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The MRF hosts top-line data from the latest MAPS webinar

The Marketing Research Foundation’s (MRF) is looking forward to connecting with the marketing and advertising industry at their upcoming webinar on Thursday, 01 February 2024, to provide general top-line data from the latest MAPS™ (Marketing All Product Survey) data that was released in December 2023.

“The three continuous years of data, from July 2020 to June 2023 with over 60 000 respondents, has provided invaluable insights into consumer media and product consumption and spending patterns,” says the MRF’s CEO, Johann Koster.

The webinar will include MAPS demographics, the economic landscape that South Africa finds itself in, the current media landscape, and consumer product consumption and spending patterns.

Some interesting findings in the data include the continued upsurge in online activities and e-commerce. Social media and content streaming services continue to show strong growth, for example, TikTok growing by 531% over the past three years, while print media is showing some stability following sharp declines during the pandemic. Television has been severely affected by loadshedding and the Government’s digital migration programme and saw an overall decline of 22%. Some TV channels however bucked this trend and experienced growth during this challenging time.

The three-year period under review presented extraordinary challenges for consumers ranging from the pandemic, economic and cost-of-living challenges to loadshedding and water supply interruptions. These challenges forced consumers to adapt and change their behaviour and the MAPS data provides invaluable insights into these behavioural shifts. While the average monthly spend on groceries and toiletries have remained fairly stable throughout this period, it should be seen in the context of rising inflation which meant that the average grocery basket got smaller. Brand loyalty for groceries and toiletries have also declined while cosmetics saw the opposite trend.

MAPS December 2023 Release Industry Webinar

When:             Thursday, 01 February 2024

Time:              11:00

Where:            Webinar (

“MAPS provides vital marketing insights to help brands navigate the fast-changing marketing landscape. With extensive consumer data covering long-term trends, seasonal shifts, and quarterly changes in shopper behaviour and spending patterns, MAPS empowers marketers with the consumer intelligence needed to succeed,” said Koster. “We are excited to present MAPS most current findings on South African consumers to the industry this week.”

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Three years of trendable consumer data now available from the MRF

The Marketing Research Foundation’s (MRF) latest iteration of MAPS™ (Marketing All Product Survey), with fieldwork from July 2022 to June 2023, is now available to marketers and their designated agencies. The latest quarterly release marks three continuous years of insights into consumer behaviour and spending patterns.

“The data, now from over 60 000 unique respondents, over the last three-year period provides a clear view of the changes in product consumption and spending patterns,” says the MRF’s CEO, Johann Koster. “The recovery from recent global events and ongoing economic pressures on consumers are evident in the data.”

It is important to note that normally there would only be four releases of data per annum, but due to the audit conducted this year and the implementation of the findings there is an additional release. 2024 will see the releases return to the normal quarterly cadence.

The fieldwork data from July 2022 to June 2023 is currently available for use to the subscribed marketers and their agencies, there will be a general top-line data industry webinar late January 2024, once everyone is back from the holiday season.

“MAPS is an invaluable strategic marketing tool for today’s dynamic landscape delivering an incredible depth and breadth of data whether looking at year-on-year, seasonal or quarterly shifts in consumer behaviour,” said Koster. “We look forward to sharing the latest insights into the ever-evolving South African consumer with the industry next year.”

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MAPS media, brand and consumer data to be released

The Marketing Research Foundation’s (MRF) announces that the latest iteration of MAPS (Marketing All Product Survey), with fieldwork from April 2022 to March 2023, will be available as from Monday, 02 October 2023.

The MRF’s CEO, Johann Koster says, “The upcoming latest iteration of MAPS will provide insights into consumer behaviour and spending patterns from the first quarter of 2023. It will be interesting to see data from this year coming through.”

The impacts of recent global events on consumers are evident in quarterly consumer data. Trends that emerged during COVID-19 and ongoing economic pressures continue to shape how consumer behaviour evolves in the face of uncertainty. The data reveals changes in product consumption and spending patterns.

