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The future for consumer panels is rich, for both consumers and researchers. Consumer panels in the future could be conducted through such technologies as refrigerator panel displays, smart voice–activated appliances, video conference calls, and personal displays or on high–resolution Web television. Incorporating these technologies into consumer research will further personalize the experience and make data collection more efficient. Questions can be asked and answered in real time, in a vivid, situationally specific manner. Data collection can be voice–activated, interactive, and qualitative. However, the ease of data collection may make it prone to commodification and diminish its quality, stalling progress. The dangers lie in the under–responding to research, rationalization research, and in the over–responding to research, marketing schizophrenia. Additionally, utilizing technology to collect data could lead to the loss of privacy. The Federal Trade Commission provides five principles of fair information practices that market researchers should provide: notice, choices, access, security, and enforcement. Research analysts must collect data fairly and use it illustratively, to answer "why" and to dig deeper through theory–based education and through data–driven insights. These data can benefit companies through user profile analysis, consumption clustering and preference affiliation, and web browsing and purchase predictions. Although technology may bring consumer research into an unknown era of live, interactive data collection, the key to continuing success in consumer panels is never to lose sight that people, both panelists and researchers, are the core of what drives the value of panel research.
Wansink, Brian and Seymour Sudman (2002). Predicting the Future of Consumer Panels. Journal of Database Marketing, 9:4, 301–311. doi: 10.1057/palgrave.jdm.3240078