What is Data Weighting, and why do Market Research Experts Use it?

Data weighting plays a crucial role as far as market research is concerned. One must admit that various factors affect the validity of findings, including data cleaning, collection methods, questionnaire designs, respondent selection, and the correct sample frames, just but to mention a few. As much as they are important, they are not a guarantee that the data will be valid. Some things are beyond your control, and one of them is how your respondents represent the entire population. If it doesn’t end up well, weighting data is a key tool used by market research experts under such circumstances. Let’s take a look at this concept in detail.

What is Data Weighting?

Data weighting is a concept that revolves around how the sample data represents the actual data. The percentage of buyers, non-buyers, males, females, and other characteristics should be properly proportional to the entire population. However, there are times when things don’t go that way. Consequently, some groups end up being underrepresented or over-represented. Since the sample size doesn’t represent the population well, analyzing the data is inappropriate, and the analysis is wrong and misleading.

That’s where data weighting comes in. its means adjusting the sample data to ensure that it corresponds to what the actual population looks like. It includes adjusting the percentage of the sample data to be similar to the one of the actual population percentage.

Here is an excellent example:

If you carry out a survey only to find out that only 10% of the respondents are male, is that a great representation of the actual population? Far from it if the actual population percentage stands at 50%. How you adjust the 10% to the 50% is data weighting. There are various ways of adjusting the figure, but that’s a discussion for another day.

Why do Market Research Experts Use Data Weighting?

It is no secret that market research experts have no control over the characteristics of the people who participate in their survey. Therefore, whether it represents the entire population or not is something beyond the organizer. What happens if they are not lucky enough to have results that balance every group? Proceeding regardless despite the inconsistency isn’t an option. That’s why market research experts use data weighting.

Remember that as much as you are using a sample, the final achievement is understanding the actual population. The discrepancies make it wrong to proceed lest the survey results lead to the wrong conclusion. It is important to note that the experts need not use it at all times. If the population is neither under-represented nor overrepresented, data weighting is unnecessary.


Going by the above discussion, the importance of data weighting in market research is indisputable. It is one of the ways of validating the data collected from the respondents. Otherwise, the sample data will not be a wise representation of the actual population. Under such circumstances, how do you expect to relate the survey findings to the actual situation on the ground? That’s why many market research experts use this concept. It makes results and conclusions drawn from them accurate and appropriate.