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Too many emails, but genuine compensation

After completing an initial screening survey to signup, Market Research 4 U sent 2-3 emails daily about the current market research opportunities that were available. These also included market research that I was not eligible for, as they do not seem to use the information provided in the signup form (such as my location). Once selected to take part, the process was quite quick to be booked in. Upon completing the required tasks, I was scheduled to receive a compensation payment a few weeks afterwards.

Date of experience : 17 May 2022

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Top 17 market research companies in the United States (US) 

5. pollfish, 6. ascendant consulting firm, 8. ready to launch research, 9. antedote, 10. b2b international, 13. nielsen, 15.  forrester research services, 16. momentive, 17. veridata insights.

Your company can’t navigate the constantly changing marketplace without understanding business landscapes, consumer needs, or buying habits. Market analysis is key to how you find and capitalize on market trends before your competitors do. You can start by outlining research goals and needs. But let’s be real, making data-driven decisions is a whole lot easier with top market research firms by your side. 

The right market research agencies, platforms and companies do more than just surveys to offer actionable insights so you can make smarter decisions for business growth. They make consumer research easy with strategic data collection, comprehensive data analysis, and intelligent insights. 

If you’re tired of searching through market research companies in the United States, this article leads you straight to the best ones out there.

Here’s a quick rundown of the top US market research companies:

Looking to dive deep into the minds of your target audience? Sign up for a demo to see how Attest makes it effortless to gain consumer insights from 125 million consumers across the globe. 

Attest market research survey company

Attest is one of the top market research companies in the US. This consumer research platform lets you collect data from 125 million diverse respondents in 59 countries. You can use Attest to do market research for branding , consumer profiling, market analysis, and much more! 

Every Attest customer has access to expert research advice from their in-house Customer Research Team. Whether you’re new to research and need some guidance, or a research pro looking for a second pair of eyes on your market research project, Attest’s Customer Research Team is here for you.

Besides speedy surveys and quick responses, this platform features an intuitive results dashboard that turns data into mesmerizing stories. You can also send surveys on a recurring basis to spot changes in responses or compare data from two groups. Plus, expert advice is only a click away when you aren’t sure about choosing market research tools or reaching market research goals.

Attest has been really instrumental in driving home the reality of the consumer need, and surfacing that it is much harder to get a younger demographic to engage with pensions. Georgie Burks , Head of Brand Marketing, Penfold

Trustpilot relied on the Attest market analysis solution to research consumer attitudes among marketers and engage them in eight key markets. Here’s what they think about the value Attest brings.

We were thinking about how businesses could look within their reviews and understand what was important to their consumers, but we didn’t actually know what the most important things consumers cared about were. So we decided the best way to find out was just to ask consumers themselves. Gillian Harris , Global Marketing Program Manager, Trustpilot

Location: London

Founded: 2015

Pricing: Pricing on request

Best for: 

  • Market analysis: unlocks new market opportunities
  • Brand tracking: measures brand health and performance
  • Creative testing: validates the creative impact of ad campaigns
  • Consumer profiling: dives deep into existing and future customers
  • New product development: tests product ideas or marketing messages with your target market

market research 4 u reviews

Get reliable consumer insights fast with Attest

With Attest you get high-speed insights, so you can make informed decisions when they matter. And you get designated research advice from the experts in the Customer Research Team—they’re with you at every step of your research journey!

Bixa is a market research studio specializing in mobile youth research and custom UX research services. Their qualitative and qualitative research offerings are best for those trying to validate new markets, gather product feedback, or understand the target audience better. 

Bixa US market research company

They make marketing research a breeze by completing the entire cycle of participant recruitment to report delivery in three to four weeks. Besides conducting customer surveys, user testing, and mobile ethnography, Bixa also offers market research consulting for companies looking to jumpstart their product and marketing research.

Location: Alexandria, Virginia

Founded: 2012

Pricing: Available on request

  • In-depth interviews
  • Product research
  • Hyper-profitable targeting
  • Customer surveys
  • Usability testing
  • Website and app review
  • Team coaching

Suzy market research platform

Suzy is a leading qualitative market research software with iterative research capabilities. Its end-to-end consumer insights platform offers qualitative insights into complex research questions. The best part is that you can get real-time data from Suzy’s proprietary audience of one million consumers. On the other hand, Attest offers a larger audience in more countries, making it ideal for those with market research campaigns spanning the globe. In addition, Attest provides designated advice from experienced researchers for all customers.

Suzy offers qualitative research solutions such as product development, advertising, shopper and behavioral insights, and tracking and measurement. Industries ranging from finance to media use Suzy to improve business performance through qualitative studies.

Location: New York

Founded: 2017

  • Concept testing
  • Competitive analysis
  • Consumer profiling
  • Positioning strategy
  • Shopper and category insights
  • Tracking research services
  • UX design research

Remesh US market research company

Remesh is one of the top market research firms in New York City. They offer artificial intelligence-driven research solutions to companies looking to streamline qualitative and quantitative insight discovery. This marketing research firm makes it easy for companies or governments to speak to thousands of customers or citizens at the same time. Then it analyzes interactions and opinions to offer key insights. 

Market researchers use Remesh to get actionable feedback on product ideas, messaging, and packaging from online focus groups. You can also use their online surveys to improve employee listening and boost corporate reputation. 

Founded: 2013

  • Packaging testing
  • Civic engagement
  • Consumer insights
  • Collective intelligence
  • Employee engagement
  • Shelf placement testing
  • Product issue identification
  • Employee experience and engagement

Pollfish market research software platform

Pollfish is a modern survey research platform that uses artificial intelligence to help you create surveys in seconds. This DIY market research company helps you gain real-time insights from over 250 million consumers worldwide. The platform also comes loaded with cutting-edge technology capabilities for dynamic sampling and random device engagement.

Attest is a great alternative to Pollfish for conducting primary market research. Attest’s platform detects bad-quality responses that contain non-relevant, incomplete, and conflicting answers. Additionally, Attest is much easier to use and provides advice from experienced researchers.

Pricing: Starts at $95

  • Brand awareness
  • Brand perceptions
  • Advertising testing
  • Logo testing
  • Brand diagnostics
  • Product concept testing

Ascendant consulting firm for market research in the US

Ascendant Consulting Firm is one of the best in the marketing research industry. They specialize in competitive intelligence, consumer insights, and market feasibility services. With 95+ years of collective experience in market research analysis, they help you make data-driven business decisions for business expansion, market entry, and assessments. 

The team at Ascendant is also adept at advanced quantitative analytics suitable for financial and strategic marketing analyses. Other key capabilities include full service market research, survey design, and secondary data research. 

Location: Miami

Founded: 2010

  • White label research
  • Product market research
  • Market opportunity evaluation
  • Survey reporting and analysis
  • Employee experience and satisfaction research
  • Consumer attitude, usage, and trends research

Isurus US market research services

Isurus offers bespoke market research services to B2B and technology companies. This market research company leverages multiple statistical analysis tools to help you gain a 360° understanding of markets and decision-makers. Moreover, they also make it effortless for you to evaluate competitors for competitive advantage or validate market opportunities. 

Business software, manufacturing, and financial services companies rely on Isurus to keep a pulse on what customers want and find the right pricing strategies. The team at Isurus can also help you with brand tracking and creative performance testing. They specialize in quantitative, qualitative, international, and secondary research.

Location: Burlington

Founded: 2000

  • Persona analysis
  • Competitor profiling 
  • Pricing strategy research
  • Brand perception research
  • Market segmentation research
  • Customer satisfaction analysis
  • Market assessment and planning
  • Brand audit, tracking, and management

Ready to Launch Research market research agency based in California

Ready to Launch Research is a California-based market research agency that serves a wide variety of industries with qualitative, quantitative, and digital research strategies. Whether you want to quantify consumer behavior or get qualitative consumer journey insights, they have the expertise to handle all your needs.

They leverage the following research methods to get you the insights you need.

  • Creative testing
  • Online discussions
  • Home use test (HUT)
  • Focus group moderation

Ready to Launch Research serves many dynamic industries ranging from pet to education to consumer electronics. Once you reach out to them with research requirements, they’ll get in touch to know more details and design the research process.  

Location: Los Angeles

Founded: 2014

  • Ethnography
  • Focus group discussions
  • Advertising research
  • Online communities research services

Antedote US market research consultancy

Antedote is an innovation consultancy that delivers strategic market research insights by combining data science, in-depth research, and next-generation digital tools. What makes them different is their ability to use different qualitative and quantitative research tools instead of relying on a one-size-fits-all approach. 

The team at Antedote helps you uncover insights in various areas such as user research, cultural research, and scenario planning. You can also partner with them for creating innovation roadmaps or concept development and visualization. Antedote’s plug-and-play approach means you have an agile and collaborative team that makes problem-solving easy with guidelines and blueprints. 

Location: San Francisco

  • Brand positioning
  • Concept crafting
  • Demand space segmentation
  • Internal engagement programs
  • Price and proposition optimization
  • Product and portfolio development
  • Workshop design and facilitation

B2B International market research agency

B2B International by Merkle is one the largest market research agencies in London , with several locations in the United States. This market research company serves B2B companies looking to gather business insights and intelligence. They can help you with customer loyalty testing, pricing effectiveness, and market size analysis. 

B2B International also specializes in delivering research services for go-to-market strategy, customer journey mapping, and voice-of-customer surveys. Their experience of working across different industries ranging from chemicals to media to logistics makes them uniquely qualified for B2B market research. 

Location: London (with offices in Boston, Chicago and New York)

Founded: 1998

  • Market sizing research
  • Customer journey research
  • Thought leadership research
  • Product and proposition research
  • Customer research and segmentation

Ipsos market research company for US and international market research

Ipsos is one of the top market research companies trusted by top brands and companies across the Americas, Africa, the Middle East and Europe. Besides market strategy and innovation services, Ipsos also offers marketing management analytics, brand health tracking, and advisory services. 

With tailored market research solutions for every need, Ipsos helps you optimize brand positioning, discover shopper journeys, and understand consumers. The team can also help you with product testing, package research, and creative idea assessment. Other services include brand health tracking, employee engagement research, and channel performance optimization. 

Location: Paris (with locations in New York)

Founded: 1975

  • Mystery shopping
  • Brand health research
  • User experience study
  • Innovation and forecasting
  • Social intelligence analysis 
  • Creative development and assessment

Dynata market research data platform

Dynata is a first-party data platform that helps you gather and analyze business intelligence for efficient decision-making. Their platform streamlines the entire research workflow so you can focus more on insights. Dynata lets you ask questions to their proprietary 67 million consumers and visualize those responses effortlessly. 

The Dynata insights platform lets you build surveys for concept testing, creative testing, and ad-hoc market research. Other research services include market segmentation, brand health monitoring, campaign measurement, and voice of the customer surveys. With real-time dashboards and research reports, Dynata makes it easy for you to gain useful data insights. 

Location: Plano, Texas

Founded: 1940

  • Survey authoring
  • Digital ethnography
  • Online research panel
  • Online qualitative research
  • Data analytics and reporting
  • Brand performance tracking

Nielsen US based market research company

Nielsen is a global data, analytics, and audience measurement company that offers bespoke research solutions to help you discover audience intelligence across channels and platforms. This market research company divides its services into four core categories:

  • Media planning
  • Content metadata
  • Marketing optimization
  • Audience measurement

Audience measurement is all about using quantitative and qualitative research to discover shifting habits of audiences. Media planning, on the other hand, offers a comprehensive understanding of competitive intelligence, audience segmentation, and scenario planning. Marketing optimization research services help you analyze and boost campaign performance. Finally, content metadata improves customer experience with easy audio and video content discovery.

Founded: 1923

  • Scenario planning
  • Competitive intelligence
  • Audience segmentation
  • Cross-platform audience measurement
  • Marketing campaign performance analysis

Westat US market research company

Westat is a 100% employee-owned market research company that delivers superior quantitative and qualitative research services in transportation, health, social policy, and education. They specialize in survey research, statistical sciences, and providing technical assistance. 

