The Holding of 1st Annual General Meeting of Market Research Association (Yangon) at UMFCCI building on October 24, 2019

The first annual general meeting of Market Research Association (Yangon) was held at UMFCCI building on 24th of October, 2019. There were 194 participants. The list of participants are described below:

Sr. Subject Number
1 Executive Committee member 8
2 Member 14
3 ESOMAR Guest 3
4 Government departments & academic institutions 16
5 Organizations/associations 9
6 International organizations 6
7 Members from research agencies 71
8 Non-members from research agencies 14
9 Those who received MRA training 26
10 Other invited guests 16
11 Media persons 10
 Total 194

The first session of the AGM started at 8:30 am.

U Moe Kyaw, Chairman of Market Research Association, delivered an opening address

First of all, he sent his blessings for the good health and greater wealth of all those present. Then he gave a brief history of market research in Myanmar after which he gave his estimates of its market size saying 16 to 18 million US dollars per year. He went on to say that usually the market research industry accounts for 5 to 7 percent of the advertising industry; Thailand’s annual GDP is estimated at  more than 440 USD billion while Myanmar GDP is estimated to be USD 60 – 70 billion; it can be said that our neighbor is more than 6 six times richer than us; if the size of advertising industry of Myanmar is around 200-250 US million; theirs should be around US$1.5 billon; however, this is not the case and their advertising budget is as large as US$ 4 billion, which means theirs is about 20 times larger than ours and therefore he projected that there is great potential of growth as far as the domestic research industry is concerned.

He further said that the size of advertising industry in Myanmar should be as big as  US$ 800 million; MRA and ESOMAR are to sign a partnership agreement, this would ensure that proper research techniques are followed and more and more market research projects are made available; this would also ensure that MRA and its members follow their code of conduct and international standards in the conduct of their market research. He expressed his thanks for signing the agreement. He concluded his opening speech by saying that the association aims to recruit up to 200 members from our current membership of 40-50 and that the association would provide all their support to enhance the skills of their members.

Daw Khin Sett Yee, Deputy Director of Central Statistical Organization, made a presentation on findings of one of the nationwide survey conducted by the organization

She explained matters relating to the 2017 Myanmar living conditions survey (MLCS) that included its sampling frame and sampling methodology in which she said that the sampling frame was based on data from the 2014 population census; the survey covered 1,145 enumeration areas(EAs) out of 4,000 EAs included in the 2014 census; the survey covered 296 townships out of 330 townships in total; it covered 13,730 households and response rate was recorded as 94 percent; unfortunately the study failed to cover Buthidaug and Maungdaw of northern Rakhine and Wa Region in northern Shan of eastern Myanmar, among others.

She then gave a brief account of poverty situation in Myanmar. She said that poverty rate in rural areas is recorded as 30.2% against 11.3% in urban areas; when it comes to states and regions, Chin State has a poverty rate of 58%, the highest in Myanmar, followed by Rakhine State; Tanintharyi, Mandalay and Yangon have the lowest poverty rates and they are recorded as 13 to 14%; the Planning Department under the Ministry of Planning & Finance calculated the poverty rate in Myanmar beginning 2005 under the Integrated Household Living Conditions (IHLC) survey; poverty rate in 2005 was recorded at 48.2%; poverty rate in the year 2017 is put at 24.8%; accordingly poverty rate declined by half within a span of 12 years from 2005 to 2017; the 2015 Myanmar Living Conditions Survey(MLCS) covered all the areas in states and region including including Buthidaug and Maungdaw; as mentioned earlier these two areas were excluded in the 2017 survey; poverty incidence in 2015 was put at 18.7 million; the figure dropped to 12.8 million in the year 2017 and although poverty is still prevalent, poverty rate declined in both urban and rural areas on an annual basis.

She continued to dwell on the vulnerability issue of the country. She said that those who are categorized as “Non-poor insecure” accounts for 33% in Myanmar; these people may fall under the poverty line as they can be vulnerable to weather shocks or sudden rises in commodity prices; it is hereby called for the government to lay down appropriate policy recommendations to enable those people to cope with those situations; talked about socio-economic and demographic characteristics of poor and non-poor households segregated by urban and rural areas and states and regions; since agricultural households are more likely to fall into a state of poverty and therefore, it is hereby called for for the government to lay down appropriate policies to bring about development in the agricultural sector. She later said that there are three reports to be published from the Myanmar Living Conditions Survey. They are: 1) key indicators report, 2) technical report and 3) poverty report. They are all available online at;   their soft copies can also be downloaded; hard copies are always available at the CSO office in Naypyitaw; it is expected that the socio-economic report will be made available to the public some time next month, this is an in-depth analytical report on MLCS and that it will officially be launched at a ceremony.

