Home » Diary Studies: Revolutionizing CPG Market Research Beyond Traditional Methods

Diary Studies: Revolutionizing CPG Market Research Beyond Traditional Methods

Diary Studies: Revolutionizing CPG Market Research Beyond Traditional Methods

CPG Market Research & Diary Studies

The Drawbacks of Traditional Methods in CPG Market Research

While traditional methods are certainly beneficial, companies should take on a hybrid approach that pairs traditional methods with modern approaches like smartphone-based diary studies for a more holistic understanding of consumers and the greater CPG market.

Drawbacks of traditional methods include:

  • Slow insights: These methods can take time to gather and analyze, which is problematic in today’s fast-paced market.
  • High Costs: Due to the cost of a facility and recruiting in addition to physical logistics, traditional methods can add up quickly and drain resources and budget.
  • Lack of Real-Time Feedback: Traditional methods don’t produce real-time findings and can’t offer insights quickly, hindering a company from promptly responding to market shifts.
  • Unreliable Reporting: Consumers may not accurately recollect their actions about using a product, which may hinder companies from building products that truly meet their needs.
  • Geographical Boundaries: Physical presence limits the ability to reach broader audiences, both nationally and globally.

The Benefits of Diary Studies in CPG Market Research

Diary studies offer CPG companies a unique perspective that traditional methods often overlook. By diving into users’ daily interactions with CPG products, diary studies enable companies to craft solutions that resonate through rich contextual and emotional insights.

Benefits of Diary Studies include:

  • Real User Insights: Get unfiltered and genuine feedback about how customers feel and interact with CPG products.
  • Natural Behavior: Without the pressure of formal research, users will feel less pressure to perform in a study. Rather, they will feel more comfortable interacting with objects as they would in their everyday lives.
  • Behavior Patterns: Identify recurring patterns, trends, and habits that go unrecorded through other research methods.
  • Real-Time Feedback: With the ability to collect diary studies remotely, companies can craft solutions for trends and patterns emerging throughout the study.
  • Context: Capture how natural environments and daily lives affect the usage of CPG products. Gain insight into how lifestyles affect consumer engagement.
  • Iteration: Identify challenges and pain points that arise for users, enabling companies to develop products that respond to real user feedback.
  • Emotions: Garner emotions and feelings that come up as consumers engage with CPG products to understand how products fit into the lives of users and what they mean to users.
  • Segmentation: Diary studies can help organize consumer groups based on usage patterns, preferences, and experiences — which helps develop personalized marketing strategies and product and feature recommendations.
  • Validation: This modern method can complement traditional methods and add substance to the numbers. Through context and depth, companies can get a greater holistic understanding of consumers, their needs, and where the market is heading.
  • Longitudinal Studies: This type of study unfolds over a longer period than a traditional method, which allows companies the ability to get insight into trends, changes, and patterns over some time — which can be as short as a few days or as long as a few months.
A woman opening a meal delivery kit while taking part in a diary study to understand her experience with the product.

Example Use Cases

As the CPG landscape evolves, traditional methods and diary studies unlock success from supermarkets to pharmacies.

Here are a few examples of how CPG companies can benefit from diary studies:

  • Meal Kit Services: Understanding how consumers plan, prepare, and cook with meal kit subscription services can improve offerings and tailor recipes to the preferences of the customer.
  • Snacks & Beverages: Insights into snacking habits, consumption patterns, and seasonal preferences can unlock insights that shape strategy and offerings.
  • Skincare & Cosmetics: By understanding how consumers perform their daily skincare routines, companies gain a greater understanding of sequencing patterns and how customers feel about particular products.
  • Laundry Detergent: By observing laundry routines over a while, companies in this market can gain further insight into stain removal and preferences that could lead to improved detergent formulas and increased product offerings.
  • Pet Food: Gaining insights into the daily lives of pets and owners, companies see real feeding practices as well as pet preferences that can guide the development of pet food products.
  • Baby Care: By seeing the routines, preferences, and moods that arise while raising a child, baby care companies can develop products that help parents when it comes to diaper changes, feeding schedules, and bath routines.

Remote Diary Studies Made Easy

This method of study is robust when it comes to conducting market research on CPG products, especially when participants are geographically dispersed. Remote tools and platforms are key to getting the most out of diary studies. When utilizing diary studies, finding a platform that truly understands qualitative methods and enables researchers to capture insights quickly and effectively is important. When looking for platforms to use, consider the following in your assessment:


In an era where consumer behaviors are rapidly evolving, market research must evolve along with it. Traditional methods, though valuable, have limitations in capturing the depth, emotion, and day-to-day nuances of consumer experiences. Diary studies, particularly in the CPG sector, offer an invaluable window into consumers’ daily lives and habits, providing rich qualitative and emotive insights. As showcased through various use cases, from meal kit services to baby care, the power of diary studies lies in their versatility and depth. Embracing tools that facilitate remote diary studies ensures that companies can gather diverse insights from participants spread out globally, presenting an unfiltered perspective that can shape product development, marketing strategies, and overall brand engagement. As the market dynamics continue to shift, companies adopting a hybrid research approach incorporating both traditional and modern methods are well-poised to lead with innovation, resonating deeply with their consumer base.