Consumer research is something that drives many decisions within most companies but is it always right?

Is consumer research always right? We have seen during recent elections and the EU referendum that research forecasts from on line polling have become unreliable whilst results are coated in caveats the forecast outcomes have been wrong.

They did not forecast the election result in 2010, they were wrong on the election in 2015 and they also forecast that the EU referendum result would be for remain.

Whilst it would seem acceptable for them to get some wrong to get the three most important results in the last six years wrong is a bit careless. They will claim this is not an exact science and that the results fall within “the

Margin of error”. Should their analyst have picked up that something was wrong and are their algorithms producing the wrong results? You would have expected them to get one right.

It might be that the base of respondents does not accurately represent the population on important political topics. A large proportion of the electorate will not be interested in completing online surveys and whilst demographically they may fall within a defined set of people, whose product consumption is similar, their political responses could be different.

This is however conjecture and as things stand online pollsters have something to answer for and perhaps their claims and results should be fully interrogated before being accepted and business decisions taken.