper level when compared to automated systems. These skills help you unlock more profound insights that drive successful market research.

V. Conclusion

future of the insights industry

AI, which was once a vague concept that researchers were skeptical of, has now firmly established itself as a valuable tool in the research toolkit. It can sift through vast datasets and generate responses with astonishing speed and precision. However, beneath this technological marvel lies a fundamental truth for qualitative researchers: Understanding how people think and feel is an ability only human researchers have. 

AI can gather data on topics such as flavor preferences, nutritional content, and packaging design, but it's the human touch that unveils the "why" behind these choices. It can analyze sentiment, but your emotional intelligence recognizes the subtle nuances in responses. While AI streamlines data collection, human empathy creates an environment where participants feel valued and understood. 

By collaborating with AI to accelerate certain tasks, you can immerse yourself in the creative process of designing research methodologies, delving deeper into consumer insights, and building rapport with participants. Combining AI and human expertise allows you to deliver insights that are not only data-driven but consumer-centric.

The future of market research paints a picture wherein your role as a researcher isn’t rendered obsolete. Instead, AI helps you elevate your current research process to keep up with rapidly evolving consumer needs. From this, it’s safe to say that research in 2025 will be enhanced by AI but guided by humans.

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