Westat’s expertise in integrated data collection strategies helps them create focus groups, run web surveys, and create questionnaires for finding the right data. Plus, they use a research-driven communications framework to engage audiences effortlessly. They also use machine learning and artificial intelligence-assisted interviewing systems to solve your research challenges. 

Location: Rockville

Founded: 1963

  • Custom research
  • Clinical trials
  • Survey and analytical needs
  • Biomedical science research
  • Behavioral health and health policy research

Firrester Research Services is a US based market research company

Forrester Research Services is the market research wing of the global research and advisory firm Forrester. Their customer-obsessed approach helps companies turn their strategic research needs into reality. They currently offer market research services to companies in technology, sales, B2B marketing, product, B2C marketing, customer experience, and digital business space. 

Forrester offers research services in the following domains:

  • Sales operations optimization
  • Marketing strategy formulation
  • Competitive market intelligence
  • Product lifecycle process research
  • Corporate communications strategy
  • Integrated campaign strategy planning
  • Business change management strategy
  • Customer insights collection and analysis
  • Customer acquisition and retention research
  • Route-to-market configuration and optimization
  • Account-based marketing and demand generation research 

Location: Cambridge

Founded: 1983

  • Public sector research
  • Sales and product management 
  • Customer experience analysis
  • Digital business transformation
  • B2B and B2C marketing research

Momentive AI market research platform

Momentive is an artificial intelligence-powered market research platform that helps you gather on-demand customer and market feedback for actionable insights. This market research company is known for its agile experience management solution that lets you better understand markets, competitors, or even internal teams.

Their purpose-built market insights solutions offer you actionable insights from consumer panels. You can also decode buyer attitudes, understand consumer segments, and monitor buyer preferences. Mometive’s AI solutions also make it easy for you to conduct customer experience research, track product experience, and transform employee engagement. 

Location: San Mateo

Founded: 1999

  • Market sizing
  • Idea screening
  • Industry tracking
  • Shopper insights
  • Customer effort score
  • Mobile app experience 
  • Customer segmentation
  • Post-purchase experience
  • Product and price optimization
  • Custom market research services
  • Employee engagement and retention

Veridata Insights US market research company

Veridata Insights is another top-rated market research company with recruitment capabilities to serve 100+ countries. Whether you want to analyze complex data with quantitative methodologies or need qualitative insights, they can help you with it all. 

The team at Veridata Insights strives to deliver stress-free, budget-friendly, and timely research services that keep you ahead of the competition. Apart from their proprietary technology and global reach, they’re known for data quality and panel strength. They can also help you gather business intelligence with data processing and easy-to-understand dashboards. 

Location: Dallas

Founded: 2019

  • Consumer research
  • Online data collection
  • Survey programming
  • B2B audience research
  • Dashboards and analytics

Break into your US target market with Attest

Choosing the right agency isn’t easy, especially with so many players in the market research industry. Businesses often struggle with finding one that delivers accurate and valuable insights while simplifying their findings. Plus, the biggest challenge is targeting the right audience that matters to your business. 

Attest solves all these problems by letting you handpick the target audience you want to reach. You can use filters and quotas to filter the most appropriate audience from 125 million people in 59 countries. Moreover, the platform empowers you to run surveys that bring in results in days instead of weeks. With hybrid research and a three-layer data quality check, you’ll never have any nonsense answers. And you also get to interact with the data, thanks to the interactive dashboard. 

Ready to transform your business with easy-to-access consumer insights? Sign up for a dem o to see how Attest can be your ally in conducting market research effortlessly.

Make decisions based on reliable consumer insighs

Insights with Attest are triple-checked for data quality, so you know that you’re making smart decisions based on data you can trust.

market research 4 u reviews

Nikos Nikolaidis

Customer Research Manager 

Nikos joined Attest in 2019, with a strong background in psychology and market research. As part of Customer Research Team, Nikos focuses on helping brands uncover insights to achieve their objectives and open new opportunities for growth.

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How to do market research in 4 steps: a lean approach to marketing research

From pinpointing your target audience and assessing your competitive advantage, to ongoing product development and customer satisfaction efforts, market research is a practice your business can only benefit from.

Learn how to conduct quick and effective market research using a lean approach in this article full of strategies and practical examples. 

market research 4 u reviews

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market research 4 u reviews

A comprehensive (and successful) business strategy is not complete without some form of market research—you can’t make informed and profitable business decisions without truly understanding your customer base and the current market trends that drive your business.

In this article, you’ll learn how to conduct quick, effective market research  using an approach called 'lean market research'. It’s easier than you might think, and it can be done at any stage in a product’s lifecycle.

How to conduct lean market research in 4 steps

What is market research, why is market research so valuable, advantages of lean market research, 4 common market research methods, 5 common market research questions, market research faqs.

We’ll jump right into our 4-step approach to lean market research. To show you how it’s done in the real world, each step includes a practical example from Smallpdf , a Swiss company that used lean market research to reduce their tool’s error rate by 75% and boost their Net Promoter Score® (NPS) by 1%.

Research your market the lean way...

From on-page surveys to user interviews, Hotjar has the tools to help you scope out your market and get to know your customers—without breaking the bank.

The following four steps and practical examples will give you a solid market research plan for understanding who your users are and what they want from a company like yours.

1. Create simple user personas

A user persona is a semi-fictional character based on psychographic and demographic data from people who use websites and products similar to your own. Start by defining broad user categories, then elaborate on them later to further segment your customer base and determine your ideal customer profile .

How to get the data: use on-page or emailed surveys and interviews to understand your users and what drives them to your business.

How to do it right: whatever survey or interview questions you ask, they should answer the following questions about the customer:

Who are they?

What is their main goal?

What is their main barrier to achieving this goal?

Pitfalls to avoid:

Don’t ask too many questions! Keep it to five or less, otherwise you’ll inundate them and they’ll stop answering thoughtfully.

Don’t worry too much about typical demographic questions like age or background. Instead, focus on the role these people play (as it relates to your product) and their goals.

How Smallpdf did it: Smallpdf ran an on-page survey for a couple of weeks and received 1,000 replies. They learned that many of their users were administrative assistants, students, and teachers.

#One of the five survey questions Smallpdf asked their users

Next, they used the survey results to create simple user personas like this one for admins:

Who are they? Administrative Assistants.

What is their main goal? Creating Word documents from a scanned, hard-copy document or a PDF where the source file was lost.

What is their main barrier to achieving it? Converting a scanned PDF doc to a Word file.

💡Pro tip: Smallpdf used Hotjar Surveys to run their user persona survey. Our survey tool helped them avoid the pitfalls of guesswork and find out who their users really are, in their own words. 

You can design a survey and start running it in minutes with our easy-to-use drag and drop builder. Customize your survey to fit your needs, from a sleek one-question pop-up survey to a fully branded questionnaire sent via email. 

We've also created 40+ free survey templates that you can start collecting data with, including a user persona survey like the one Smallpdf used.

2. Conduct observational research

Observational research involves taking notes while watching someone use your product (or a similar product).

Overt vs. covert observation

Overt observation involves asking customers if they’ll let you watch them use your product. This method is often used for user testing and it provides a great opportunity for collecting live product or customer feedback .

Covert observation means studying users ‘in the wild’ without them knowing. This method works well if you sell a type of product that people use regularly, and it offers the purest observational data because people often behave differently when they know they’re being watched. 

Tips to do it right:

Record an entry in your field notes, along with a timestamp, each time an action or event occurs.

Make note of the users' workflow, capturing the ‘what,’ ‘why,’ and ‘for whom’ of each action.

#Sample of field notes taken by Smallpdf

Don’t record identifiable video or audio data without consent. If recording people using your product is helpful for achieving your research goal, make sure all participants are informed and agree to the terms.

Don’t forget to explain why you’d like to observe them (for overt observation). People are more likely to cooperate if you tell them you want to improve the product.

💡Pro tip: while conducting field research out in the wild can wield rewarding results, you can also conduct observational research remotely. Hotjar Recordings is a tool that lets you capture anonymized user sessions of real people interacting with your website. 

Observe how customers navigate your pages and products to gain an inside look into their user behavior . This method is great for conducting exploratory research with the purpose of identifying more specific issues to investigate further, like pain points along the customer journey and opportunities for optimizing conversion .

With Hotjar Recordings you can observe real people using your site without capturing their sensitive information

How Smallpdf did it: here’s how Smallpdf observed two different user personas both covertly and overtly.

Observing students (covert): Kristina Wagner, Principle Product Manager at Smallpdf, went to cafes and libraries at two local universities and waited until she saw students doing PDF-related activities. Then she watched and took notes from a distance. One thing that struck her was the difference between how students self-reported their activities vs. how they behaved (i.e, the self-reporting bias). Students, she found, spent hours talking, listening to music, or simply staring at a blank screen rather than working. When she did find students who were working, she recorded the task they were performing and the software they were using (if she recognized it).

Observing administrative assistants (overt): Kristina sent emails to admins explaining that she’d like to observe them at work, and she asked those who agreed to try to batch their PDF work for her observation day. While watching admins work, she learned that they frequently needed to scan documents into PDF-format and then convert those PDFs into Word docs. By observing the challenges admins faced, Smallpdf knew which products to target for improvement.

“Data is really good for discovery and validation, but there is a bit in the middle where you have to go and find the human.”

3. Conduct individual interviews

Interviews are one-on-one conversations with members of your target market. They allow you to dig deep and explore their concerns, which can lead to all sorts of revelations.

Listen more, talk less. Be curious.

Act like a journalist, not a salesperson. Rather than trying to talk your company up, ask people about their lives, their needs, their frustrations, and how a product like yours could help.

Ask "why?" so you can dig deeper. Get into the specifics and learn about their past behavior.

Record the conversation. Focus on the conversation and avoid relying solely on notes by recording the interview. There are plenty of services that will transcribe recorded conversations for a good price (including Hotjar!).

Avoid asking leading questions , which reveal bias on your part and pushes respondents to answer in a certain direction (e.g. “Have you taken advantage of the amazing new features we just released?).

Don't ask loaded questions , which sneak in an assumption which, if untrue, would make it impossible to answer honestly. For example, we can’t ask you, “What did you find most useful about this article?” without asking whether you found the article useful in the first place.

Be cautious when asking opinions about the future (or predictions of future behavior). Studies suggest that people aren’t very good at predicting their future behavior. This is due to several cognitive biases, from the misguided exceptionalism bias (we’re good at guessing what others will do, but we somehow think we’re different), to the optimism bias (which makes us see things with rose-colored glasses), to the ‘illusion of control’ (which makes us forget the role of randomness in future events).

How Smallpdf did it: Kristina explored her teacher user persona by speaking with university professors at a local graduate school. She learned that the school was mostly paperless and rarely used PDFs, so for the sake of time, she moved on to the admins.

A bit of a letdown? Sure. But this story highlights an important lesson: sometimes you follow a lead and come up short, so you have to make adjustments on the fly. Lean market research is about getting solid, actionable insights quickly so you can tweak things and see what works.

💡Pro tip: to save even more time, conduct remote interviews using an online user research service like Hotjar Engage , which automates the entire interview process, from recruitment and scheduling to hosting and recording.

You can interview your own customers or connect with people from our diverse pool of 200,000+ participants from 130+ countries and 25 industries. And no need to fret about taking meticulous notes—Engage will automatically transcribe the interview for you.

4. Analyze the data (without drowning in it)

The following techniques will help you wrap your head around the market data you collect without losing yourself in it. Remember, the point of lean market research is to find quick, actionable insights.

A flow model is a diagram that tracks the flow of information within a system. By creating a simple visual representation of how users interact with your product and each other, you can better assess their needs.

#Example of a flow model designed by Smallpdf

You’ll notice that admins are at the center of Smallpdf’s flow model, which represents the flow of PDF-related documents throughout a school. This flow model shows the challenges that admins face as they work to satisfy their own internal and external customers.

Affinity diagram

An affinity diagram is a way of sorting large amounts of data into groups to better understand the big picture. For example, if you ask your users about their profession, you’ll notice some general themes start to form, even though the individual responses differ. Depending on your needs, you could group them by profession, or more generally by industry.

