You don’t have to go far to hear the word “recession” these days. As we enter 2023 to the tune of alarming economic forecasts and massive tech layoffs, most research teams will be looking for ways to cut costs and prepare for what could be a financially challenging year.
But if your boss’s recession-proofing plan involves cutting your research budget entirely, you should absolutely step in. Research enables revenue, retention, and risk mitigation—3 very important Rs to have going into the recession—but you need to gain stakeholder buy-in to move forward with UXR.
To help you start (and win) the argument for UXR, we’re going to break down the 4 most common objections to doing research using cold, hard, stats. These will help you show your team that research is worth the time, budget, and effort—even in an uncertain economic climate.
Author’s Note: This blog was originally published in 2020. It was updated in January of 2023 with fresh statistics and expanded insights.
Every dollar invested in UX brings $100 in return. This is an average figure, but it’s a ROI of an impressive 9,900%. — Forbes
Jared Spool worked with a major retailer to increase the number of customers purchasing by 45%. The change, driven by research, generated an extra $15 million in revenue in the first month. — The $300 million button, Jared Spool
Anthropologie increased conversion rates by 24% with a UX redesign that improved its checkout experience. — UX Magazine
Staples saw an 80% increase in the number of visitors, a 45% reduction in drop-off rates, and a 67% increase in repeat customers after a research-driven site redesign. — HFI, Staples Case Study
After prototyping and testing various design solutions to improve their online enrollment application for online banking, Bank of America doubled the percentage of customers completing the process and exceeded their ROI benchmark. — Toptal, Bank of America Case Study
McKinsey found a strong correlation between high MDI [McKinsey Design Index (MDI), which rates companies by how strong they are at design] scores and superior business performance. Top-quartile MDI scorers increased their revenues and total returns to shareholders (TRS) substantially faster than their industry counterparts did over a five-year period—32% higher revenue growth and 56% higher TRS growth for the period as a whole. — McKinsey & Co.
After revamping their website’s UX based on user feedback, HubSpot doubled (and tripled in some areas) their conversion rate. HubSpot receives upwards of 10 million visitors per month, so imagine the impact this had on revenue. — Toptal, The True ROI of UX: B2B Redesign Case Studies
💰 “We don’t have the budget to spend on a research project”
Learn more about the ROI of UX from Dr. Susan Weinschenk in the video below.
According to a study undertaken by Forrester, companies which invest in the user experience see a lower cost of customer acquisition, lower support costs, increased customer retention and increased market share. — Amazon AWS
Research could actually earn you money—Customers are willing to pay more for the experience qualities that matter most to them: 43% of consumers would pay more for greater convenience, 42% would pay more for a friendly, welcoming experience and 65% of U.S. customers find a positive experience with a brand to be more influential than great advertising. - PWC
Even when people love a company or product, 32% of all customers would stop doing business with a brand they loved after one bad experience. In the U.S., 59% will walk away after several bad experiences, 17% after just one bad experience. In Latin America, 49% say they’d walk away from a brand after one bad experience. - PWC
It may not cost as much as you think—38% of researchers generally spend under $100 on an unmoderated study (25% spend $100 to $499). Budgets are similar for moderated research—23% say they spend under $100 per study, while a quarter (25%) report having a budget of $100 to $499 for a moderated study. — The State of User Research 2022
Getting creative can help you save money on incentives—14% of researchers give product subscriptions/discounts as incentives. 10% give out physical incentives like swag, and 10% offer raffle-based incentives. — The State of User Research 2022
If you recruit 10 participants per month, recruiting with a tool like User Interviews can save you 108 hours annually. - The User Interviews Cost Savings Calculator, based on data from Glassdoor and Nielsen Norman Group.
Developers spend 50% of their time on avoidable rework. — Amazon AWS
According to Massachusetts Innovation and Technology eXchange, UX design saves 50% of development rework time by defining all the requirements upfront. Moreover, it reduces overall development time by 33–50% by improving decision-making process and task prioritization. — Experience Dynamics
⏰ Looking to save time on research? User Interviews is the fastest way to recruit. In fact, our median time to first-matched participant is just one hour. Sign up free today.
🧠 “We already know our users well; we don’t need to do research”
Are you sure you know your customers? 91% of unsatisfied customers don’t complain about their bad experience— they simply leave without giving feedback. — CCC
If you’re wrong, you risk losing nearly a third of your customer base—32% of all customers would stop doing business with a brand they loved after one bad experience. — PWC
There’s always more to learn, even from the same group of people—61% said that at least half of their research sessions are conducted with participants from their own audience. 17% said they only conduct research with their own panel. — The State of User Research 2022
Your competitors are doing it—only 6% of researchers said there are 0 dedicated UXRs at their company—down from 19% in 2019. Relatedly, the percentage of people who said there are 5 or more UXRs has risen from 24% in 2019 to 49% in 2022; the percentage of people who said there are 5 or more researchers (PwDRs included) has also doubled, from 36% in 2019 to 71% in 2022. — The State of User Research 2022
Through conducting user research to better understand their customers’ needs, then using those insights to increase the satisfaction of their most profitable customers, United Airlines doubled the number of daily sessions and increased online ticketing by 200%. — The Business Value of User Experience, Infragistics
Even if you think you already know your users, focusing on learning their needs and fulfilling them can help you increase prices. Companies that make customer experience a priority can charge a premium of up to 16% for their products and services. — The Future of CX, PWC
When Nielsen Norman Group tested two navigation schemes for an ecommerce website, they saw an 80% success rate with the navigation scheme that was structured according to research about the customer’s mental models vs. a 9% success rate with the navigation scheme structured according to the team’s internal thinking. — Do Interface Standards Stifle Design Creativity?, Nielsen Norman Group
Make the business case for UX research
Next time your stakeholders make excuses about why right now isn’t the right time for research, these stats can help you show that research is incredibly valuable to the product development process, and to your company’s bottom line. User research can help your team build better products, feel more connection with your users, and most importantly, help increase revenue. It’s not an extra step in the process, it’s an integral part of it!
For more help demonstrating the value of UX research, check out these resources:
Marketer, writer, poet. Lizzy likes hiking, people-watching, thrift shopping, learning and sharing ideas. Her happiest memory is sitting on the shore of Lake Champlain in the summer of 2020, eating a clementine.