U Moe Kyaw, Chairman of Market Research Association (Yangon) and Mr. John Davidson ,Smurthwaite, ESOMAR Asia and Pacific Region Ambassador, signed partnership agreement.

The meeting resumed at 10:20 am.

U Aung Min, Secretary of the Market Research Association gave a presentation of the annual report of the Executive Committee.

He explained matters relating to the organization of the MRA, work of the four committees, and the financial statement of the organization. He added that the association was formed in 2016, with 12 founding members; it was registered with DICA in 2018, and was formally launched in October last year; and the present meeting is its first annual general meeting.

He explained that the association has executive committee members, corporate and individual members and associate members, all totaling only 28; that the association is made up of 14 companies that are leading companies in the field of market research; that it has no foreign companies yet, but they will be contacted to make them associate members; and that the association has targeted to increase its members to 50 in the year 2020.

Then he disclosed in brief the association’s accomplishment during the year;  the association’s strategy has been developed and it is nearing completion and it will be finished after being revised with the support provided by the International Trade Centre in December, 2019; that the purpose of the strategy is for the sustainability of the association and as a way of informing the ITC of how it will manage to stand independent without any external support; ITC gave advice on what types of services the association should provide, what services it shall provide to its members and other stakeholders; that the association has signed two agreements- Partnership Agreement between Esomar World Research and agreement on Adoption of Code of Conduct, which has been adopted by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC); and that the code of conduct will be distributed to the members so that they are to abide by it.

Regarding the work of the Education Committee, he described its participation in the panel of Myanmar Statistics Forum organized by CSO in 2018, in the seminar, the conduct of the recent training on basic concept of market research; the information about the representative of Esomar organizing the Master Class; lectures on research to be given by some association members to university students at Mini-talks as a way of sharing knowledge; the plan to work out criteria regarding socio-economic indicators by the standardization committee; the plan to upload translated Myanmar version of Esomar  Code of Conduct on the website; plan to give basic training to help turn out qualified interviewers, and the plan of the Advocacy Committee to render support to the ministries concerned. The secretary concluded his presentation with his explanation on the financial statements and sharing of the address of the association at Shwepyaezone Market, Mingalar Taung Nyut Township and association’s website after which he called on the participants to apply for association membership.

Mr. John Davidson Smurthwaite, Esomar Asia and Pacific Ambassador, shared views on international and regional research landscape

First of all, he expressed his thanks to MRA for inviting him to the first annual general meeting and that he was also present at its launching and that he was amazed to see the well functioning of the association although it has not got a lot of money in the bank. 

He said that he had just come from the global meeting of ESOMAR held in Edinburgh and that he would be making a presentation about the global trends of the market research industry. Then, he showed a two-minute video clip titled “ESOMAR the Global Insights Community.” He went on to say that he would be talking about the transformation about the industry and some of the major trends and that although the traditional market research business has not been growing very well globally in the last five or six years, however, the new business, the digital business, the analytics business is growing very fast; and therefore, the overall market research business is growing and it is growing 3 or 4 percent at random; the traditional business of asking questions through the use of a questionnaire such as face-to-face, telephone or to some extent online study is not growing; and some of the regions in the world is going and the growth has been seen in Africa and Asia Pacific regions, the industry is growing 4 or 5 percent per year, but the rest of the world such as Europe, America and Latin American are now growing in the traditional way.

He pointed out that the MRA chairman talked about the size of the market research industry in Myanmar as 18 million US dollars per year and the growth of the last three years has been about 20 percent; that traditionally, market research grows at least as far as that of GDP in a country and in a country where the industry is not well-developed, the market research industry could grow twice that of GDP; since Myanmar’s GDP has been projected to grow at 6 to 7 percent, it can be expected that the market research industry will rise by 12 to 15 percent in the year; continued growth is expected in Myanmar for the next five years; most of the market sizes of countries mentioned in the slides total 140 to 150 million per year and that could be the direction in which Myanmar will go on in the next 10 to 15 years. He stated that to give an example of Vietnam, the GDP of the country in the year 1999 when the Vietnam market research was set up was 30 billion in total and that was tiny having only half of the current size of GDP of Myanmar, and soon then the size of the market research became 8 to 10 million US dollars and it is now around 100 million and that gives an idea that 12 to 15 percent growth or higher could be expected for the country in the next 4 to 5 years. “And now you’ve signed the contract for partnership with ESOMAR. This will give companies outside Myanmar a lot more confidence to do work here in the country,” he continued.