<

We wrote a guide about how to analyze open-ended questions to help you sort through and categorize large volumes of response data. You can also do this by hand by clipping up survey responses or interview notes and grouping them (which is what Kristina does).

“For an interview, you will have somewhere between 30 and 60 notes, and those notes are usually direct phrases. And when you literally cut them up into separate pieces of paper and group them, they should make sense by themselves.”

Pro tip: if you’re conducting an online survey with Hotjar, keep your team in the loop by sharing survey responses automatically via our Slack and Microsoft Team integrations. Reading answers as they come in lets you digest the data in pieces and can help prepare you for identifying common themes when it comes time for analysis.

Hotjar lets you easily share survey responses with your team

Customer journey map

A customer journey map is a diagram that shows the way a typical prospect becomes a paying customer. It outlines their first interaction with your brand and every step in the sales cycle, from awareness to repurchase (and hopefully advocacy).

#A customer journey map example

The above  customer journey map , created by our team at Hotjar, shows many ways a customer might engage with our tool. Your map will be based on your own data and business model.

📚 Read more: if you’re new to customer journey maps, we wrote this step-by-step guide to creating your first customer journey map in 2 and 1/2 days with free templates you can download and start using immediately.

Next steps: from research to results

So, how do you turn market research insights into tangible business results? Let’s look at the actions Smallpdf took after conducting their lean market research: first they implemented changes, then measured the impact.

#Smallpdf used lean market research to dig below the surface, understand their clients, and build a better product and user experience

Implement changes

Based on what Smallpdf learned about the challenges that one key user segment (admins) face when trying to convert PDFs into Word files, they improved their ‘PDF to Word’ conversion tool.

We won’t go into the details here because it involves a lot of technical jargon, but they made the entire process simpler and more straightforward for users. Plus, they made it so that their system recognized when you drop a PDF file into their ‘Word to PDF’ converter instead of the ‘PDF to Word’ converter, so users wouldn’t have to redo the task when they made that mistake. 

In other words: simple market segmentation for admins showed a business need that had to be accounted for, and customers are happier overall after Smallpdf implemented an informed change to their product.

Measure results

According to the Lean UX model, product and UX changes aren’t retained unless they achieve results.

Smallpdf’s changes produced:

A 75% reduction in error rate for the ‘PDF to Word’ converter

A 1% increase in NPS

Greater confidence in the team’s marketing efforts

"With all the changes said and done, we've cut our original error rate in four, which is huge. We increased our NPS by +1%, which isn't huge, but it means that of the users who received a file, they were still slightly happier than before, even if they didn't notice that anything special happened at all.”

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Market research (or marketing research) is any set of techniques used to gather information and better understand a company’s target market. This might include primary research on brand awareness and customer satisfaction or secondary market research on market size and competitive analysis. Businesses use this information to design better products, improve user experience, and craft a marketing strategy that attracts quality leads and improves conversion rates.

David Darmanin, one of Hotjar’s founders, launched two startups before Hotjar took off—but both companies crashed and burned. Each time, he and his team spent months trying to design an amazing new product and user experience, but they failed because they didn’t have a clear understanding of what the market demanded.

With Hotjar, they did things differently . Long story short, they conducted market research in the early stages to figure out what consumers really wanted, and the team made (and continues to make) constant improvements based on market and user research.

Without market research, it’s impossible to understand your users. Sure, you might have a general idea of who they are and what they need, but you have to dig deep if you want to win their loyalty.

Here’s why research matters:

Obsessing over your users is the only way to win. If you don’t care deeply about them, you’ll lose potential customers to someone who does.

Analytics gives you the ‘what’, while research gives you the ‘why’. Big data, user analytics , and dashboards can tell you what people do at scale, but only research can tell you what they’re thinking and why they do what they do. For example, analytics can tell you that customers leave when they reach your pricing page, but only research can explain why.

Research beats assumptions, trends, and so-called best practices. Have you ever watched your colleagues rally behind a terrible decision? Bad ideas are often the result of guesswork, emotional reasoning, death by best practices , and defaulting to the Highest Paid Person’s Opinion (HiPPO). By listening to your users and focusing on their customer experience , you’re less likely to get pulled in the wrong direction.

Research keeps you from planning in a vacuum. Your team might be amazing, but you and your colleagues simply can’t experience your product the way your customers do. Customers might use your product in a way that surprises you, and product features that seem obvious to you might confuse them. Over-planning and refusing to test your assumptions is a waste of time, money, and effort because you’ll likely need to make changes once your untested business plan gets put into practice.

Lean User Experience (UX) design is a model for continuous improvement that relies on quick, efficient research to understand customer needs and test new product features.

Lean market research can help you become more...

Efficient: it gets you closer to your customers, faster.

Cost-effective: no need to hire an expensive marketing firm to get things started.

Competitive: quick, powerful insights can place your products on the cutting edge.

As a small business or sole proprietor, conducting lean market research is an attractive option when investing in a full-blown research project might seem out of scope or budget.

There are lots of different ways you could conduct market research and collect customer data, but you don’t have to limit yourself to just one research method. Four common types of market research techniques include surveys, interviews, focus groups, and customer observation.

Which method you use may vary based on your business type: ecommerce business owners have different goals from SaaS businesses, so it’s typically prudent to mix and match these methods based on your particular goals and what you need to know.

1. Surveys: the most commonly used

Surveys are a form of qualitative research that ask respondents a short series of open- or closed-ended questions, which can be delivered as an on-screen questionnaire or via email. When we asked 2,000 Customer Experience (CX) professionals about their company’s approach to research , surveys proved to be the most commonly used market research technique.

What makes online surveys so popular?  

They’re easy and inexpensive to conduct, and you can do a lot of data collection quickly. Plus, the data is pretty straightforward to analyze, even when you have to analyze open-ended questions whose answers might initially appear difficult to categorize.

We've built a number of survey templates ready and waiting for you. Grab a template and share with your customers in just a few clicks.

💡 Pro tip: you can also get started with Hotjar AI for Surveys to create a survey in mere seconds . Just enter your market research goal and watch as the AI generates a survey and populates it with relevant questions. 

Once you’re ready for data analysis, the AI will prepare an automated research report that succinctly summarizes key findings, quotes, and suggested next steps.

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An example research report generated by Hotjar AI for Surveys

2. Interviews: the most insightful

Interviews are one-on-one conversations with members of your target market. Nothing beats a face-to-face interview for diving deep (and reading non-verbal cues), but if an in-person meeting isn’t possible, video conferencing is a solid second choice.

Regardless of how you conduct it, any type of in-depth interview will produce big benefits in understanding your target customers.

What makes interviews so insightful?

By speaking directly with an ideal customer, you’ll gain greater empathy for their experience , and you can follow insightful threads that can produce plenty of 'Aha!' moments.

3. Focus groups: the most unreliable

Focus groups bring together a carefully selected group of people who fit a company’s target market. A trained moderator leads a conversation surrounding the product, user experience, or marketing message to gain deeper insights.

What makes focus groups so unreliable?

If you’re new to market research, we wouldn’t recommend starting with focus groups. Doing it right is expensive , and if you cut corners, your research could fall victim to all kinds of errors. Dominance bias (when a forceful participant influences the group) and moderator style bias (when different moderator personalities bring about different results in the same study) are two of the many ways your focus group data could get skewed.

4. Observation: the most powerful

During a customer observation session, someone from the company takes notes while they watch an ideal user engage with their product (or a similar product from a competitor).

What makes observation so clever and powerful?

‘Fly-on-the-wall’ observation is a great alternative to focus groups. It’s not only less expensive, but you’ll see people interact with your product in a natural setting without influencing each other. The only downside is that you can’t get inside their heads, so observation still isn't a recommended replacement for customer surveys and interviews.

The following questions will help you get to know your users on a deeper level when you interview them. They’re general questions, of course, so don’t be afraid to make them your own.

1. Who are you and what do you do?

How you ask this question, and what you want to know, will vary depending on your business model (e.g. business-to-business marketing is usually more focused on someone’s profession than business-to-consumer marketing).

It’s a great question to start with, and it’ll help you understand what’s relevant about your user demographics (age, race, gender, profession, education, etc.), but it’s not the be-all-end-all of market research. The more specific questions come later.

2. What does your day look like?

This question helps you understand your users’ day-to-day life and the challenges they face. It will help you gain empathy for them, and you may stumble across something relevant to their buying habits.

3. Do you ever purchase [product/service type]?

This is a ‘yes or no’ question. A ‘yes’ will lead you to the next question.

4. What problem were you trying to solve or what goal were you trying to achieve?

This question strikes to the core of what someone’s trying to accomplish and why they might be willing to pay for your solution.

5. Take me back to the day when you first decided you needed to solve this kind of problem or achieve this goal.

This is the golden question, and it comes from Adele Revella, Founder and CEO of Buyer Persona Institute . It helps you get in the heads of your users and figure out what they were thinking the day they decided to spend money to solve a problem.

If you take your time with this question, digging deeper where it makes sense, you should be able to answer all the relevant information you need to understand their perspective.

“The only scripted question I want you to ask them is this one: take me back to the day when you first decided that you needed to solve this kind of problem or achieve this kind of a goal. Not to buy my product, that’s not the day. We want to go back to the day that when you thought it was urgent and compelling to go spend money to solve a particular problem or achieve a goal. Just tell me what happened.”

— Adele Revella , Founder/CEO at Buyer Persona Institute

Bonus question: is there anything else you’d like to tell me?

This question isn’t just a nice way to wrap it up—it might just give participants the opportunity they need to tell you something you really need to know.

That’s why Sarah Doody, author of UX Notebook , adds it to the end of her written surveys.

“I always have a last question, which is just open-ended: “Is there anything else you would like to tell me?” And sometimes, that’s where you get four paragraphs of amazing content that you would never have gotten if it was just a Net Promoter Score [survey] or something like that.”

What is the difference between qualitative and quantitative research?

Qualitative research asks questions that can’t be reduced to a number, such as, “What is your job title?” or “What did you like most about your customer service experience?” 

Quantitative research asks questions that can be answered with a numeric value, such as, “What is your annual salary?” or “How was your customer service experience on a scale of 1-5?”

 → Read more about the differences between qualitative and quantitative user research .

How do I do my own market research?

You can do your own quick and effective market research by 

Surveying your customers

Building user personas

Studying your users through interviews and observation

Wrapping your head around your data with tools like flow models, affinity diagrams, and customer journey maps

What is the difference between market research and user research?

Market research takes a broad look at potential customers—what problems they’re trying to solve, their buying experience, and overall demand. User research, on the other hand, is more narrowly focused on the use (and usability ) of specific products.

What are the main criticisms of market research?

Many marketing professionals are critical of market research because it can be expensive and time-consuming. It’s often easier to convince your CEO or CMO to let you do lean market research rather than something more extensive because you can do it yourself. It also gives you quick answers so you can stay ahead of the competition.

Do I need a market research firm to get reliable data?

Absolutely not! In fact, we recommend that you start small and do it yourself in the beginning. By following a lean market research strategy, you can uncover some solid insights about your clients. Then you can make changes, test them out, and see whether the results are positive. This is an excellent strategy for making quick changes and remaining competitive.

Net Promoter, Net Promoter System, Net Promoter Score, NPS, and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld, and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.

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Geoff Whiting

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What Is Market Research?

  • How It Works
  • Primary vs. Secondary
  • How to Conduct Research

The Bottom Line

  • Marketing Essentials

How to Do Market Research, Types, and Example

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Joules Garcia / Investopedia

The term market research refers to the process of evaluating the viability of a new service or product through research conducted directly with potential customers. It allows a company to define its target market and get opinions and other feedback from consumers about their interest in a product or service.

Research may be conducted in-house or by a third party that specializes in market research. It can be done through surveys and focus groups, among other ways. Test subjects are usually compensated with product samples or a small stipend for their time.

