The Impact of Data Ecosystems on the Market Research Sector

Originally published on, 20th October 2022.

In recent years, data ecosystems have gained in strength. The pandemic has sped up the influence of activities such as online shopping, digital wallets, content streaming, food deliveries and even digital healthcare. The world of inter-connected sets of services across multiple industry sectors delivered in an integrated customer experience is now here to stay.

What is a Data ecosystem? In brief, it is an ability to gather and combine data from numerous service providers and build value through the usage of that processed data. In the UK, Amazon is the ecosystem which jumps out immediately with its offer of shopping, TV and music. Tesco is another example offering groceries, mobile and banking services.

In Japan, even Amazon’s ecosystem is dwarfed by Rakuten. Rakuten, like Amazon, started life as an online shopping portal. Now there are 70+ businesses within the group, offering a broad range of online and offline services, including e-commerce, loyalty points, travel, digital content, financial services, mobile networks and professional sports. Animal lovers can even insure their pet dog! There is hardly any aspect of consumer lifestyle that goes untouched, unrewarded or unrecorded by Rakuten!

A successful ecosystem encourages participation through offering services with clear benefits such as economies of scale and cultivates a collaborative environment in which new ideas on monetizing data can flourish.

Rakuten Group is one of only a limited number of companies have the ability or potential to possess enough data to build a successful ecosystem as the requirements are very high. Services must be provided and used by a significant population of a large nation or internationally to ensure sufficient data coverage. Also, services must remain competitive across several sectors. Acquiring an ecosystem of existing would be too costly and associated risks too high.  

So, it is interesting to reflect on what impact these vast data ecosystems will have on the market research sector.

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