He further explained that although he mentioned the fact that the traditional market is not growing, it might be growing in Myanmar and some of the neighboring countries; the very fact that Myanmar people are using smart phones is definitely a good opportunity; and he believed that they also work on the smart phones since 50 to 60 percent of the people own them and that 25 percent of the market research business consists of no question surveys. He expressed that large international companies claim about 50 percent of the global industry and the percentage remains the same as that of 10 and 15 years before; that there could be a shortage of skilled people in the data collection and therefore, for the survival in the industry, firms must be employing more and more those types of people.  He mentioned that ESOMAR is a global market research association, its mission is to assist the national associations everywhere possible in helping them train, educate and ensure they follow code of conduct of market research and these are some of the ares where MRA can work with ESOMAR as a partnership agreement has been signed by them. He further said that ESOMAR has a huge library, that all the presentations and the videos are uploaded on the ESOMAR website and that being an ESOMAR member, MRA is going to give a lot more confidence with people to do research in Myanmar.

Mr. Pravin Shekar, ESOMAR Country Representative and Immediate Past President of India Market Research Society, shared experiences of the society.

First of all, he expressed his thanks for inviting him to the first annual meeting after which he gave a brief account of the market research industry in India.

He said that his society was formed in the year 1988 had had 17 presidents and he was the 16th president of the society; they have the president and management committee who act like the board of directors providing directions from the strategy perspective and they also have a director-general who works full time and runs the society; the management committee can be formed with up to 20 members, who are elected every two years, but now they currently have 13 members; the society has different types of members who include corporate members, associate corporate members, individual members, researchers and student members and they have 10 young researchers organized in the branches formed in every city.

He went on to say that the society recorded a surplus some of which had been used to invest in education and research. He added that they carry out a bunch of activities and one of the key things they do is holding annual seminars; there were more than 450 delegates in the seminars held the year before.

U Myo Win Tun, Senior Research Manager from MMRD, conducted an online survey taken part by participants at the annual meeting.

The survey tool “Poll Everywhere” was used. First of all, he explained the objectives of the survey in which he said that he would like to seek opinions and suggestions from the meeting participants about what should be the priorities of MRA and what kind of information should it disseminate in the near future. He then went on to say that since each and everyone has a mobile phone, he wanted to show the participants that a simple and quick survey can be done in the educational and other sectors and requested all those present to have fun by taking part in the online survey. A set of slides were used to explain different stages of participation in the survey. There were six questions included in it and immediate results were made known for each of them. All the results were shown in percentages.

He later disclosed that by studying the findings, all the participants including the MRA central executive committee members become aware what programs and plans of action are expected from the association and therefore these CECs are made known about them. Accordingly, they are to take into account of the opinions expressed by the participants in working out the association’s future programs. He then called on the participants to forward their suggestions by visiting the MRA website at after which he expressed his heartfelt thanks to all those who had taken part in the survey.  

The short survey questionnaire included the following six questions:

  1. How do you describe your awareness of the Market Research Association Website ( or access to it? (Single Answer)
  1. Not aware of website
  2. Aware of website, but do not visit
  3. Have visited once/visit sometimes
  4. Regularly visit

2. What kind of activities do you think should Market Research Association prioritize within the next 6 months? (Multiple Answers, Maximum 3 answers)

  1. Dissemination of socioeconomic survey information and statistics
  2. Organizing of market research related seminars and workshops
  3. Conducting market research trainings
  4. Dissemination of research ethics
  5. Conducting Socioeconomic Standardization surveys

3. If you are to receive socioeconomic survey information how do you want it? (Single Answer)

  1. No need such information
  2. 50% discount for members
  3. Annual Subscription
  4. Adhoc Purchasing

4. If Market Research Association is to provide trainings, what kind of trainings should it prioritize most? (Single Answer)

  1. Data collecting methods and procedures
  2. Research methodology and research protocol (ethics)
  3. Info graphics and Data Visualization
  4. Qualitative Research
  5. Client-focused Training

5. Which of the following best describes your main business/sector? (Single Answer)

  1. Government Sector
  2. UN agencies/INGO/NGO
  3. Education
  4. Sales and Marketing
  5. Market Research
  6. Other Private Sector
  7. None of the above

6. Which of the following best describes your current position? (Single Answer)

  1. Business Owner
  2. Senior Management
  3. Academician/Consultant/Advisor
  4. Manager/Researcher
  5. Field manager/supervisor/interviewer
  6. Student
  7. Others

Daw May Myat Thu from Media Research Services of Nielsen MMRD made a presentation on Myanmar media audiences. She took highlights from the findings of the 2019 nationwide survey.