Key Takeaways

  • Companies conduct market research before introducing new products to determine their appeal to potential customers.
  • Tools include focus groups, telephone interviews, and questionnaires.
  • The results of market research inform the final design of the product and determine how it will be positioned in the marketplace.
  • Market research usually combines primary information, gathered directly from consumers, and secondary information, which is data available from external sources.

Market Research

How market research works.

Market research is used to determine the viability of a new product or service. The results may be used to revise the product design and fine-tune the strategy for introducing it to the public. This can include information gathered for the purpose of determining market segmentation . It also informs product differentiation , which is used to tailor advertising.

A business engages in various tasks to complete the market research process. It gathers information based on the market sector being targeted by the product. This information is then analyzed and relevant data points are interpreted to draw conclusions about how the product may be optimally designed and marketed to the market segment for which it is intended.

It is a critical component in the research and development (R&D) phase of a new product or service introduction. Market research can be conducted in a number of different ways, including surveys, product testing, interviews, and focus groups

Market research is a critical tool that companies use to understand what consumers want, develop products that those consumers will use, and maintain a competitive advantage over other companies in their industry.

Primary Market Research vs. Secondary Market Research

Market research usually consists of a combination of:

  • Primary research, gathered by the company or by an outside company that it hires
  • Secondary research, which draws on external sources of data

Primary Market Research

Primary research generally falls into two categories: exploratory and specific research.

  • Exploratory research is less structured and functions via open-ended questions. The questions may be posed in a focus group setting, telephone interviews, or questionnaires. It results in questions or issues that the company needs to address about a product that it has under development.
  • Specific research delves more deeply into the problems or issues identified in exploratory research.

Secondary Market Research

All market research is informed by the findings of other researchers about the needs and wants of consumers. Today, much of this research can be found online.

Secondary research can include population information from government census data , trade association research reports , polling results, and research from other businesses operating in the same market sector.

History of Market Research

Formal market research began in Germany during the 1920s. In the United States, it soon took off with the advent of the Golden Age of Radio.

Companies that created advertisements for this new entertainment medium began to look at the demographics of the audiences who listened to each of the radio plays, music programs, and comedy skits that were presented.

They had once tried to reach the widest possible audience by placing their messages on billboards or in the most popular magazines. With radio programming, they had the chance to target rural or urban consumers, teenagers or families, and judge the results by the sales numbers that followed.

Types of Market Research

Face-to-face interviews.

From their earliest days, market research companies would interview people on the street about the newspapers and magazines that they read regularly and ask whether they recalled any of the ads or brands that were published in them. Data collected from these interviews were compared to the circulation of the publication to determine the effectiveness of those ads.

Market research and surveys were adapted from these early techniques.

To get a strong understanding of your market, it’s essential to understand demand, market size, economic indicators, location, market saturation, and pricing.

Focus Groups

A focus group is a small number of representative consumers chosen to try a product or watch an advertisement.

Afterward, the group is asked for feedback on their perceptions of the product, the company’s brand, or competing products. The company then takes that information and makes decisions about what to do with the product or service, whether that's releasing it, making changes, or abandoning it altogether.

Phone Research

The man-on-the-street interview technique soon gave way to the telephone interview. A telephone interviewer could collect information in a more efficient and cost-effective fashion.

Telephone research was a preferred tactic of market researchers for many years. It has become much more difficult in recent years as landline phone service dwindles and is replaced by less accessible mobile phones.

Survey Research

As an alternative to focus groups, surveys represent a cost-effective way to determine consumer attitudes without having to interview anyone in person. Consumers are sent surveys in the mail, usually with a coupon or voucher to incentivize participation. These surveys help determine how consumers feel about the product, brand, and price point.

Online Market Research

With people spending more time online, market research activities have shifted online as well. Data collection still uses a survey-style form. But instead of companies actively seeking participants by finding them on the street or cold calling them on the phone, people can choose to sign up and take surveys and offer opinions when they have time.

This makes the process far less intrusive and less rushed, since people can participate on their own time and of their own volition.

How to Conduct Market Research

The first step to effective market research is to determine the goals of the study. Each study should seek to answer a clear, well-defined problem. For example, a company might seek to identify consumer preferences, brand recognition, or the comparative effectiveness of different types of ad campaigns.

After that, the next step is to determine who will be included in the research. Market research is an expensive process, and a company cannot waste resources collecting unnecessary data. The firm should decide in advance which types of consumers will be included in the research, and how the data will be collected. They should also account for the probability of statistical errors or sampling bias .

The next step is to collect the data and analyze the results. If the two previous steps have been completed accurately, this should be straightforward. The researchers will collect the results of their study, keeping track of the ages, gender, and other relevant data of each respondent. This is then analyzed in a marketing report that explains the results of their research.

The last step is for company executives to use their market research to make business decisions. Depending on the results of their research, they may choose to target a different group of consumers, or they may change their price point or some product features.

The results of these changes may eventually be measured in further market research, and the process will begin all over again.

Benefits of Market Research

Market research is essential for developing brand loyalty and customer satisfaction. Since it is unlikely for a product to appeal equally to every consumer, a strong market research program can help identify the key demographics and market segments that are most likely to use a given product.

Market research is also important for developing a company’s advertising efforts. For example, if a company’s market research determines that its consumers are more likely to use Facebook than X (formerly Twitter), it can then target its advertisements to one platform instead of another. Or, if they determine that their target market is value-sensitive rather than price-sensitive, they can work on improving the product rather than reducing their prices.

Market research only works when subjects are honest and open to participating.

Example of Market Research

Many companies use market research to test new products or get information from consumers about what kinds of products or services they need and don’t currently have.

For example, a company that’s considering starting a business might conduct market research to test the viability of its product or service. If the market research confirms consumer interest, the business can proceed confidently with its business plan . If not, the company can use the results of the market research to make adjustments to the product to bring it in line with customer desires.

What Are the Main Types of Market Research?

The main types of market research are primary research and secondary research. Primary research includes focus groups, polls, and surveys. Secondary research includes academic articles, infographics, and white papers.

Qualitative research gives insights into how customers feel and think. Quantitative research uses data and statistics such as website views, social media engagement, and subscriber numbers.

What Is Online Market Research?

Online market research uses the same strategies and techniques as traditional primary and secondary market research, but it is conducted on the internet. Potential customers may be asked to participate in a survey or give feedback on a product. The responses may help the researchers create a profile of the likely customer for a new product.

What Are Paid Market Research Surveys?

Paid market research involves rewarding individuals who agree to participate in a study. They may be offered a small payment for their time or a discount coupon in return for filling out a questionnaire or participating in a focus group.

What Is a Market Study?

A market study is an analysis of consumer demand for a product or service. It looks at all of the factors that influence demand for a product or service. These include the product’s price, location, competition, and substitutes as well as general economic factors that could influence the new product’s adoption, for better or worse.

Market research is a key component of a company’s research and development (R&D) stage. It helps companies understand in advance the viability of a new product that they have in development and to see how it might perform in the real world.

Britannica Money. “ Market Research .”

U.S. Small Business Administration. “ Market Research and Competitive Analysis .”

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Russian cities battle heating outages as temps drop below freezing

Tens of thousands of people in Russia are affected by a lack of heating, water or electricity, according to Russian media reports, after frost and outdated pipes are causing outages in many cities amidst below freezing temperatures.

A main district heating pipe in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk busted on Thursday, the local media outlet Siberian Express reported.

Hot water and heating failed in more than 100 homes and 12 other buildings, while the hot water from the district heating pipe poured down a main road at minus 15 degrees Celsius.

A survey by the rosteplo.ru website showed that 3,000 people in the harbour city of Vladivostok on the Pacific were without heating on Wednesday.

In the nearby city of Nakhodka, 6,000 people were without heating, while disruptions in the cities of Yekaterinburg, Volgograd, Saratov and Penza in recent days were also reported.

In St Petersburg, the rupture in a district heating pipe should be repaired by Thursday morning, according to the authorities.

In Podolsk, a city near Moscow, the heating plant of an ammunitions factory, which also supplies over 170 high-rise buildings, broke down on January 4. The town's deputy head of administration, Roman Ryazantsev, was taken into custody on Wednesday, according to the court there. About 20,000 people were affected.

This time Russian President Vladimir Putin intervened and ordered a rapid restoration of the heating supply and nationalized the ammunitions factory. Other cities in the Moscow region are also facing heating problems.

Politically, the heating supply failures are a set back for Putin, who is seeking re-election for a fifth term in March.

Affected citizens protested in some cities. In the town of Elektrostal near Moscow, some houses had allegedly not been heated since mid-December, while people are keeping warm by open fires on the street.

In its war of against Ukraine, Russia is attempting to damage the neighbouring country's energy supply by firing missiles at it, while last winter this resulted in electricity, heating, gas and water often failing in Kiev and other cities.

This winter, fewer outages are being reported in Ukraine despite the attacks.

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FDA Approves Many New Drugs in 2023 that Will Benefit Patients and Consumers

New Drug Therapy Approvals 2023 Report Cover

By: Patrizia Cavazzoni, M.D., Director, Center for Drug Research and Evaluation

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) approved a wide range of therapies in 2023 that will help patients and consumers live better and possibly longer lives. 

Therapies For Many Types of Diseases and Conditions 

In 2023, CDER approved 55 novel drugs, as detailed in our annual New Drug Therapy Approvals report . The active ingredient(s) in a novel drug have not been previously FDA-approved. We also took other important actions, such as expanding the indications or patient populations of some previously approved therapies. In addition, we approved new dosage forms or drug formulations and made some prescription drugs available over-the-counter. 

Our 2023 actions target a wide range of disease areas. For example, we approved treatments for infectious diseases, including COVID-19, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and HIV. CDER also approved therapies for neurological conditions, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer’s disease, and migraine. Moreover, we took approval actions for drugs targeting type 2 diabetes in children, different types of anemia, and chronic weight management, among other heart, blood, kidney, and endocrine disorders. 

Patrizia Cavazzoni, M.D.

In the opioid overdose space, we approved drugs to treat opioid use, misuse, and abuse. Specifically, we approved three opioid overdose reversal drugs as over-the-counter products. We also approved new dosage forms of drugs that reverse opioid overdose and treat opioid use disorder, giving patients more treatment options. 

With respect to lung diseases, our approval actions included therapies for asthma attacks and cystic fibrosis. For gastrointestinal conditions, we approved drugs for inflammatory bowel disease and pediatric functional constipation. 

In oncology, approvals included treatments for colorectal, prostate, lung, and low-grade gliomas (tumors that start in the brain). In the area of women’s health, CDER approved treatments for postpartum depression, hot flashes due to menopause, and over-the-counter oral contraception.

New Drugs for Rare Diseases 

Our commitment to the rare disease community continued in 2023. More than half (28 of 55, or 51%) of the novel drugs approved in 2023 were approved to prevent, diagnose or treat a rare disease or condition, for which they received an orphan-drug designation . 

In addition to ALS, some approvals to prevent, diagnose or treat rare diseases included drugs for Friedreich’s ataxia, an inherited, degenerative disease that damages the nervous system; paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, a disease that causes red blood cells to break apart; and activated phosphoinositide 3-kinase delta, a genetic disorder that impairs the immune system. For rare cancers specifically, we approved therapies for mantle cell lymphoma, an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and nasopharyngeal carcinoma, a head and neck cancer.

Efficiencies in Bringing Therapies to Market

CDER recognizes many patients need treatments quickly, and we aim to accomplish this through efficiency in our review process: 

  • User Fee Goal Performance: Of the 55 novel drugs approved in 2023, CDER met or exceeded its Prescription Drug User Fee Act goal dates for 49 of these approvals (89%).  A number of delayed reviews in 2023 were due to COVID-19-related foreign travel restrictions, which led to postponement of some inspections during the Public Health Emergency.
  • First Cycle Approvals: In 2023, CDER approved 46 of the 55 novel drugs (84%) on the “first cycle.” 
  • Approvals Before Other Countries: 35 of the 55 novel drugs approved in 2023 (64%) were approved in the U.S. before being approved in other countries.
  • Expedited Programs for Serious Conditions: The FDA’s four broadly applicable programs to facilitate and expedite development and review of drugs for serious or life-threatening conditions include: Fast Track designation, Breakthrough Therapy designation, Priority Review designation, and Accelerated Approval. In 2023, 36 of CDER’s 55 drug approvals (65%) used one or more of these expedited programs.

