Editor’s note: Tobi Andersson is managing director, market research, Forsta, New York. 

Market research is entering a pivotal moment in its existence, and the modern consumer is driving industry-wide change. Even before the pandemic, social media was making a seismic impact on consumer behaviors and that has only become more of a factor as post-pandemic life settles in. The adoption of more permanent work-from-home policies changed the landscape, too, with Gallup reporting that only two in 10 remote-capable employees are currently working fully on-site while the rest work fully remote or hybrid.

All this has left market researchers working to utilize entirely new technologies and avenues for reaching and learning from their target audiences. Here’s how that will look in 2023.

The growth of digital options in areas from education to health care to shopping, along with remote work during the pandemic, has fundamentally changed the behavior of research participants. There’s an underlying consumer expectation today that everything we do can be accomplished in either a hybrid or fully digital fashion. From willingness to travel to the way we interact with different survey settings, this sentiment extends to market research. In-person studies are still making a comeback across the board as some industries shift away from remote life almost entirely, but the game-changing impact of digital solutions in verticals like health care are leading to continued scale and innovation for virtual qualitative research.

New opportunities continue to arise from said innovation – with qualitative research making itself at home online, researchers are finding opportunities to widen the scope of feedback they receive in regions and from demographics that would have previously been tougher to capture. The widespread adoption of video streaming, for example, is helping researchers to connect with those participants who...