She said that she would like to share the information from the nationwide survey conducted in the year 2019; the presentation would include different parts such as Myanmar population, potential audiences and major audiences in the uses of media.

She went on to say that the study explored what types of media people have access to and what categories of audiences are accessing what types of media after which she dwelt on the highlights of two types of media that are gaining popularity. She pointed out that Myanmar’s population in 2019 is projected to be 52.3 million; its population growth is less than 1%, roughly 0.89%; population growth in the metropolitan areas is 1% in the years 2018 and 2019; the growth resulted from migration into the big cities; the population of the city of Yangon, which has good job opportunities, increased due to migration from other parts of the country seeking jobs; the population growth and the birth rates of Yangon are lower compared to other states and regions; however, its population growth is higher than others.  She revealed that according to the findings from the 2019 nationwide survey, about 53% of the population have access to at least one type of media in a month; there are television and radio broadcasts; such print media as magazines and journals; stickers arts can be seen on billboards and taxis;  about 75% of the people have access to the print media; that was a 5% increase compared to the 2018 findings; the people now have more media channels to choose from with the spread of digital channels in the late 2018 and in the year 2019 and competition between networks; however, the findings show that radio audiences dropped by 2% compared with 2018; the survey findings show Facebook, Youtube and Instagram top the three forms of social media while Messenger, Viber and WeChat are most popular communication sites/apps; no search engine rivals Google; Eleven Media၊ DBVNews and Thithtoolwin are most visited news media sites; the used of Internet grew by 2% between 2018 and 2019;  in the overall media consumption habit, TV and the Internet are more and more widely used among people; TV watch rate among males rose by 6% in the year 2019; majority of the TV watchers fall within the group of 15-19 years; survey results show a slight increase in the average hours to watch TV compared to the last year; In the use of Internet, most common use is in the form of sending messages; majority of the Internet users fall into the age group of 20-39 years; when it comes to SEC, those who belong to the upper class are more likely to use the Internet; still Internet usage is low in Myanmar as it is recorded at 1 hour 13 minutes on average; about 53% of the population own a smart phone; Internet users make up 38% which shows that there are still people who do not use the Internet though they may have a smart phone; Those who have access to information about celebrities and famous brands through TV or the Internet account for similar percentages; Internet users can give their feedback better in terms of technology, they tend to be crazy about gadgets and technology products, they welcome people seeking advice from them and all the information provided on this occasion is available at Nielsen MMRD website.

Daw Khine Myat Thwe Aung, Deputy Research Manager of MSR, gave a presentation on  Myanmar Millennials and GenZ.

She talked in brief about Myanmar Millennials and GenZ including their behavior, especially how young people behave in digital sector, how they are involved and feel during transformation into digitalization and what they experience. She went on to say that  one third of total population in Myanmar is young, who are under 30 years of age; Myanmar consumers’ transformation into digital usage  seems quite fast; the launch of LTE (Long Term Evolution/4G 3 years ago and the decreasing costs for data accessibility have helped to push digital adoption;  as the MRA chairman and John said earlier, there is digital transformation in many aspects; consumers have skipped taking on offline services to use the digital equivalent instead; in the past, people search for jobs from newspapers and Opportunities journal; now, young people browse social media platform like Facebook to find jobs posted by the job agencies.

She explained that another one is streaming services for music and videos which have given Myanmar people – especially in rural areas, access to a wide-ranging selection they never had before; seven years ago, hardly any consumer had a bank account in 2012 while today one fourth of them have access to mobile money services that enable them to send or receive money.

She then recalled what another presenter May Myat Thu presented earlier saying the print media usage is decreasing;  in the past, information was available from newspapers and magazines whose stories had been censored while today Internet users read news online mainly from social media; Internet users shall consider how to interact with one another through social media and online.

She explained that the digital adaptation was especially fast among young urban people; those aged below 30 years of age have the highest digital literacy and they spend a lot of time online; Myanmar Millennials and GenZ are the ones who adopt also quicker to other new things like fashion, new products and services therefore they are an attractive target group as far as brands are concerned; these days, advertising on social media has more impact than commercials on TV for urban youngsters – especially males while TV ads have a higher impact on females and this is due to the restrictions of movement on females who are expected to be home early (before 8pm) whilst males hang out at beer stations or tea shops to socialize; that females watch more TV than males since they are the ones who are home at night; looking at online shops and seeing others talk about brands online impacts much more on young urban consumers than their rural counterparts; these differences correlate with internet usage behavior which is higher in urban than rural areas– especially among younger people; nowadays brands shall adopt a multi-touchpoint communication approach and take into account of the media knowledge and behavior of the target group.