Biosimilar Approvals 

In 2023, CDER approved five biosimilars, including three biosimilars for reference products that previously did not have a corresponding biosimilar. To date, CDER has approved 45 biosimilars for 14 reference products. Several products were approved as interchangeable biosimilars, which are biosimilars that may be substituted for the reference product at the pharmacy similar to how generics are substituted, subject to state law. To date, CDER has approved seven interchangeable biosimilars.

The 2023 New Drug Therapy Approvals Report 

The 2023 New Drug Therapy Approvals report has more details about novel and other notable drug approvals. Related, the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) also approved important therapies. For more information about CBER actions, visit CBER’s web page for 2023 Biological Approvals .  

Deciding whether to approve a drug is a collaborative, well-coordinated process. It often involves expertise from throughout our center and agency, as well as external parties. We take our regulatory decision-making seriously, because we know our drug approval actions affect the health and well-being of patients and consumers nationwide. I want to thank my colleagues for their dedication to reviewing and approving these drugs, which will benefit many people in years to come.

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NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn’t happen this week

FILE - This photo provided by the New York State Sex Offender Registry shows Jeffrey Epstein, March 28, 2017. On Friday, Jan. 5, 2024, The Associated Press reported on stories circulating online incorrectly claiming court documents connected to a lawsuit involving financier Jeffrey Epstein that were released this week include details about theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, who died in 2018, Hawking’s “proclivities” and a sexual encounter involving late night host Jimmy Kimmel. (New York State Sex Offender Registry via AP, File)

FILE - Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley speaks at a town hall campaign event, Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024, in Rye, N.H. On Friday, Jan. 5, The Associated Press reported on stories circulating online incorrectly claiming Haley is ineligible to be president because her parents were not U.S. citizens at the time of her birth. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

FILE - The T-Mobile logo is seen on a storefront, Oct. 14, 2022, in Boston. On Friday, Jan. 5, 2024, The Associated Press reported on stories circulating online incorrectly claiming T-Mobile is going to fine individual consumers for texting about topics that fall under the categories of sex, hate, alcohol, firearms or tobacco. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

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A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue stories and visuals of the week. None of these are legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked them out.

Images made to look like court records circulate online amid Epstein document release

CLAIM: Court documents connected to a lawsuit involving financier Jeffrey Epstein that were released this week include details about theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking’s “proclivities” and accusations about a sexual encounter with late-night host Jimmy Kimmel.

Republican presidential candidate former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announces he is dropping out of the race during a town hall campaign event Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024, in Windham, N.H. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

THE FACTS: No such reports were included in the documents. Images made to look like question-and-answer sessions included in the court documents were fabricated. In both cases, the alleged participants were unidentified. In the fake image involving Hawking, the questioner asks, in reference to Epstein, “Did Jeffrey ever talk to you about Stephen Hawking’s proclivities?” The respondent answers, “Yes, he liked watching undressed midgets solve complex equations on a too-high-up chalkboard.” Additionally, the respondent replies “yes” when asked whether Hawking “frequented the island for pleasure.” The other image includes an exchange about Kimmel in which the respondent says they gave him multiple massages and had sex with him at the comedian’s suggestion. Posts that shared the images had received tens of thousands of views on X, formerly Twitter, and other social media platforms as of Friday. Hawking is mentioned twice in the documents that were released on Wednesday. One reference involves a 2015 email from Epstein offering a monetary award to friends, family or acquaintances of Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s victims, if they could help disprove allegations that the physicist had participated in an “underage orgy” on one of Epstein’s islands. The other is a request for Giuffre to turn over all photos or videos of her with a number of individuals, including Hawking. But there is no reference to any “proclivities.” In 2006, a few months before Epstein was charged with multiple counts of unlawful sex with a minor, Hawking was one of many scientists who attended a five-day conference in the Caribbean funded by Epstein. The physicist appears in multiple pictures from the event. Kimmel does not come up in the documents at all. Ahead of their release, social media users wrongly claimed that his name might appear, spurred by a comment New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers made Tuesday on ESPN’s “The Pat McAfee Show.” Kimmel said in response on X that he had never met Epstein and that Rodgers’ “reckless words put my family in danger.” Moreover, the purported document snippet that mentions Kimmel states that it is part of page 1,375, but only 944 pages of records had been made public when the image began spreading. Other major public figures social media users have falsely claimed are named in the documents include Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks, Elon Musk and many more. There was much speculation before the release that the records amounted to a list of rich and powerful people who were Epstein’s “clients” or “co-conspirators.” But the records come from a 2015 lawsuit filed by Giuffre against Epstein’s former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell, which was settled two years later. U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska, who ordered the release, said most of the names were already public. They include many of Epstein’s accusers, members of his staff who told their stories to tabloid newspapers, people who served as witnesses at Maxwell’s trial, people who were mentioned in passing during depositions but aren’t accused of anything salacious, and people who investigated Epstein, including prosecutors, a journalist and a police detective. There are also boldface names of public figures known to have associated with Epstein over the years, but whose relationships with him have already been well documented elsewhere. Previous documents from the case were released in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022. About 60 of 250 records currently released had been made public as of Thursday, with more expected in the coming days. Epstein killed himself in jail in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges. Maxwell is serving a 20-year prison term for helping Epstein sexually abuse underage girls.

False claims question Haley’s eligibility to serve as US president

CLAIM: Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley is ineligible to be president because her parents were not U.S. citizens at the time of her birth.

THE FACTS: Haley is a natural-born U.S. citizen who is eligible to serve as president. The former ambassador to the United Nations was born on Jan. 20, 1972, in Bamberg, South Carolina, according to information on her official website when she was governor of the state. With the Iowa caucuses just two weeks away, some on social media are erroneously claiming that Haley, who served as governor of South Carolina from 2011 to 2017, cannot legally hold the country’s highest office. “Nikki Haley is Constitutionally ineligible to be President….or Vice President,” reads one post on X, formerly Twitter, that had received approximately 10,200 likes and shares as of Friday. The post links to an article that argues Haley is ineligible because her parents were not U.S. citizens when she was born. In her 2012 autobiography, Haley wrote that her parents “were born in the Punjab region of India.” Haley’s office told South Carolina newspaper The State in 2015, when she was governor, that her father, Ajit Randhawa, became a U.S. citizen in 1978 — six years after Haley’s birth — while her mother, Raj Randhawa, was naturalized in 2003. But experts agree Haley is a legitimate candidate as defined by the Constitution , regardless of her parents’ citizenship status. Her birth in Bamberg makes her a natural-born citizen, one of three qualifications to hold the U.S. presidency. “Having been born in South Carolina, she is clearly a ‘natural born citizen,’ without regard to the fact that her parents were immigrants,” Geoffrey Stone, a professor of law at the University of Chicago who is an expert on constitutional law, told The Associated Press. Stone called claims otherwise “bonkers” and said that there are no legitimate arguments that would disqualify Haley from the presidency based on her parents’ citizenship. The Constitution stipulates that the president must be “a natural born citizen” of the U.S., be at least 35 years old and have been a U.S. resident for at least 14 years. The 14th Amendment clarifies that anyone born in the country is a U.S. citizen, with exceptions for the children of people whose allegiance belongs to another nation, such as those of foreign diplomats. Similar false claims that Vice President Kamala Harris is not legally eligible to serve as U.S. vice president or president because of her parents’ citizenship have previously spread online. Haley’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

No, T-Mobile isn’t going to start policing customers’ personal texts

CLAIM: As of Jan, 1, 2024, T-Mobile is going to fine individual consumers for texting about topics that fall under the categories of sex, hate, alcohol, firearms or tobacco.

THE FACTS: A new T-Mobile policy aimed at curbing mass marketing texts that don’t meet industry standards is being misrepresented on social media as an effort to censor the messages of everyday people. The wireless carrier is instituting new fines for third-party vendors that send mass messaging campaigns on behalf of other businesses, not for individual consumers. These fines apply to texts that discuss sex, hate, alcohol, firearms or tobacco under certain circumstances, such as if the content violates federal law or is sent without an age verification system. “Well, just when you thought censoring couldn’t get worse, as of Jan. 1 of 2024, which is like a week away, T-Mobile is now going to be policing and fining your text messages,” a woman says in an Instagram video. “Yes, personal text messages on your phone. And if your messages fall under what they call SHAFT — that is the acronym for sex, hate, alcohol, firearms or tobacco — they are going to start fining their customers for talking about stuff about that on their bandwidth,” she continues. T-Mobile will be introducing three new fines in 2024, but personal texts won’t be affected. “The change only impacts third-party messaging vendors that send commercial mass messaging campaigns for other businesses,” the company wrote in a statement emailed to The Associated Press. “The vendors will be fined if the content they are sending does not meet the standards in our code of conduct, which is in place to protect consumers from illegal or illicit content and aligns to federal and state laws.” Content that manipulates people into revealing private information will result in a fine of $2,000, while content on subjects that are not legal federally and in all 50 states — such as marijuana and solicitation — will elicit a $1,000 charge, according to notices p osted last week by third-party vendors that facilitate mass text campaigns. Other violations — for example, “SHAFT” content that is sent without verifying recipients’ ages — will cost companies $500 each. T-Mobile’s statement also noted the company does not have the ability to censor personal messages, aside from filters that “protect our customers from unwanted texts that could contain malware and other fraudulent or malicious activities such as phishing.” This is not an update to T-Mobile’s general terms of service . Rather, the fines apply to companies that violate text marketing industry standards regarding illegal, unallowed or illicit content that have been previously set by the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association. Adherence to these standards is already outlined as part of T-Mobile’s code of conduct for its commercial messaging customers.

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What’s next for AI in 2024

Our writers look at the four hot trends to watch out for this year

  • Melissa Heikkilä archive page
  • Will Douglas Heaven archive page

man with pocketwatches dangling over his eyes

MIT Technology Review’s What’s Next series looks across industries, trends, and technologies to give you a first look at the future. You can read the rest of our series here .

This time last year we did something reckless. In an industry where nothing stands still, we had a go at predicting the future. 

How did we do? Our four big bets for 2023 were that the next big thing in chatbots would be multimodal (check: the most powerful large language models out there, OpenAI’s GPT-4 and Google DeepMind’s Gemini, work with text, images and audio); that policymakers would draw up tough new regulations (check: Biden’s executive order came out in October and the European Union’s AI Act was finally agreed in December ); Big Tech would feel pressure from open-source startups (half right: the open-source boom continues, but AI companies like OpenAI and Google DeepMind still stole the limelight); and that AI would change big pharma for good (too soon to tell: the AI revolution in drug discovery is in full swing , but the first drugs developed using AI are still some years from market).

Now we’re doing it again.

We decided to ignore the obvious. We know that large language models will continue to dominate. Regulators will grow bolder. AI’s problems—from bias to copyright to doomerism—will shape the agenda for researchers, regulators, and the public, not just in 2024 but for years to come. (Read more about our six big questions for generative AI here .)

Instead, we’ve picked a few more specific trends. Here’s what to watch out for in 2024. (Come back next year and check how we did.)

Customized chatbots

You get a chatbot! And you get a chatbot! In 2024, tech companies that invested heavily in generative AI will be under pressure to prove that they can make money off their products. To do this, AI giants Google and OpenAI are betting big on going small: both are developing user-friendly platforms that allow people to customize powerful language models and make their own mini chatbots that cater to their specific needs—no coding skills required. Both have launched web-based tools that allow anyone to become a generative-AI app developer. 

In 2024, generative AI might actually become useful for the regular, non-tech person, and we are going to see more people tinkering with a million little AI models. State-of-the-art AI models, such as GPT-4 and Gemini , are multimodal, meaning they can process not only text but images and even videos. This new capability could unlock a whole bunch of new apps. For example, a real estate agent can upload text from previous listings, fine-tune a powerful model to generate similar text with just a click of a button, upload videos and photos of new listings, and simply ask the customized AI to generate a description of the property. 

