GfK buys Knowledge Networks, becomes even more enormous

GfK acquisitionsDon’t tell the little guys this, but when it comes to weathering the storm in a lethargic global economy, more often than not, in business size does matter. After all, the ability to diversify your revenue base widely across different regions helps you become somewhat resilient to the economic downturns inherent in specific countries or regions.

This has certainly helped Germany-based GfK, one of the largest market research companies on the planet.

This month the company announced it has acquired Knowledge Networks, a provider of online research products and services catering to the consumer packaged goods, health care, retail, media, government, and education sectors. The deal was a significant one for GfK, which stands for Growth from Knowledge. It gave it access to KnowledgePanel, the flagship panel Knowledge Networks offers to reach a vast representative sample of the US population.

More importantly, the acquisition strengthened GfK’s position in the US, the world’s largest market research market. According to Hoover’s First Research, the US market research services industry includes about 4,800 companies with combined annual revenue of about $16 billion. Major companies include Forrester Research, Gartner, IMS Health, SymphonyIRI, and Westat.

GfK tracks consumers’ tastes in and purchases of grocery and nonfood items, broadcast media, pharmaceuticals, and other merchandise and services worldwide. It competes for market share with other international market research firms like Nielsen, Ipsos, and the Kantar Group.

Adam Anderson

Adam Anderson is the managing editor of Bizmology. He has worked at Hoover's in several editor roles writing about various industries since 2004. He has his BS in media studies from the University of Texas. Follow Adam on Twitter.

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