“MAPS is an invaluable strategic marketing tool for today’s dynamic landscape,” said Koster. “With its wealth of insights into an ever-evolving consumer, MAPS empowers marketers and agencies to make smart, data-driven decisions. We eagerly anticipate the release of the newest MAPS data, which will reveal the latest shifts in consumer trends as the research continues to progress. These timely insights will allow us to identify and respond to changes in the market.”

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The latest strategic decision-making MAPS® data is now available

The Marketing Research Foundation’s (MRF) latest iteration of MAPS (Marketing All Product Survey) data has been released. Interesting changes in consumer behaviour has come to light, especially over the past two years providing marketers with a strategic decision-making viewpoint.

The July release which, for the first time, enables users to compare two calendar years of data, delivers a national survey of 20 000 interviews which includes insights into respondents’ brand interaction across more than 3 376 brands.

MAPS validated by audit

A recent audit on the survey’s underlying processes, procedures, and protocols, by auditors 3M3A found that MAPS is of a “high standard”, healthy and in a good place. Some technical adjustments have improved the accuracy and stability of MAPS, ensuring that the MRF can ultimately deliver on the goal of making MAPS a world class survey enabling strategic decision making.

The MRF’s CEO, Johann Koster says, “There have been many data releases recently from various organisations and it can become a little confusing as the data to many are not comparable. It is therefore important to understand where the MAPS research fits into the South African research sphere. The scope of MAPS is huge and includes life stages and lifestyles, financials, media consumption and consumer purchasing behaviours.”

“MAPS is a strategic tool; it is not a media currency,” adds Virginia Hollis, Chairperson of the MRF. “The insights from MAPS offer a detailed view of consumer behaviour across media, finance, retail and many other sectors, additionally, MAPS covers the entire age 15+ population, not just a section of South Africa.”

The MRF are in the process of having discussions with the Broadcast Research Council (BRC) and the Publisher Research Council (PRC) to become the industry hub survey for fusion with currencies and other industry research to provide a single source of consumer data. “These discussions are going well and are looking very positive,” says Hollis.

Fieldwork Landscape

Two research collection instruments are used for the MAPS study, over 20 000 face-to-face interviews and nearly 11 000 product and brand diaries have been completed during 2022. The two formats are integrated into a full sample by means of fusion. Sampling includes a distribution of 50% metro, 30% urban and 20% rural, validated by GIS (Geographic Information System) mapping.

Personal and household incomes decline

The survey has found that average personal income over the two-year period of 2021 and 2022 had declined from R4 883 to R4 438 while average household income has declined from R11 648 to R9 973. 2022 saw less people unemployed, more retirees, more self-employed and more students. More undergraduate degrees were achieved while diplomas and post-graduate degrees remained the same.

The impact of change in the economic landscape between 2020 and 2022 has become very clear to see. The effects saw fewer impulse buying opportunities, a shift in shopping patterns from instore to online, an increase in dependents other than own household and careful buying became the order of the day – the result – behaviour shifts in volume and cost-effective purchasing or thrift shopping.

Effects on consumers can be seen through quarterly data tracking

The effects on consumers and changes in product consumption and spending patterns are also clear to see especially when viewed through the lens of quarterly data tracking. For example, overall, the average monthly clothing or apparel expenditure decreased by just over half from R2 736 to R1 329 over the two-year period, but what is apparent in the quarterly data tracking is that the expenditure is showing signs of recovery from Q2 in 2022.

The data also indicates that while brand loyalty is on the rise, consumers are more willing to abandon a particular brand if it becomes too expensive.

Media landscape

Not only has the environment affected the economic landscape but media consumption too. 2022 saw never-before loadshedding stages and a massive upward trend of Gigawatt Hours (GWh) being shed especially in the second half of 2022 with huge impacts on consumer media consumption.

Since the easing of lockdown, the data confirms that consumers have been spending more time getting back to activities outside their homes. Clear upward trends are noticed for out-of-home engagements including gardening, running errands (school runs and shopping for example) and traveling to and from work. Other MAPS ‘time spent’ data points include, but are not limited to, checking social media, playing computer games, just ‘surfing’ the internet, watching TV (further segmented into watching sport or not) and listening to radio.