But of course, the success of this plan hinges on whether these models work reliably. Language models often make stuff up, and generative models are riddled with biases . They are also easy to hack , especially if they are allowed to browse the web. Tech companies have not solved any of these problems. When the novelty wears off, they’ll have to offer their customers ways to deal with these problems. 

—Melissa Heikkil ä

a film clapper with digital patter where the production info should be

Generative AI’s second wave will be video

It’s amazing how fast the fantastic becomes familiar. The first generative models to produce photorealistic images exploded into the mainstream in 2022 —and soon became commonplace. Tools like OpenAI’s DALL-E, Stability AI’s Stable Diffusion, and Adobe’s Firefly flooded the internet with jaw-dropping images of everything from the pope in Balenciaga to prize-winning art . But it’s not all good fun: for every pug waving pompoms , there’s another piece of knock-off fantasy art or sexist sexual stereotyping .

The new frontier is text-to-video. Expect it to take everything that was good, bad, or ugly about text-to-image and supersize it.

A year ago we got the first glimpse of what generative models could do when they were trained to stitch together multiple still images into clips a few seconds long. The results were distorted and jerky. But the tech has rapidly improved.

Runway , a startup that makes generative video models (and the company that co-created Stable Diffusion), is dropping new versions of its tools every few months. Its latest model, called Gen-2 , still generates video just a few seconds long, but the quality is striking. The best clips aren’t far off what Pixar might put out.

Runway has set up an annual AI film festival that showcases experimental movies made with a range of AI tools. This year’s festival has a $60,000 prize pot, and the 10 best films will be screened in New York and Los Angeles.

It’s no surprise that top studios are taking notice. Movie giants, including Paramount and Disney, are now exploring the use of generative AI throughout their production pipeline. The tech is being used to lip-sync actors’ performances to multiple foreign-language overdubs. And it is reinventing what’s possible with special effects. In 2023, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny starred a de-aged deepfake Harrison Ford. This is just the start.  

Away from the big screen, deepfake tech for marketing or training purposes is taking off too. For example, UK-based Synthesia makes tools that can turn a one-off performance by an actor into an endless stream of deepfake avatars, reciting whatever script you give them at the push of a button. According to the company, its tech is now used by 44% of Fortune 100 companies. 

The ability to do so much with so little raises serious questions for actors . Concerns about studios’ use and misuse of AI were at the heart of the SAG-AFTRA strikes last year. But the true impact of the tech is only just becoming apparent. “The craft of filmmaking is fundamentally changing,” says Souki Mehdaoui, an independent filmmaker and cofounder of Bell & Whistle, a consultancy specializing in creative technologies.

—Will Douglas Heaven

AI-generated election disinformation will be everywhere 

If recent elections are anything to go by, AI-generated election disinformation and deepfakes are going to be a huge problem as a record number of people march to the polls in 2024. We’re already seeing politicians weaponizing these tools. In Argentina , two presidential candidates created AI-generated images and videos of their opponents to attack them. In Slovakia , deepfakes of a liberal pro-European party leader threatening to raise the price of beer and making jokes about child pornography spread like wildfire during the country’s elections. And in the US, Donald Trump has cheered on a group that uses AI to generate memes with racist and sexist tropes. 

While it’s hard to say how much these examples have influenced the outcomes of elections, their proliferation is a worrying trend. It will become harder than ever to recognize what is real online. In an already inflamed and polarized political climate, this could have severe consequences.

Just a few years ago creating a deepfake would have required advanced technical skills, but generative AI has made it stupidly easy and accessible, and the outputs are looking increasingly realistic. Even reputable sources might be fooled by AI-generated content. For example, users-submitted AI-generated images purporting to depict the Israel-Gaza crisis have flooded stock image marketplaces like Adobe’s. 

The coming year will be pivotal for those fighting against the proliferation of such content. Techniques to track and mitigate it content are still in early days of development. Watermarks, such as Google DeepMind’s SynthID , are still mostly voluntary and not completely foolproof. And social media platforms are notoriously slow in taking down misinformation. Get ready for a massive real-time experiment in busting AI-generated fake news. 

robot hands flipping pancakes and holding a tube of lipstick

Robots that multitask

Inspired by some of the core techniques behind generative AI’s current boom, roboticists are starting to build more general-purpose robots that can do a wider range of tasks.

The last few years in AI have seen a shift away from using multiple small models, each trained to do different tasks—identifying images, drawing them, captioning them—toward single, monolithic models trained to do all these things and more. By showing OpenAI’s GPT-3 a few additional examples (known as fine-tuning), researchers can train it to solve coding problems, write movie scripts, pass high school biology exams, and so on. Multimodal models, like GPT-4 and Google DeepMind’s Gemini, can solve visual tasks as well as linguistic ones.

The same approach can work for robots, so it wouldn’t be necessary to train one to flip pancakes and another to open doors: a one-size-fits-all model could give robots the ability to multitask. Several examples of work in this area emerged in 2023.

In June, DeepMind released Robocat (an update on last year’s Gato ), which generates its own data from trial and error to learn how to control many different robot arms (instead of one specific arm, which is more typical). 

In October, the company put out yet another general-purpose model for robots, called RT-X, and a big new general-purpose training data set , in collaboration with 33 university labs. Other top research teams, such as RAIL (Robotic Artificial Intelligence and Learning) at the University of California, Berkeley, are looking at similar tech.

The problem is a lack of data. Generative AI draws on an internet-size data set of text and images. In comparison, robots have very few good sources of data to help them learn how to do many of the industrial or domestic tasks we want them to.

Lerrel Pinto at New York University leads one team addressing that. He and his colleagues are developing techniques that let robots learn by trial and error, coming up with their own training data as they go. In an even more low-key project, Pinto has recruited volunteers to collect video data from around their homes using an iPhone camera mounted to a trash picker . Big companies have also started to release large data sets for training robots in the last couple of years, such as Meta’s Ego4D .

This approach is already showing promise in driverless cars. Startups such as Wayve, Waabi, and Ghost are pioneering a new wave of self-driving AI that uses a single large model to control a vehicle rather than multiple smaller models to control specific driving tasks. This has let small companies catch up with giants like Cruise and Waymo. Wayve is now testing its driverless cars on the narrow, busy streets of London. Robots everywhere are set to get a similar boost.

Artificial intelligence

Google deepmind used a large language model to solve an unsolved math problem.

They had to throw away most of what it produced but there was gold among the garbage.

Unpacking the hype around OpenAI’s rumored new Q* model

If OpenAI's new model can solve grade-school math, it could pave the way for more powerful systems.

Finding value in generative AI for financial services

Financial services firms have started to adopt generative AI, but hurdles lie in their path toward generating income from the new technology.

  • MIT Technology Review Insights archive page

Google DeepMind’s new Gemini model looks amazing—but could signal peak AI hype

It outmatches GPT-4 in almost all ways—but only by a little. Was the buzz worth it?

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S&P 500 closes slightly higher Friday, but major averages end 9-week win streak: Live updates

Corient's Amy Kong expects one to three Fed rate cuts this year

The S&P 500 ended Friday modestly higher, but all three of the major averages snapped a nine-week winning streak following a stronger-than-expected jobs report.

The broader index rose 0.18% to end at 4,697.24, while the Nasdaq Composite added 0.09% to finish at 14,524.07. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ticked higher by 25.77 points, or 0.07%, settling at 37,466.11.

The three major averages notched their first negative week in 10, with the Nasdaq suffering the biggest decline at 3.25% — its worst weekly performance since September. The S&P 500 and Dow dropped 1.52% and 0.59%, respectively.

Stocks gyrated on Friday as traders assessed incoming economic data to determine if and when the Federal Reserve will start cutting interest rates.

The U.S. economy added many more jobs than anticipated in December , with nonfarm payrolls growing by 216,000. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected a gain of 170,000 for last month. The unemployment rate held steady at 3.7% in another sign of continued labor strength.

The report sent Treasury yields spiking higher, with the benchmark 10-year rate touching a high of 4.103%.

A strong labor market could mean that the Fed might potentially delay the first of its rate cuts, which traders have been eagerly anticipating. Before the strong data hit Friday, traders were hoping the Fed would start cutting rates as early as March and lower them by as many as six times in 2024. Those expectations will need to be dialed back.

While December's ISM services index represented that business activity is still overall expanding in the economy, the reading of 50.6% was nearly two full percentage points below the Dow Jones consensus estimate of 52.5% and November's 52.7% level. A reading above 50% marks the threshold for economic growth.

"The job market is looking good — perhaps too good — and maybe inflation will be running a little hotter now based on the wage growth that we're seeing," Mike Bailey, director of research at FBB Capital Partners, told CNBC. "This sizzle we're getting in the job market might be pouring some cold water on hopes of a rapid string of rate cuts."

He added: "Coming into today, investors wanted three things: fading inflation, a stable job market and rate cuts. However, I think coming out of today's jobs number suggests to me that there's some give and take here, and investors might only be getting one out of the three items on their wish list."

The stock market surged to end 2023 as traders anticipated the Fed would pivot to easier monetary policy. The S&P 500's weekly winning streak to end the year was its longest in nearly two decades and brought the benchmark's gain for the year to 24%.

One other factor weighing on the market in the new year is the cooling off of large-cap tech stocks like Apple , which has been downgraded by two research shops this week. The iPhone maker tumbled 5.9% this week.

Stocks finish higher but snap 9-week winning streak

Stocks closed slightly higher to wrap up the first trading week of 2024, although all three major indexes notched their first weekly decline after nine straight weeks of gains.

The S&P 500 climbed 0.18% to end at 4,697.24, while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.09% to settle at 14,524.07. The Dow Jones industrial Average gained 25.77 points, or 0.07%, to close at 37,466.11.

— Lisa Kailai Han

Oil prices end the week higher on geopolitical risks

Oil prices ended the week higher on fears that the Israel-Hamas war could escalate into a regional conflict.

The West Texas Intermediate contract for February settled at $73.81 a barrel on Friday, up $2.16 or about 3% over the past week. The Brent contract for March settled at $78.76 a barrel, gaining $1.72 or 2.23% during the same period.

Traders have grown more concerned about mounting tensions in the Middle East after largely dismissing geopolitical since the Israel-Hamas war began.

Houthi militant attacks on vessels in the Red Sea have forced Maersk to stop shipping through the key waterway for the foreseeable future. The U.S. has threatened the militants, who are based in Yemen and allied with Iran, with consequence to no avail so far.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is travelling in the region for the next week in an effort to prevent conflict from spreading.

A wider war that involves in Iran could lead to a disruption in the Strait of Hormuz, which would pose a major threat to oil flows, according to analysts.

— Spencer Kimball

Consumer staples, small-caps to outperform in 2024, says Wolfe Research

As consumer confidence softens this year, Wolfe Research's Chris Senyek favors consumer staples over their discretionary counterparts, he wrote in the firm's 2024 macro outlook.

Senyek also predicts that the "Magnificent 7" stocks will underperform in the new year. The seven tech titans led last year's gains.

Overall, small-cap stocks look cheap, with their discount close to all-time highs, but Senyek believes it's still too early to jump back in.

"We don't recommend rotating into small caps until the economic outlook bottoms," he wrote.

Verizon, Boeing, Home Depot are Dow's biggest gainers

Shares of Verizon , Boeing and Home Depot led the gains for the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Friday. The stocks were respectively up 2.3%, 1.8% and 1.2%.

Seven of the index's 30 stocks had gained 1% or more during Friday's trading session.

On the other hand, UnitedHealth Group , Proctor & Gamble and Walmart were the biggest losers, respectively sliding 1.3%, 1% and 0.9%.

Rates aren't the only factor behind the recent market selloff, UBS says

Interest rates have long been tied to the performance of the equity market, with many investors by extension attributing the recent stock selloff to the reversal in the Treasury market.

