As 2023 draws to an close, Norstat CEO Erling J. B. Eriksen reflects on how the company has changed in the last 12 months and what lies ahead for 2024.
It’s hard to believe 2023 is almost over. After a year clouded by economic uncertainty and inflation concerns, we are finally seeing signs that things may be moving in the right direction. At the same time, however, the geopolitical situation remains as complicated as ever.
These challenging conditions have not dented Norstat’s resilience. Looking back, I find myself both impressed and humbled by how much the talented Norstat team has accomplished during the last year. The growth has been strong and the margin improvements even stronger. It is impossible to ask for more. Our numbers and results are unrivalled in this industry.
The formula: high-quality data, great service and the very best team undoubtedly continues to work. When all that is combined with a performance culture and an increasing tech component creating efficiencies, we continue to exceed client expectations. Thanks to our joint efforts we have created the winning team in Europe. The strength of the company culture and the amount of development going on leaves me with zero doubts that it will continue.
We were fortunate enough to reach several important milestones in 2023 as we continue to grow and transform to become the market leader for data collection across Europe.
In April, we launched Norstat Quarterly Data, an initiative that makes it easier to access the facts and knowledge people need to make informed decisions. Every quarter, we now publish the results of a survey carried out in 15 different countries across Europe, providing up-to-date, quality data on the views of consumers across the continent.
Norstat Quarterly Data truly embodies our commitment to promoting innovation and accessibility. It demonstrates both our data collection and visualisation strengths and introduces new audiences to the power and value of high-quality data. It’s gratifying to know we can develop and share a tool that lets anyone take the pulse of Europe and track how trends evolve over time.
A significant milestone for Norstat this past year was the July acquisition of Panelbase, one of the UK’s largest independent data collection providers. The acquisition is Norstat’s seventh during my tenure as CEO and marks another important step toward our goal of becoming Europe’s leading data collection provider. The new clients acquired via Panelbase now have transparent access to all 19 markets where we operate across Europe. Additionally, our clients in Europe benefit from significantly enhanced panel feasibility in the UK, along with more focus on our panel in the Republic of Ireland.
I’m also exceptionally proud of how hard teams from both businesses worked before and after the acquisition to help welcome Panelbase to the Norstat family. We now have access to over 3 million panellists across Europe, allowing us to enter 2024 with even better pan-European data collection capabilities. I am impressed with how fast and smooth the integration has happened – on January 8th, we will complete the integration as Panelbase formally rebrands as Norstat.
Of course, 2023 will also be a year to remember for Norstat thanks to the launch of our new website in October. Digital innovation has long been in our DNA, and having a corporate website that provides our clients with an enhanced digital experience is yet another expression of that legacy.
The new corporate website marks a significant advancement in Norstat’s digital strategy and commitment to providing additional value to our clients. Not only does it strengthen our brand recognition, but it also facilitates Norstat’s continued growth and ongoing commercial transformation.
In the last couple of years, we have launched a flurry of new digital solutions designed to meet the increased demand for high-quality data. From the intuitive interfaces of Norstat Dashboards to the automated self-service platform of Norstat Live and Norstat Express for insights within the hour, customers now have a growing portfolio of easy-to-use digital options that provide new ways for clients across industries to access, analyse, and present market research data.
One of the key events this year was the launch of TestingTime in Sweden. TestingTime was acquired in 2021 as part of the strategy to strengthen the digital solutions portfolio and accelerate growth in Europe. With the acquisition, we extended our offering to deliver a self-service platform to recruit test users and respondents for both qualitative and quantitative research. I am delighted to see the continuous growth in the number of clients joining our platform.
If we’ve learned anything over the past 12 months, it’s that proprietary high-quality data is becoming increasingly valuable. Growing consumer demand for privacy and data security will only make it harder for businesses to access reliable, high-quality consumer data. At the same time, there is growing demand – and expectation – on the part of business leaders and decision-makers for more data-driven decisions. I anticipate these trends to persist and even strengthen into 2024 and beyond.
Fortunately, millions of consumers across Europe have already given Norstat permission to ask them questions and learn more about their sentiments and attitudes. This allows us to provide our clients with unmatched quality and range in our panels. We plan to continue investing in maintaining and expanding our robust consumer panels so we can deliver more and better insights to feed an increasingly data-hungry world. Our commitment to panel quality is at our core.
It’s also been wonderful to see the commercial impact of the milestones described above together with so many other important initiatives. When the year gets summed up, we will see a revenue close to 1 bn NOK for the first time in Norstat’s nearly 30-year history.
Looking ahead to 2024, Norstat is well-positioned to continue the growth journey that has seen our recorded revenue in 2023 doubled since 2020 with an average proforma growth of 13%. We will continue our organic growth by delivering on what we are great at: taking excellent care of our clients and making sure we have the best product in town – the data.
We will increase our onboarding of new clients, supported by our increasingly sophisticated suite of offerings. In addition, we can look forward to an ever-increasing tech ingredient in Norstat, driving efficiencies and new products. We also plan to expand our use of automation and AI capabilities to further drive operational efficiencies and expand the development of our proprietary technology platform.
I expect Norstat’s ongoing international growth and expansion to maintain its momentum in 2024 and beyond. And don’t be surprised if the new year also brings new acquisitions; our M&A days have only just begun. We continue to look at and evaluate companies that strengthen and complement our current capabilities and offerings, and we will hopefully complete one or more deals next year providing our requirements are met: high quality acquisitions only.
So, thanks to everyone who helped make Norstat’s 2023 so rewarding. I can’t wait to see what we’re able to accomplish in the year ahead – and I’m convinced the best is yet to come.
Erling J.B. Eriksen
CEO of Norstat