Don’t call it a comeback: Focus groups in a post-Covid world

HRA Global FMCG Consultants (2)

Don’t call it a comeback: Focus Groups in a post-Covid world

In a post-Covid world, face-to-face research is becoming increasingly important for brands across a range of industries. In solving complex business and brand challenges, it is proving essential to gain a clear and accurate view of the needs of consumers.

Our methodology ensures the best possible conditions for face-to-face research and ensures you get maximum value from the experience. In this article, we explore the benefits of face-to-face research, and how it can be used effectively in your food, agriculture or health and beauty business.

Why are focus groups important?

Focus groups are a great way of gaining detailed feedback from potential customers on almost any topic. This is ideal for exploratory research where we want to find out about consumer views in the skincare and beauty market, and ultimately get an idea of how we can address any consumer frustrations or product gaps. We can also gain feedback on product concepts or prototypes at the same time, allowing a level of breadth to suit the objectives of the research.

How are the focus groups arranged?

Our focus groups are often held in public venues in major cities including London, Bristol, and Manchester, with participants drawn from our 1,000 strong HRA Consumer Research Panel. Where there is an existing relationship, we are also able to hold focus groups in supermarket stores, allowing us to take respondents down to the skincare and beauty aisles and get feedback on their decision-making process in a real-life store environment.

instore experience


Moderated focus groups 101

Moderated market research groups are not a single methodology, but rather a framework of several powerful research tools in one. This richness of information is what makes this approach so insightful, leading to deeper understanding and actionable insights for you.

Face-to-face increases trust

Face-to-face research is the most effective way to get people to open up and tell their stories, and it’s growing again in popularity. Improvements in research technology over the last decade combined with a lack of trust consumers have in advertising (especially online) has made face-to-face market research more important than ever.

Face-to-face is on the rise

There’s always something to be said for learning from consumers in a multi-channel, data-rich world — through social media or in what we call an “online” focus group. But before we dismiss the face-to-face completely and settle for big data, it’s worth pointing out that the focus group is making a resurgence with many clients in the health and beauty sector.

Go deeper with your analysis

Consumer insight doesn’t stop at traditional surveys and data analytics. We harness our experience with product testing, listening tools like NPS/CSAT and social media listening to deliver actionable insights derived from exploring real consumer behaviours face to face.

new product development

Inform your decisions with high-quality data

Market research allows you to collect high-quality data from a representative sample of consumers, providing the insights key for developing and launching new product concepts and evaluating the effectiveness of your campaigns. Our market research is carried out to MRS Market Research standards, and we are specialists in using market research to inform your brand and business strategy and support you all the way into commercial execution. Insights from the research helps you identify opportunities that drive business growth.

Interested to learn more?

If you’re interested in conducting focus groups as part of your post-Covid research strategy, get in touch with our team today. We have experience working with brands across the food & drink, household, beauty, hygiene & health sectors, and we can help you get the most out of this valuable research method. Contact our Head of Client Relations, Roseanna Evans at

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