Naturally, the next question if how rates could further impact stocks this year. But UBS strategist Jonathan Golub believes that rates aren't the only factor investors should consider.

"The market appears to be much more sensitive to changes in risk metrics—such as high yield spreads and the Vix—than rates themselves," he wrote. "These relationships hold for both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq, but are more pronounced for the latter."

Oil prices rise as Blinken heads to Mideast to prevent wider war

Oil prices rose Friday as tensions in the Middle East continue to mount, with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken heading to the region in an effort to prevent conflict from spreading.

The West Texas Intermediate contract for February gained $1.38, or 1.91%, to trade at $73.57 a barrel. The Brent contract for March rose $1.01, or 1.3%, to trade at $78.60 a barrel.

The Danish shipping giant Maersk said Friday that it will divert all of its ships away from the Red Sea for the "foreseeable future" as the "security risk continues to be at a significantly elevated level."

Houthi militants defied a U.S. warning to stop attacks in the Red Sea or face the consequences. The militants, based in Yemen and allied with Iran, detonated an unmanned surface vessel in the waterway on Thursday, according to the Pentagon .

Investors rotating back into growth and cyclical stocks upon strong jobs reports, says FBB Capital Market's Mike Bailey

Friday's strong December jobs report sparked fear within investors that the Federal Reserve wouldn't be immediately embarking upon a rapid string of rate cuts, according to Mike Bailey, director of research at FBB Capital.

Below the surface, Bailey said that growth and cyclical stocks were outperforming defensive sectors such as healthcare, consumer staples, REITs and utilities.

"What we're seeing is a bit of a rotation into some of the sectors that have been beaten up this week," he told CNBC. "The macro message is if a hot job market equals faster economic growth, you want to be buying growth and cyclicals — why would you want to own a defensive stock if the economy is roaring?"

All 3 major stock indexes set to snap nine-week winning streak

Stocks kicked off 2024 with a whimper, a stark contrast to the strong year-end rally that concluded 2023.

All three major indexes are on pace to snap their nine-week winning streaks. So far, the S&P 500 is set to end the week 1.4% down, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average is on pace for a 0.7% decline.

The Nasdaq Composite has been hit especially hard by the pullback in tech titans like Apple , which was downgraded by two firms this week. The tech-heavy composite is set to end the week nearly 3% in the red.

Peloton, Costco among Friday's biggest movers

These are some of the stocks making the biggest moves during midday trading:

  • Peloton  — Shares of the fitness company soared nearly 17%, after adding 14% in the prior session, on news of its partnership with TikTok.
  • Costco Wholesale   —  Shares added 1.4% on Friday after Costco reported a whopping sales increase in December, posting on Thursday that its sales last month jumped 9.9% year-over-year to $26.15 billion, led by its e-commerce segment.
  • Elanco Animal Health — The animal health stock rallied more than 9%. Stifel upgraded shares to buy from hold, citing a powerful pet health pipeline and opportunities for multiple expansion.

Read the full list of companies on the move here.

— Samantha Subin

7 S&P 500 stocks hit new 52-week highs

Seven stocks in the S&P 500 hit new 52-week highs during Friday's trading session. Of these names, two stocks hit new all-time highs.

Here's a look at the seven companies that reached this milestone:

  • Hartford Financial
  • Loews (all-time high)
  • Bank of NY Mellon
  • Synchrony Financial
  • American Express
  • JPMorgan (all-time high)
  • Capital One

— Christopher Hayes, Lisa Kailai Han

Equities tend to do well in election years, Citi says

Another tailwind is expected to prop equities up this year — the upcoming U.S. presidential election, according to Citi.

Equities tend to perform even better in years when the incumbent president is running or a Republican candidate wins, analyst Alex Saunders added.

However, "there is a general pull back in the 2 months before, which is unwound in the week pre- and post-election," he wrote. "More relevant to this election, equities trade better into elections resulting in a divided government, and the underperformance into unified governments is reversed after the election."

Saunders added that financials generally outperform tech around election time. A Republican win tends to send aerospace and defense stocks higher, while oil and gas companies might see a small rally followed later by a reversal. A Democratic win, on the other hand, might be good news for healthcare stocks.

Cash attracts highest inflow for first week of year ever, Bank of America Securities says

Cash just notched its highest inflow for the first week of the year ever, according to Bank of America Securities.

The asset class attracted $123.1 billion in inflows this week, which was also the largest since March 2023, read a Thursday note from the firm. During that time, investors were contending with the regional banking crisis.

Meanwhile, stocks are off to a volatile start to 2024, with the S&P 500 looking to snap nine weeks of gains on Friday as investors trim profits after the recent rally.

— Sarah Min

December's ISM services index comes in below expectations

The ISM services index for December registered a reading of 50.6%, representing that business activity still seems to be overall expanding.

A reading above 50% represents growth.

However, December's level was nearly two full percentage points below the Dow Jones consensus estimate of 52.5% and November's reading of 52.7%.

Stocks open flat on Friday

Stocks opened flat to start Friday's trading session after a hotter-than-anticipated December jobs report spiked fears that the Federal Reserve might prolong the time until its first rate cut.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite were both unchanged. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 39 points, or 0.1%.

Market now sees diminished odds of March Fed rate cut, per CME FedWatch

The December jobs report has pushed down the odds that the Federal Reserve will ease interest rate policy as early as March, according to the CME FedWatch tool that uses the actions of traders to analyze the probability of changes to U.S. monetary policy.

Odds of a quarter-point cut in the fed funds rate to 5.00-5.25% from the current 5.25-5.50% dropped to 53.6%, down from 62.3% Thursday and 73.4% one week ago, as implied by 30-day futures pricing data. Conversely, chances that rates will stay where they are in March climbed to 43.9% Friday from just 11.5% a week ago.

The Street now pencils in 46.3% odds that rates will move down a quarter point at the Fed's meeting in May, up from 11.3% a week ago, while the chance that rates will have come down a full half point by the end of the May meeting have dropped to 40.9% today from 71.9% last Friday.

— Scott Schnipper

These are the companies making the biggest premarket moves Friday

Check out the companies making headlines before the bell.

  • Peloton — Shares of the fitness company provider jumped 3.8% on Friday, a day after Peloton announced that it is partnering with TikTok to bring short-form fitness videos to the social media platform. The partnership is an effort to boost subscribers and attract a wider pool of customers, as Peloton attempts to recover from falling sales and profits.
  • Okta — The cybersecurity stock slumped 1.5% after Jefferies downgraded Okta to hold from buy on Friday, citing a recent security breach as added pressure on the stock. The firm is still positive on the overall strength of Okta.
  • Costco Wholesale — Shares of the retail giant rose 0.6% after Costco said Thursday that December sales saw jumped 9.9% year-over-year to $26.15 billion, fueled by its e-commerce segment. Costco's total and comparable sales saw a 3% benefit from December's additional shopping day due to the timing of New Year's Day, the company said.

For the full list, read here .

— Pia Singh

December jobs report comes in much better than expected

The U.S. economy added many more jobs than anticipated in December, with nonfarm payrolls growing by 216,000. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected a gain of 170,000 for last month.

The unemployment rate held steady at 3.7%.

Berkshire adds Liberty SiriusXM tracking stock in merger arb play

Berkshire Hathaway bought 2.8 million shares of the Liberty SiriusXM tracking stock (LSXMK) in a series of transactions Tuesday through Thursday at an average price of $29.76 per share, according to a regulatory filing .

Last month, Liberty Media announced that its Liberty Media's Liberty SiriusXM tracking stock group will combine with satellite radio company SiriusXM to create a new public company. The new company will trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker SIRI.

The recent purchase could be a merger arbitrage play to take advantage of Liberty Sirius' discount relative to the value of its stake in Sirius XM.

Wolfe Research expects more dividend cuts in 2024 — but that's good news in the long run

Shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance fell more than 5% during Thursday's trading session after the company announced it would slash its quarterly dividend to 25 cents per share from 48 cents.

As economic growth slows this year, Wolfe Research's Chris Senyek expects to see more dividend cuts in 2024.

However, Senyek said that ultimately, in the long run cutting dividends could be beneficial for stock prices.

"Historically, we've found that the market prices in a cut in the 1-year period preceding the actual event as the historical total and relative average returns were -28% and -17%, respectively. Subsequently, the dividend cut has signaled a 'clearing event' for the stock," he wrote in a Friday note. "On average, across all dividend cut stocks, they were dead money for 6 months but then outperformed over the 1 and 2-year periods."

Senyek added that stocks within the industrials, energy and materials sectors tended to perform the best post-cut.

Maersk will divert vessels from Red Sea 'for the foreseeable future'

Maersk said Friday it will keep ships away from the Red Sea for the " foreseeable future ."

"The situation is constantly evolving and remains highly volatile, and all available intelligence at hand confirms that the security risk continues to be at a significantly elevated level," Maersk said in a statement.

— Jenni Reid

Watch these S&P 500 levels as Wall Street struggles in early 2024, chart analyst says

Douglas Busch of ChartSmarter said the 4,600 level in the S&P 500 will be key if the broad market index continues its decline. However, he still sees the benchmark breaking above 5,000 in the first half of 2024.

"I think you just let things shake out. Be patient; no reason to be a hero" Busch told CNBC on Thursday.

Busch's comments came as the S&P 500 fell for a fourth straight day, putting it in jeopardy to snap a nine-week winning streak. The S&P 500 closed at 4,688.68 in the prior session. For the index to reach 5,000, it will need to rise 6.6%.

— Fred Imbert

Stock futures turn lower

Dow Jones Industrial Average  futures were 0.16% down by 4:30 a.m. ET.  S&P 500 futures  slipped 0.16%, and  Nasdaq 100 futures  fell 0.22%.

It comes as Europe stocks started the day in the red and most Asian markets logged weekly losses.

— Katrina Bishop

Philippine December inflation hits near 2-year lows

Philippine Inflation in December cooled at a faster pace than the month before, according to official data .

Consumer prices rose 3.9% in December, lower than the 4.1% increase in the prior month. It was also the slowest pace of price increases since since February 2022, and the the third straight easing in CPI.

Inflation is still, however, higher than the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas' target range of 2%-4%.

"The downtrend in the overall inflation in December 2023 was primarily brought about by the lower year-on-year growth in the index of housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels at 1.5 percent in December 2023 from 2.5 percent in the previous month," according to the official release.

—  Shreyashi Sanyal

Japan December composite PMI signals contraction in private sector activity is over

A survey showed on Friday that the contraction in Japan's private sector activity was over.

The au Jibun Bank Japan composite PMI for December came in at 50, rising from 49.6 in the prior month to signal stabilization in Japan's private sector output.

A PMI reading above 50 signifies expansion, while numbers below that show contraction.

December saw higher services sector growth, but manufacturing activity continued to slow.

The au Jibun Bank Japan services PMI was at 51.5 in December, up from 50.8 in November. The expansion was the second-weakest recorded in 2023.

"A faster rise in new business was a key factor in driving business activity growth higher, as firms cited increased customer numbers," the survey said.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index edged 0.3% higher on Friday.

— Shreyashi Sanyal

Peloton continues to surge after announcing TikTok partnership

Shares of Peloton rose 6% in after hours trading as investors continued to cheer the fitness company's new partnership with TikTok .

The collaboration includes a new fitness hub on the social media app, with content created by Peloton instructors.

The move builds on a gain of nearly 14% during Thursday's regular trading session.

— Jesse Pound

Stock futures open slightly higher Thursday night

U.S. stock futures ticked higher on Thursday evening.

Futures linked to the S&P 500 gained 0.1%, as did futures tied to the Nasdaq 100. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures added 53 points, or about 0.1%.

The three major averages are all on pace for weekly losses.

— Darla Mercado

Major averages poised to snap win streak

Here's where the major averages stand for the week with one session left:

  • The Dow is down -0.66% WTD, on pace to break a 9-week win streak
  • The S&P 500 is down -1.70% WTD, on pace to break a 9-week win streak
  • The S&P 500 has fallen for four straight sessions for the first time since its 5-day streak ending Oct. 23, 2023
  • The Nasdaq is down -3.34% WTD, on pace to break a 9-week win streak with its worst weekly performance since the period ending September 2023.
  • The Nasdaq suffered its fifth negative session in a row for the first time since its 6-day streak ending Oct. 12, 2022.