Year-on-year media penetration shifts saw a massive increase in online activities while traditional media, TV, radio and print saw various levels of decline.

Strategic decision-making for brands

MAPS delves deeply into brands and services. Financial service questions relate to commercial banking, financial services, saving and investment behaviour, stokvels and SASSA grants. Retail questions include household purchasing behaviour, products and brands, malls visited and fast-food purchasing behaviours. For example, the percentage of the population that used hair styling products decreased from 16% to 14% over the two-year period.

Hollis reiterates,” MAPS is an indispensable strategic tool in decision making, providing the ability to track shifts in behaviour and consumptions patterns of the South African consumer. Our vision for MAPS is to help business’ make better decisions.  It has been designed specifically for marketers, media strategists/planners independently from any commercial interests. Our goal is for MAPS to be the single source of consumer data that marketers and agencies can rely on.

Thank you to our users and subscribers, stakeholders, the MRF board, the volunteers and Plus094 Research in this massive undertaking for getting MAPS published on a quarterly basis.”

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MAPS®, the latest data, to be released on 31 July 2023

The Marketing Research Foundation’s (MRF) has announced that the latest iteration of MAPS (Marketing All Product Survey) data will be released on Monday, 31 July 2023. The media and advertising industry is invited to participate in a general release webinar on Thursday 3 August 2023.

The July release will once again deliver insights into a national survey of 20 000 interviews which includes insights into respondents’ brand interaction across more than 3 376 brands.

The MRF’s CEO, Johann Koster, emphasises the significance of this release as it presents a valuable chance to conduct a thorough analysis of two full calendar years. “This enables MAPS users to gain a plethora of valuable insights as we monitor evolving consumer behaviour, transitioning from the impact of Covid restrictions to the current economic downturn.

MAPS is the largest and most comprehensive consumer survey of its kind in South Africa and offers a holistic and detailed view of consumer behaviour across media, banking, insurance, clothing, groceries, alcohol and many more,” confirms Koster, “What makes MAPS so relevant is that all data collected is from the same space and time, representing specific consumer and household views.”

Space and time are very important considerations when consolidating consumer data. Consumer behaviour is largely a consequence of external factors and the environment within which consumption decisions are made. Consider how quickly consumer behaviour changed during and after the Covid pandemic. The subsequent economic downturn has ushered in a period of volatility and uncertainty for consumers, resulting in further shifts in behaviour. Consumers are adapting, re-prioritising, and making changes in their day to day lives and MAPS provides the unparalleled ability to track these changes over time.

“Marketers and agencies have found MAPS to be a powerful and strategic tool in its depth of sample, data diversity, frequency, scrutiny and all the processes that govern its implementation”, concludes Koster. “In this regard MAPS is unequalled in its capacity to be a sole provider or used in combination with other data.

The MRF together with our partner Plus94 Research look forward to sharing this information with the industry on Thursday, 3 August 2023.”

MAPS July Release Industry Webinar

When: Thursday, 3 August 2023

Time: 10:00

Where: Webinar (

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Media, brand and consumer research in SA takes another leap forward

After February’s milestone release of MAPS (Marketing All Product Survey) data, the Marketing Research Foundation’s (MRF) has announced that the latest MAPS data will be released at the end of July 2023. This data will encompass consumer information gathered from January 2021 to December 2022, enabling a unique opportunity for a comprehensive comparison between two complete calendar years, yet another milestone in the history of MAPS.

“These remarkable milestones mark a significant leap forward for the MRF and solidify its position as the singular source of truth in the South African media and consumer data landscape,” says MRF’s CEO, Johann Koster, “This latest data release incorporates consumer insights gathered from more than 40 000 interviews, spanning the 2021 and 2022 calendar years. It allows MAPS users a wealth of insights as we track the changing consumer behaviour, emerging from the Covid restrictions and now finding ourselves in the firm grip of an economic downturn.”

