Response rates decline – it’s time for action

The problem with declining response rates is well documented on both sides of the Atlantic. Where response rates are published these can, almost without exception, be shown to have declined over the last thirty years. Whatever method of data collection used, survey practitioners report that they have to work harder and spend more money to achieve balanced samples. It is arguably the most important issue facing market and media research today. Papers on response rates presented at past Symposia have examined reasons for non-response with the focus on the representation and accuracy of the data. What has been given second billing, however, is the potentially crippling rising cost that accompanies declining response. Inevitably, this extra cost gets passed on to the client until a point eventually when they will not be able to pay. We should not shy away from stating that for a number of clients today, the cost and speed of the research is deemed more important than the quality.

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