— Jesse Pound, Christopher Hayes

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  • Reach out to the pro(s) you want, then share your vision to get the ball rolling.
  • Request and compare quotes, then hire the Home Builder that perfectly fits your project and budget limits.

What should I do before choosing a builder?

Before choosing a Builder for your residential home project in Elektrostal', there are a few important steps to take:

  • Define your project: Outline your desired home type, features, and layout. Provide specific details and preferences to help the builder understand your vision.
  • Establish a budget: Develop a comprehensive budget, including construction expenses and material costs. Communicate your budgetary constraints to the builder from the beginning.
  • Timeline: Share your estimated timeline or desired completion date.
  • Site conditions: Inform the builder about any unique site conditions or challenges.
  • Local regulations: Make the builder aware of any building regulations or permits required.

What services do Home Builder companies provide in Elektrostal'?

  • Custom Homes
  • Floor Plans
  • House Framing
  • Land Surveying
  • Site Planning

How many Home Builders are in Elektrostal'?

How long does it take to build a custom home, business services, connect with us.

Realtor.com Economic Research

  • Data library

2024 Housing Market Forecast and Predictions: Housing Affordability Finally Begins to Turnaround

Danielle Hale

As we look ahead to 2024 , we see a mix of continuity and change in both the housing market and economy. Against a backdrop of modest economic growth, slightly higher unemployment, and easing inflation longer term interest rates including mortgage rates begin a slow retreat. The shift from climbing to falling mortgage rates improves housing affordability, but saps some of the urgency home shoppers had previously sensed. Less frenzied housing demand and plenty of rental home options keep home sales relatively stable at low levels in 2024, helping home prices to adjust slightly lower even as the number of for-sale homes continues to dwindle. 

Realtor.com ® 2024 Forecast for Key Housing Indicators

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Home Prices Dip, Improving Affordability

Home prices grew at a double-digit annual clip for the better part of two years spanning the second half of 2020 through 2022, a notable burst following a growing streak that spanned back to 2012. As mortgage rates climbed, home price growth flatlined, actually declining on an annual basis in early 2023 before an early-year dip in mortgage rates spurred enough buyer demand to reignite competition for still-limited inventory. Home prices began to climb again, and while they did not reach a new monthly peak, on average for the year we expect that the 2023 median home price will slightly exceed the 2022 annual median.

Nevertheless, even during the brief period when prices eased, using a mortgage to buy a home remained expensive. Since May 2022, purchasing the typical for-sale home listing at the prevailing rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a 20% down payment meant forking over a quarter or more of the typical household paycheck. In fact, in October 2023, it required 39% of the typical household income and this share is expected to average 36.7% for the full calendar year in 2023. This figure has typically ranged around 21%, so it is well above historical average. We expect that the return to pricing in line with financing costs will begin in 2024, and home prices, mortgage rates, and income growth will each contribute to the improvement. Home prices are expected to ease slightly, dropping less than 2% for the year on average. Combined with lower mortgage rates and income growth this will improve the home purchase mortgage payment share relative to median income to an average 34.9% in 2024, with the share slipping under 30% by the end of the year.

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Home Sales Barely Budge Above 2023’s Likely Record Low

After soaring during the pandemic, existing home sales were weighed down in the latter half of 2022 as mortgage rates took off, climbing from just over 3% at the start of the year to a peak of more than 7% in the fourth quarter. The reprieve in mortgage rates in early 2023, when they dipped to around 6%, brought some life to home sales, but the renewed climb of mortgage rates has again exerted significant pressure on home sales that is exacerbated by the fact that a greater than usual number of households bought homes over the past few years, and despite stories of pandemic purchase regret , for the most part, these homeowners continue to be happy in their homes. 

This is consistent with what visitors to Realtor.com report when asked why they are not planning to sell their homes. The number one reason homeowners aren’t trying to sell is that they just don’t need to; concern about losing an existing low-rate mortgage is the top financial concern cited. Our current projection is for 2023 home sales to tally just over 4 million, a dip of 19% over the 2022 5 million total. 

existing_sales_yearly

With many of the same forces at play heading into 2024, the housing chill will continue, with sales expected to remain essentially unchanged at just over 4 million. Although mortgage rates are expected to ease throughout the course of the year, the continuation of high costs will mean that existing homeowners will have a very high threshold for deciding to move, with many likely choosing to stay in place.  Moves of necessity–for job changes, family situation changes, and downsizing to a more affordable market–are likely to drive home sales in 2024. 

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Shoppers Find Even Fewer Existing Homes For Sale

Even before the pandemic, housing inventory was on a long, slow downward trajectory. Insufficient building meant that the supply of houses did not keep up with household formation and left little slack in the housing market. Both homeowner and rental vacancy remain below historic averages . In contrast with the existing home market, which remains sluggish, builders have been catching up, with construction remaining near pre-pandemic highs for single-family and hitting record levels for multi-family . 

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Despite this, the lack of excess capacity in housing has been painfully obvious in the for-sale home market. The number of existing homes on the market has dwindled. With home sales activity to continue at a relatively low pace, the number of unsold homes on the market is also expected to remain low.  Although mortgage rates are expected to begin to ease, they are expected to exceed 6.5% for the calendar year. This means that the lock-in effect, in which the gap between market mortgage rates and the mortgage rates existing homeowners enjoy on their outstanding mortgage, will remain a factor. Roughly two-thirds of outstanding mortgages have a rate under 4% and more than 90% have a rate less than 6%.

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Rental Supply Outpaces Demand to Drive Mild Further Decline in Rents

After almost a full year of double-digit rent growth between mid-2021 and mid-2022, the rental market has finally cooled down, as evidenced by the year-over-year decline that started in May 2023 . In 2024, we expect the rental market will closely resemble the dynamics witnessed in 2023, as the tug of war between supply and demand results in a mild annual decline of -0.2% in the median asking rent.

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New multi-family supply will continue to be a key element shaping the 2024 rental market.  In the third quarter of 2023, the annual pace of newly completed multi-family homes stood at 385,000 units. Although absorption rates remained elevated in the second quarter, especially at lower price points, the rental vacancy rate ticked up to 6.6% in the third quarter. This uptick in rental vacancy suggests the recent supply has outpaced demand, but context is important. After recent gains, the rental vacancy rate is on par with its level right before the onset of the pandemic in early 2020, still below its 7.2% average from the 2013 to 2019 period.  Looking ahead, the strong construction pipeline– which hit a record high for units under construction this summer –is expected to continue fueling rental supply growth in 2024 pushing rental vacancy back toward its long-run average. 

While the surge in new multi-family supply gives renters options, the sheer number of renters will minimize the potential price impact. The median asking rent in 2024 is expected to drop only slightly below its 2023 level. Renting is expected to continue to be a more budget friendly option than buying in the vast majority of markets, even though home prices and mortgage rates are both expected to dip, helping pull the purchase market down slightly from record unaffordability. 

Young adult renters who lack the benefit of historically high home equity to tap into for a home purchase will continue to find the housing market challenging. Specifically, as many Millennials age past first-time home buying age and more Gen Z approach these years, the current housing landscape is likely to keep these households in the rental market for a longer period as they work to save up more money for the growing down payment needed to buy a first home. This trend is expected to sustain robust demand for rental properties. Consequently, we anticipate that rental markets favored by young adults , a list which includes a mix of affordable areas and tech-heavy job markets in the South, Midwest, and West, will be rental markets to watch in 2024.

Key Wildcards:

  • Wildcard 1: Mortgage Rates With both mortgage rates and home prices expected to turn the corner in 2024, record high unaffordability will become a thing of the past, though as noted above, the return to normal won’t be accomplished within the year. This prediction hinges on the expectation that inflation will continue to subside, enabling the recent declines in longer-term interest rates to continue. If inflation were to instead see a surprise resurgence, this aspect of the forecast would change, and home sales could slip lower instead of steadying.
  • Wildcard 2: Geopolitics In our forecast for 2023 , we cited the risk of geopolitical instability on trade and energy costs as something to watch. In addition to Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine, instability in the Middle East has not only had a catastrophic human toll, both conflicts have the potential to impact the economic outlook in ways that cannot be fully anticipated. 
  • Wildcard 3: Domestic Politics: 2024 Elections In 2020, amid the upheaval of pandemic-era adaptations, many Americans were on the move. We noted that Realtor.com traffic patterns indicated that home shoppers in very traditionally ‘blue’ or Democratic areas were tending to look for homes in markets where voters have more typically voted ‘red’ or Republican. While consumers also reported preferring to live in locations where their political views align with the majority , few actually reported wanting to move for this reason alone. 

Housing Perspectives:

What will the market be like for homebuyers, especially first-time homebuyers.

First-time homebuyers will continue to face a challenging housing market in 2024, but there are some green shoots. The record-high share of income required to purchase the median priced home is expected to begin to decline as mortgage rates ease, home prices soften, and incomes grow. In 2023 we expect that for the year as a whole, the monthly cost of financing the typical for-sale home will average more than $2,240, a nearly 20% increase over the mortgage payment in 2022, and roughly double the typical payment for buyers in 2020. This amounted to a whopping nearly 37% of the typical household income. In 2024 as modest price declines take hold and mortgage rates dip, the typical purchase cost is expected to slip just under $2,200 which would amount to nearly 35% of income. While far higher than historically average, this is a significant first step in a buyer-friendly direction.

How can homebuyers prepare? 

Homebuyers can prepare for this year’s housing market by getting financially ready. Buyers can use a home affordability calculator , like this one at Realtor.com to translate their income and savings into a home price range. And shoppers can pressure test the results by using a mortgage calculator to consider different down payment, price, and loan scenarios to see how their monthly costs would be impacted. Working with a lender can help potential buyers explore different loan products such as FHA or VA loans that may offer lower mortgage interest rates or more flexible credit criteria. 

Although prices are anticipated to fall in 2024, housing costs remain high, and a down payment can be a big obstacle for buyers. Recent research shows that the typical down payment on a home reached a record high of $30,000 .  To make it easier to cobble together a down payment, shoppers can access information about down payment assistance options at Realtor.com/fairhousing and in the monthly payment section of home listing pages. Furthermore, home shoppers can explore loan products geared toward helping families access homeownership by enabling down payments as low as 3.5% in the case of FHA loans and 0% in the case of VA loans .

What will the market be like for home sellers?

Home sellers are likely to face more competition from builders than from other sellers in 2024. Because builders are continuing to maintain supply and increasingly adapting to market conditions, they are increasingly focused on lower-priced homes and willing to make price adjustments when needed. As a result, potential sellers will want to consider the landscape for new construction housing in their markets and any implications for pricing and marketing before listing their home for sale.

What will the market be like for renters?

In 2024, renting is expected to continue to be a more cost-effective option than buying in the short term even though we anticipate the advantage for renting to diminish as home prices and mortgage rates decline. 

However, for those considering the pursuit of long-term equity through homeownership, it’s essential to not only stay alert about market trends but also to carefully consider the intended duration of residence in their next home. When home prices rise rapidly, like they did during the pandemic, the higher cost of purchasing a home may break even with the cost of renting in as little as 3 years. Generally, it takes longer to reach the breakeven point, typically within a 5 to 7-year timeframe. Importantly, when home prices are falling and rents are also declining, as is expected to be the case in 2024, it can take longer to recoup some of the higher costs of buying a home. Individuals using Realtor.com’s Rent vs. Buy Calculator can thoroughly evaluate the costs and benefits associated with renting versus buying over time and how many years current market trends suggest it will take before buying is the better financial decision. This comprehensive tool can provide insights tailored to a household’s specific rent versus buying decision and empowers consumers to consider not only the optimal choice for the current month but also how the trade-offs evolve over several years.

Local Market Predictions:

All real estate is local and while the national trends are instructive, what matters most is what’s expected in your local market. 

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