We’re also extremely proud to say that this month, together with partners Plus94 Research, we’ve been continuously collecting data and been in the field for three years. This means that just over 60 000 households have been visited and not a single one twice. This delivers incredible depth and breadth in the data whether looking at year-on-year, seasonal or quarterly shifts in consumer behaviour.”

The February MAPS data, for example, has allowed users to compare two years of continuous data from July 2020 to June 2022 and is providing extraordinary insights into the COVID-19 period and the period leading up to the current economic situation in South Africa.

The effects on consumers and changes in product consumption and spending patterns are clear to see especially when viewed through the lens of quarterly data tracking. It is fascinating to watch shifts in consumer behaviour and consumption within a quarterly timeframe. These graphs, showing the effect of the current economic environment on clothing purchases, is just one example of the many insights that can be mined in MAPS.

“It is important to remember that MAPS is independent, untainted by commercial interests and has rapidly become the de facto strategic inter-media planning tool for countless marketers and advertisers,” concludes Koster.

The unrivalled depth and reliability of this data make it an indispensable resource for industry professionals who are seeking unparalleled insights and a competitive edge.”

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Issued on behalf of:                           Marketing Research Foundation (MRF)

Johann Koster – CEO

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The Resurgence of Single Source Data

After a few years of relying on individual media currencies provided by separate media owners because of the lack of an independent products and brands survey, single-source data is once again flexing its muscle and reflecting the totality and complexity of the South African society. Having already shown the strength of its data in quarterly releases, in October 2021, the Marketing Research Foundation (MRF) will be presenting the first full-year data of Marketing All Product Survey (MAPSTM).

In the past South Africa was at the forefront of data collection and SAARF’s AMPS survey was the general go-to for all media planners and strategists. However, the unfortunate demise of this single-source data led to a void in the media planning process, and many agencies were forced to use old data to try and track an increasingly changing, segmented and fragmented market. The current scenario where there are individual JICs reporting on their own media currencies have further complicated this process.

“The MRF was born as an independent, non-profit company, acting as the custodian and repository of research expertise for the marketing industry and their advertising industry partners,” says MRF’s CEO, Johann Koster. “The MAPS survey has been introduced to fill the void that marketers have been clamouring for.”

The Foundation’s main objectives are to establish, commission and manage comprehensive, valid, reliable, and continuous consumer behaviour research, surveys, investigations and reports, that provide data for targeting and segmentation, as well as multi-product/brand usage and multi-media information that reflects the totality and complexity of the South African society.

“MAPS offers the familiarity and comfort of AMPS but is modernised, updated and greatly enhanced,” comments Koster. “MAPS is designed to be independent of any commercial interest and to be the heart of an organisations consumer data and insights strategy. MAPS should form the focal point for developing marketing strategies including market sizing and segmentation, consumer profiles, brand profiles, media profiles, etc. Once these elements have been compiled, the media currencies should be used for detailed media planning and purchasing.”

With the advent of the COVID pandemic, it was believed that MAPS would probably be a pipe dream.  But after receiving the results of the first 5000 interviews, followed by March and June, the MRF were back on track and the general response from the market has been very positive. Next month will see the validation of years of work that has been put into MAPS when the full-year dataset is released to subscribers.

And MAPS is certainly gaining the support of the marketing industry! The research is transparent and free of influence from commercial interests – allowing marketers to make informed choices based on data generated by the input of their own questions. The completely modernised survey, including innovations such as multi-platform behaviour, decision-making questions and geo-codable data, enable synergies between media planning and marketing strategy resulting in cost-effective advertising.

This large-scale sample and single source data will enable the MRF, in collaboration with MASA and other industry partners, to develop a much needed Segmentation Model, which will replace the old LSM segmentation.  This model will be shaped in partnership with industry stakeholders and fellow JICs. The industry urgently requires one segmentation model that everyone believes in and that can be used for years to come by the entire marketing and advertising industry.

