Quantitative Surveys: Key Considerations


Whether you’re a new FMCG brand trying to break into a category, a long-time player whose sales have seen a slight decline, or someone in-between, gaining insight from your consumers is vital to succeed.

Conducting a quantitative survey is a great way of gathering insight into the thoughts, feelings and opinions of consumers. As a quantitative survey is made of mostly close-ended questions, they are quick and easy for consumers to complete.

They have the potential for a brand to reach a wide range of respondents, producing a large amount of generalisable data in a short space of time. The data produced is based on facts and numbers so can be easily analysed to draw up objective conclusions.

Situations where a quantitative survey would be useful for a brand looking to conduct FMCG market research:

  1. Sales have slumped and the brand wants to understand why their product is no longer popular with the consumer.
  2. A brand has some new concept ideas and wants to gain insight from the consumers about which concept may be most successful.
  3. A start-up brand is wanting to enter the market but needs to understand what factors will affect consumer behaviour and how they can make the biggest impact.

Despite a quantitative survey being easy for the respondent to answer, they can be tricky to create. Here are 3 factors to consider when creating a quantitative survey.

Know Why The Research Is Being Carried Out  

research participant giving feedback

Before even beginning to write up survey questions a brand needs to have a clear research goal in mind. There is little point in creating a survey where questions are thrown in with the hope that something interesting might arise. This goal should be clear, attainable and not too vague.

It’s easy to create a blanket goal of ‘To understand consumer preference’, but the final data will be more nuanced if the goal delves deeper. For example, ‘To understand the key factors consumers look for when buying a cereal bar – is taste, health or price the most important factor?’.

Knowing what is wanted out of the FMCG market research will help make sure that every question counts. This will also stop the survey from being too long.

Keep The Respondent Engaged

quantitative research in progressWhen a respondent is answering a survey often, unless there is an incentive, they aren’t gaining anything. So, the least a brand can do is make sure that the respondent is suitably engaged and not bored to tears. A good way of doing this is by making sure the survey isn’t too long.

Limiting the number of questions makes it more likely that the respondent won’t get bored half-way through, leaving the brand with incomplete data. So really, it’s a win for both the consumer and the brand.

Don’t Project Personal Opinions Onto The Consumer

You’re really enjoying this extremely interesting and informative article, aren’t you?

Is an example of a leading question, and must be avoided at all costs to keep data as unbiased as possible. My wording and use of adjectives/adverbs subtly prompt the reader to answer yes to that question, which is bad practice in survey design.

If a brand phrases their survey questions to sway the respondent to the answers they want to hear, then they will produce inaccurate results. This may lead to decisions which hinder product success rather than enhance it.

So, brands need to make sure all their questions are as neutral as possible. And if using multiple choice answers, there needs to be the option to answer either negatively or neutrally, as well as positively.

A Mixed-Methods Approach

If a brand really wants to produce rich and detailed data, then they should consider using a mixed-methods approach. This would mean carrying out qualitative research as well. Examples of this include focus groups, interviews and online communities. Here at HRA Global, we can help you conduct all these methods including taste tests which we have found pair perfectly with quantitative surveys to produce insightful consumer feedback.

If you are an FMCG brand who thinks you could gain from our expertise in conducting quantitative and qualitative FMCG market research, please contact us at [email protected] or [email protected].

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