Ironing out cultural differences when doing global bench-marking

picture of the world map apparently on a crumpled sheet

Over the past four weeks we have been running qualitative UX research that involved bench marking experience across five markets. It is not giving anything away about the project to say these were UK, US, Germany, Italy and Australia. All important markets for many of our global customers.

The project involved evaluative research of a purchase journey with scoring used at different stages to provide bench marking data. The journey was identical in all five markets and the participants were recruited against identical, localized criteria. The moderation was run in the same way in each market also, with research design and oversight provided by our consultancy director. The entire project was delivered remotely.

Normally when we run multi-market projects I am surprised at the lack of difference between participants behavior. Globalization certainly seems to me to have corralled consumers into the same online habits regardless of where they live. There are differences of course, but they tend to come in markets like China, where they are very app based – tech driven if you will.

The differences we found

What this project revealed was three clusters. US, Australia and Europe. The European countries all reported broadly the same and the scores were very similar. The US delivered far more positive scores and the Australians far more negative. This wasn’t one or two outlying participants in each market, this was clusters.

The particular nature of this UX research was about governance at different stages of the journey. Based on the data we could hypothesize that Australians need far more governance than their US counterparts. Thinking back on the various web projects we have carried out in these two markets the websites are all very similar. Does that mean US consumers are getting things they don’t need and the Australians are missing things they do?

It is therefore the job of the UX research team to work out how to iron out these lumps and bumps in the data. That means working within their own markets but then coming together to collectively consider the implications for the client. Most people understand their own market very well, so the real value in these projects is achieved through collaboration.

If you would like to know more about how to conduct multi-market UX research studies, or have a project of your own to discuss, ring us on +44(0)800 024624 or email us at

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