Global UX Research participant recruitment variances by market

Image of the world with photos of people to create the shape of the countries

We have just completed an exercise to provide one of our clients with a global price list for around 25 global markets. In completing the exercise we collected pricing for participant recruitment and incentives and I have shared this below. It is a useful aid for budgeting international research.

Standard UX Research configuration

The price list has a number of service configurations and one of these is a standard UX research. The components are as follows:

  • Briefing, preparation, creation of research plan and discussion guide
  • Creation of recruitment screener and organisation of participant recruitment
  • Recruitment of 10 plus 1 participants and payment of incentives
  • Running a pilot session
  • Moderating 10 further 60 minute sessions
  • Provision of simultaneous interpreter
  • Completing analysis and reporting
  • Sharing session videos with/without interpreter audio (if not in English)
  • Playback to stakeholders

If you have completed UX Research you will recognise the configuration.

Components of participant recruitment

Outside of the research ops time required to create the recruitment screener and manage the process, the other components in a typical costing are:

  • Project management – this is from the recruiter
  • Recruitment per participant – also charged by the recruiter
  • Incentive payment (sometimes called “stipend”)
  • Incentive handling fee – also charged by the recruiter

Most recruiters will break the pricing down into these elements but not all – I had to ask about 20%, but do ask. Few will dig their heels in.

Participant profile

All recruiters were given the same profile for this pricing exercise. The profile could be thought of as a typical consumer in any market. The following broad attributes were used:

  • Sample size: 10 participants (60 minute sessions, one to one)
    • Equal split between mobile & desktop users
    • Participants are to be recruited based on the following segmentation:
    • Ages: 18 to 65
    • Gender: even split
    • Country native, native language, living in country
    • Familiar with online shopping
    • Have purchased items before using laptop/desktop/smartphone
    • Must not be involved in UX research, Design, Market Research, Television, Acting, Journalism, PR/Marketing, Advertising.
    • Must not have participated in any kind of research in the past 6 months

Not a tremendously detailed profile but sufficient for all our recruiters to be able to price. Most will know the pricing for a typical consumer. In the UK I know I will need to charge around £65 recruitment and £50 incentive for a 60 minutes sessions with a standard consumer.

Price variations

We priced consumer research for an initial 21 markets (more are to follow). Across these we have the following spread:

  • Average total price €2,362 (€215/participant)
  • Highest total price €4,077 (Sweden)
  • Lowest total price €362 (Columbia)

The 5 most expensive markets were (in order):

  1. Sweden – €4,077
  2. Japan – €3,623
  3. Hong Kong – €3,378
  4. Taiwan – €3,378
  5. China – €2,795

There are some notable clusters, particularly with European markets. For example, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Romania are very similar at around €2,400. Spain, Italy France and Portugal also cluster around €2,000 as do Malaysia and India. Brazil and Russia are both around €1,400.

Price variations do not seem to correlate with average household incomes. It could be that where there are lower average household incomes the market is less mature. This could mean fewer registered participants and suppliers which causes higher pricing. The reverse is also true as typified by Singapore where we might expect high prices but they come in around €2,500.


I should make it clear that we don’t provide recruitment only services. We are full service Design Research agency so we only organise participants as part of a wider project requirement. However, I hope this is a useful guide for when you are considering budgets for carrying out research in different markets.

I will finish by providing the lost of markets we priced in the first version (more will follow):

Austria France Japan Russia Taiwan
Belgium Germany Malaysia Singapore
Brazil Hong Kong The Netherlands Spain
China India Portugal Sweden
Columbia Italy Romania Switzerland

If you would like help running design research in any of the markets mentioned in this blog, or others, please get in touch on +44(0)800 024624 or email us at

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