Before coming to a conclusion, she shared some results of in-depth study research that MSR conducted in the year  2019. She said that Myanmar has a young population –Gen Z have been digitally socialized since their teenage years and they have much better opportunities; these so-called Millennials and Generation Z are hungry for new things and open to try new products and services; 72% of youth sample from the study have quite an optimistic view on life although nearly half of them feel like having lost their orientation in this fast changing (online) world; seeing others on FB having a supposedly better life, traveling, being more beautiful etc – all of these have increased social pressure and competition.

She concluded her presentation by stating that brands who cater for the new needs of urban youngsters can be successful; when consumers become more digitalized, market researchers and young researchers should apply new approaches such as digital research method and mobile data collection; market researchers must keep track of trends and new things to fulfill client’s requirements and to provide them with reliable data.

U Thurein Nyein, Vice Chairman of Market Research Association (Yangon), delivered a closing speech.

First of all expressed his thanks for being given a chance to deliver a closing speech, saying he is satisfied with two things- with the arrangements of U Aung Min for his closing remarks, and with the chance to express his opinions and gut feelings.

He added that he mostly had to make presentations whenever he was on a stage and had little chance to make remarks on the previous occasions; that he had been in the field  of research for nearly 30 years, he became a member of Research Association; and that he has learned the ins and outs of the business over the past year;  he is surprised to see more people at the meeting than he has expected knowing that half of the people could have returned, and he is very satisfied to see that. He added, referring to what John has just said, that the size of the market research is 18 million US dollars per year; that U Moe Kyaw (the MRA chairman) and he estimated 6 or 7 years ago that the size of the market at 30 million, that of advertising industry to be between 250 and 280 million, and that of digital growth to be round 200 million by this time; that the value of industry market was less than 10 million 5 years ago, so it can be said that the market is believed to have increased 80% over the last 5 years.

He said that he does not believe he is old, but is an older member in the association; that most of the founding members are people over 50 years of age; and that members have mainly discussed (1) growth of the industry, and (2) participation of young researchers; that the unanimous agreement between them- Secretary U Aung Min, Chairman U Moe Kyaw, Vice-Chairman U Kyaw Hlaing, and him- is to turn out a young generation of researchers in 3 to 5 years to come, and how this is to be done shall be worked out in due course; that their one-year-old organization has been invited by the UMFCCI to draw up a five-year plan together with an international organization; the association has been given thus the opportunity to learn what other associations are doing and what preparations their association are to make and what shall be the priorities of the association; they include budget and financial matters as well as development of young generation, that many discussions have been held on the topic;  that he has aimed for the association to have at least three times as many members in a year, since the industry has researchers and interviewers all numbering fewer than one thousand, who the association should train and how to recruit members and that that point has been included in the polling of Ko Myo Win Tun.

He stated that there will be research training courses during this year, and it is expected that they will be able to produce at least 20 researchers from among the member agencies, that can’t be said to be too many; that all Myanmar has only 14 agencies and all foreign agencies and local agencies combined having over 200 people in executive posts and above and that 20 means 10% of all these members. He stated that the he wanted young researchers to join the association not worrying too much about the qualifications they may have, to join the association with the strength they have, and to ask for the support of the association frankly; that he is in the meeting hall without representing any agency and will try to represent all; that he has met with the faculty members of the institutes of economics and asked what help they wanted from him over the year, and met such government departments as DICA and CSO as well. He expressed his thanks to those present at the meeting, and that he wanted to know what should be done to turn out more researchers;  that the association should consider what kind of support could be provided to such presenters as Ma May Myat Thu, the Deputy Research Manager from MSR all of whom would be seen on the stage over the next 5 years. Later he talked about making young researchers programmes; thanked Marita for inviting ESOMAR to the meeting and John and Pravin for their presence at the meeting; that he noticed energy among the young people in addition to their experiences in research world although the size of the industry is small; that he expected to have many more researchers, many more members, more information sharing activities than the present yearly activities, many more information sharing programmes like events in India in 3 years’ time, which should be well considered by all. He concluded his speech by wishing that the association and the industry would develop in three or five years’ time with the participation of young people who can voice and communicate more effectively, with researcher programme developed for young researchers.

The first annual general meeting of Market Research Association (Yangon) came to a successful conclusion at 12.30 pm.

Mr. Pravin Shekar (Esomar Representative in India, Past President of the Market Research Society of India conducted a master class at 1.30 pm on the same day at UMFCCI building. It was titled ““Outlier Insights and Storytelling”.

PDF files which presented in 1st Annual General Meeting of Market Research Association (Yangon) can be explored in Resources Tab.