Like the proverbial phoenix, single-source data is on the rise and for the first time in five years, the marketing and media industry has demographic, intermedia, behavioural, product and brand data in one survey.

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MRF’s MAPS quarterly 9 month data released

The Marketing Research Foundation (MRF) is pleased to announce that the next quarter’s Marketing All Product Survey (MAPS) data, fieldwork period of July 2020 to March 2021, is available to subscribers and their agencies from 30 June 2021.

“The MRF Research Committee has meticulously scrutinised the next quarterly instalment of demographic, intermedia, behavioural, product and brand data and has given their stamp of approval,” says MRF’s CEO, Johann Koster. “Nine months’ worth of single source, geo-codable MAPS data is now available to subscribers and their agencies.”

Subscribers, with many providing their own marketing questions in the survey, will now have a sample of 15 000 to analyse all market segments to determine the age-old marketing questions of ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘when’ (well, that’s until March 2021 right now) and ‘how much’.

During the fieldwork period 15 030 interviews were conducted, 7792 diaries collected, 1880 Economic Area’s (EA) visited with 3942 backchecks completed which has resulted in a world class, fully comprehensive and robust dataset.

“We’re enthusiastic to go back into the field to start the next quarter of data, but that is of course dependent on the easing of current Lockdown restrictions,” concludes Koster. “It’s an extremely exciting prospect to know that we are only one quarter away from a full year’s worth of data, with results expected to be released in October this year.

Thank you once again to all our subscribers and committees for the continuous support and valuable input.”

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MAPS 9-month data to be released in June

The Marketing Research Foundation (MRF) is pleased to announce its quarterly release of the Marketing All Product Survey (MAPS). The next release encompasses nine-month data (July 2020 to March 2021) and will be released towards the end of June 2021 before fieldwork continues for the first full year dataset, set for release in October.

“The data collection for the first quarter of 2021 has been completed and is currently being verified in preparation for the MRF’s scrutiny process,” says MRF’s CEO, Johann Koster. “I can confirm that this is an intensive task that tests the integrity and stability of the data, which is managed by the MRF Research Committee.”

Just as the MAPS Wave 1 data was completed, the data will be prepared for final release together with the data tree going to the software bureaux beforehand enabling subscribers and their agencies access to the updated data. The exact release date will be confirmed at a later stage by the MRF.

Data from Wave1 (July – Dec 2020 fieldwork period) was presented to subscribers on 18 March and to the broader industry on 25 March this year. “We are exceptionally pleased that the results have been so well received and feedback from subscribers has all been very positive,” confirms Koster. “I would also like to thank Plus94 Research for the sterling and professional work put in to complete, and the continuation of the MAPS fieldwork.”

“Conducting research during the global pandemic was challenging but it will be interesting to see how the consumer’s behaviour changed from the release of the first wave to the results of the 4th quarter,” says Virginia Hollis, the MRF’s Board Chairperson. “Notwithstanding the hurdles MAPS’s fieldwork faced during Covid, we and our subscribers are confident that this data will have a great impact in the daily planning and strategic focus of our marketers and agencies.”

Currently, the MRF is in the process of reviewing both the MAPS face to face questionnaire and branded diary. The first six-month fieldwork period and data release has afforded the MRF the opportunity to gauge the performance of the questionnaire in field as well as the data that has resulted. These learnings will be applied to improve the MAPS questionnaire.

Over and above the learnings taken from the results to date, MAPS subscribers were asked to send proposals of what changes they would like to see in the questionnaire, and excellent feedback was received.  These proposals will now be considered by the Research Committee over the next couple of weeks, when the questionnaire will be finalised for fieldwork starting on the 1st July 2021.

“Fieldwork for the second quarter of 2021 has progressed well and we aim to release that data in October 2021 which will be the first full twelve-month dataset with quarterly updates continuing every three months thereafter,” concludes Koster.

“We look forward to sharing the updated MAPS quarterly data next month and getting the fieldwork started for the very first iteration of our full year dataset.”

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