The Outsell Information Industry Outlook 2020

Date: October 3, 2019

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Why This Topic

This is the 22nd year that we’ve prepared our annual Outlook on trends and predictions that will shape the year ahead, providing guidance and essential actions for CEOs, their teams, and investors operating in the data, information, and analytics economy. All are zeroing in on their business plans for the coming year.

In this report, we cover key themes and predictions of what’s ahead, name our annual 50 Companies to Watch, and provide essential actions to take in the coming year.

Our 2019 theme was Trust Is the New Algorithm. By nearly all accounts, it resonated loudly with our clients and prospects given the struggles they face today as players, new and old, continue to transform and build new methods of creating content and analysis — not all of them well-intentioned. As a new decade approaches, we see trust being as important and necessary as ever.

This year, our meta-theme is 20/20 in 2020. Hindsight is 20/20, and foresight focuses on 20/20 vision — clarity — for the year and decade ahead. Use this as a backdrop to assess 2020 plans, make informed decisions, and seize opportunities.

In this report, we provide essential industry statistics, focus on key trends in motion and, most importantly, identify best practices for optimal performance. Read on to make plans for the coming year.


Outsell invests millions of dollars every year in analyzing all sectors of the industry. We continue to cover sectors and players that are driving growth in the business of data or using it to run their businesses. We track the convergence of all forms of content, data, software, services, and platforms in 30 segments and cover over 9,500 firms (and increasing daily) within these segments. We provide coverage of major announcements, growth, revenue, and business model mixes.

We couple this supply-side analysis with a demand-side perspective, conducting original research among marketers, advertisers, enterprise information buyers, and both professional and consumer end users, so we can follow the money and thereby track and forecast spending trends. We survey CEOs in the industry and members of the Outsell Leadership Community to measure sentiment on an array of topics. We combine this fact-based underpinning with our daily dialogue with decision-makers and our 22+ years of tracking and analyzing the industry. Finally, our analytical team convenes to discuss and debate the forecasts, trends, and leading firms to watch.

We developed our Outsell 300 and derived from it the most critical 50 Companies to Watch with a rigorous methodology, scoring these emerging companies on criteria that include uniqueness of approach, alignment with market need, ability to scale, and overall growth potential.

This year’s meta-theme — 20/20 in 2020 — derives directly from our research and our key analytical takeaway: The slow and steady nature of adaptation and evolution risks minimizing the significance of the changes underway. While the old adage says that the more things change, the more they stay the same, our observations this year have led us to flip that paradigm around: In our industry, the more things stay the same, the more they are about to change.

Outsell Inc. The Outsell Information Industry Outlook 2020

Industry Growth & Performance 2020

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