Consumer panel, what types are there and what benefits do they offer?

Anna Raventós

What are consumer panels?

When conducting a market research project or a survey, it is just as important to think carefully about the questions to be asked – focused on the insights you need to obtain – as it is to define the profiles you need and what criteria they should meet. A consumer panel can help you find the right sample very quickly.

In Zinklar, for example, you can access respondents selected by the most recognized ESOMAR-certified providers in the industry. Or if you prefer, you can use your own audience with all the advantages of our platform. 

A consumer panel is a representative sample of the population that participates voluntarily and regularly in market research projects and surveys. The owner of the panel has all the sociodemographic data of the participants, and in many cases, additional information that the panel members have agreed to share about their attitudes, their consumption of products, and services, their media behavior, or the equipment in their home. This information allows choosing the optimal sample to participate in any survey quickly since instead of having to gather these details each time, it is possible to select the appropriate filters to segment the desired participants. Interviewing the chosen sample generates data that allows knowing and analyzing the consumer and obtaining the necessary insights for optimal decision-making.

Always, before conducting a market research project, it is essential to ensure the quality of the sample and check that it is optimal. Do you know how? Don’t miss these 4 tips to ensure the quality of the sample in your studies.

Types of consumer panels

Consumer panels can be segmented according to the objective of the study and the criteria that the target audience of the product or service should meet, so the survey design is adequate to obtain the desired insights. For example, if a burger chain wants to launch a product test on a new vegan burger, it would not make sense to select someone who does not have these food preferences. If the person is not part of the target, it would not help to get the right insights into potential buyers.

In this sense, depending on the objective of the study to be conducted, there are different types of consumer panels that can be used:

Generic panels

These are large panels made up of many thousands – or even millions of people – that are used to create the most appropriate samples for specific market research projects. The sample who will answer each survey is selected to match the target audience and asked to answer a different set of questions on a different topic each time. Filters for gender, age, geographic area, and many other demographic details can be used to select the most appropriate sample. Through the Zinklar platform, you can also choose predetermined profiles that share specific and hard-to-find consumption habits.

Specialized panels

Instead of being made up of large, highly representative samples, they focus on a very specific type of target audience that is often difficult to find. This could be the case for people with a certain profession – such as in the health field – people who are at a specific point in the life cycle – such as pregnant women – or people who have very specific characteristics, such as being trendsetters.

Ongoing consumer panels for syndicated studies

Sometimes people agree to participate in ongoing studies that collect continuous information on specific markets. A very common case is the FMCG purchase panels that collect continuous information on what consumers buy in supermarkets and other stores. There are also usage panels, that focus on obtaining very detailed information on how consumers use the products they have previously purchased, for example, about food consumption habits. On many occasions, the data from these studies are to be sold among different brands in the monitored industry.

In the market, it is possible to find other types of panels and audiences depending on the objective of the research to be carried out.

Who are the panelists or participants?

People who participate in a marketing research project are called panelists or participants. They are usually people from all demographic groups and their role is to provide information that is gathered through market research projects. Depending on the objective of the study, they are filtered to match a specific target group that shares characteristics or consumer habits. As a general rule, panelists receive compensation for participating in the study, either direct compensation, points of a loyalty program, or through other mechanisms.

At Zinklar we work with the world’s leading sample providers, and we continuously verify their quality programs and compliance with industry standards, to meet the needs of our clients. Through the Zinklar platform, you can connect with a wide and representative audience, select from over 2,000 predefined profiles and receive 100% relevant responses. If you want to create your own segmentation, you can include screen-out questions)at the beginning of any market study Enter the Zinklar app now and discover all the advantages it offers you!

Uses of consumer panels

Market research has infinite applications and any company in any industry can benefit from it. It is useful to check the opinion of your target audience, but also to better understand their behavior, evaluate their experience, monitor purchase patterns, discover trends, build segmentations, etc.

With a platform like Zinklar you can choose the type of survey you want to conduct, whether it is a simple study, a monadic test, an international study, or tracking. All you have to do is define the audience you need to connect with, select the type of research to do, and reflect on the questions to ask. All this will take a few minutes and you will get the insights you need in just a few hours.

Pros and cons of consumer panels

Consumer audiences and panels help to understand consumer behavior and purchasing behavior in order to make decisions. Some of its main advantages are:

  • It is an effective tool to obtain immediate responses as participants have been previously recruited and can be segmented quickly.
  • The information collected is of higher quality. Engagement and loyalty programs help to keep consumers engaged by involving them in the process of defining new products.  
  • They have a high response rate.
  • They allow you to ask more questions to the same consumers again to understand if their attitudes or habits evolve over time.
  • The budget can be optimized, as consumers who are difficult to reach can be accessed very directly.
  • Can be used for consumer research in any industry. 


The major drawback of consumer panels is that sometimes the information needed to create very specific profiles may not be available. To overcome this, with the Zinklar platform you have different demographic filters (age, gender, geographic area, and more) and more than 2,000 predefined profiles so you can work with a very specific sample of your target. In addition, you can also discard participants from previous projects that have already responded. Finally, with Zinklar you can also use screen-out questions to ensure that you get an audience that is completely appropriate for your target.

Check out the possibilities offered by the Zinklar platform and get real-time insights. Create your account and find the sample of your interest for your next study. 

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