The context behind our unique, multilayered approach to generating fresh insights

Traditional research methods work best when the future looks like the past, but in a time defined by seismic change and greater volatility, new ways of thinking are needed to reach new insights.

Building on our multilayer research framework, as well as design-thinking practices developed by KPMG Innovation Labs for our inaugural Me, my life, my wallet report, we’ve gone further this year by talking to, surveying and conducting ethnographic research with more consumers in more markets around the world. Critically, we don’t rely on any one of these activities alone to paint a picture of the future; it’s in their combination that the sum becomes greater than its parts.

We begin by understanding macro trends, identifying social, technological, economic and political signals of change. We then layer on a combination of scientific data and fact-based historical and economic data, before adding original ethnographic research to understand the ‘why’ behind behavior.

We combine this developing picture and the ethnographic findings to inform questions for our primary survey, to test the prevalence of behaviors. Our approach starts with deep qualitative research to uncover insights that don’t come out through traditional market research, moving from signals, to hunches, to hypotheses that are tested, validated and quantified.

Why does this approach get better answers? Baked into each layer of data is an opportunity to check our cognitive biases, and keep exploring the unknown–known and unknown–unknown territories. Put simply? It helps us go hunting for insights in the right areas, asking the right questions.

We start with trends research because that is where the early signals appear. The fringes of behavior and the outlier activities of today can be the major trend waves of tomorrow. In addition, we layer in neuroscience, ethnography and historical research, which are critical components to enhance the quality of our insights …

Colleen Drummond, Head of Innovation Labs, KPMG in the US

Our methodology is a unique and multi-layered approach that includes:

  • Inputs from a survey of 18,000 online consumers in 51 countries
    by geography, generation and product category

  • Inputs from our Global CEO Survey of 1,300 business leaders from around the world

  • Inputs from our Global Consumer Executive Top of Mind Survey of
    526 senior executives from 31 countries where 60 percent expect the market to become more volatile

  • Two new surveys of approximately 25,000 consumers from Brazil, Canada, China, France, India, the UAE, the UK and the US across demographics and life stages

  • In-depth ethnographic interviews with 196 consumers in Brazil, Canada, China, France, India, the UK and the US

  • Quantified evidence of trends over time

  • Neuroscience theory and frameworks behind decision-making and behavior

  • Extensive industry sector disruption research

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