2021 Analyst Value Survey shows analysts’ growing value (4 updates)

Looking at early data from the 2021 Analyst Value Survey, last year’s changes in analyst use are deepening. I gave a run-through of the Q1 findings to a group of survey sponsors on April 7th. In that discussion, four things struck us the most.

  • 1. Paid subscribers continue to fall as a percentage of all users. All of the six most-used analyst firms saw a decline in the percentage of their users who said they subscribed. That doesn’t mean the number of subscribers is falling but it does suggest the number of non-subscribers is growing more quickly.
  • 2. Free, freemium and vendor-funded research continues to grow its audience. HFS continues to be an extreme example of these firms. As long ago as 2014, it reported 120,000 subscribers. That number is probably higher today.
  • 3. Use is not the same as value. Of course, more users tend to be gained by firms that have valuable insights. However, premium firms offer a fuller range of services to a wider range of their clients. 120,000 free subscribers will get less value than 120,000 paying clients, especially because premium services supplement research with advisory time and inquiry services.
  • 4. Something weird is happening with Omdia. We need more qualitative data to understand what. On many measures, the firm’s value to users has fallen substantially. On others, it is rising. This can be put down only slightly to the recent creation of the brand. I’ve not seen such a confusing picture about a firm in 20 years of this study.

Two other trends are notable, but less surprising.

Over the last year, analyst users (both on the demand-side and the supply-side of the ICT markets) got much more 10% value from research, inquiry and advisory services.

Vendors, operators and channel partners got more value from business leads facilitated by analysts. Events fell in value massively. So far, it looks like all those trends will continue in the 2021 AVS and Analyst Firm Awards (new: Nominees listed here).

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