Conceptualizing Quota Sampling in Market Research

Jim Whaley

Quota Sampling makes Market Research Convenient by Allowing You to Find Respondents Easily

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Market Research » Conceptualizing Quota Sampling in Market Research


The excited enterpriser in you wants to succeed. We know! What we also know is that once you have invested time, money, and an unrelenting effort in your venture, you want entrepreneurial milestones to come knocking on your door in the blink of an eye.


In the fast-paced and uber-competitive world of blooming businesses, setting your company up for success may not happen overnight. But there are surely ways you can rely on to speed up the process. One of these is excelling at the art of conducting market research. Said research, however, can result in time wasted, if it isn’t conducted smartly. Here, one way to win the race against the clock entails opting for quota sampling.



What is Quota Sampling?


Categorized as a non-probability sampling technique, quota sampling enlists study participants until a relevant research category (or quota) has recruited enough respondents to reach holistic conclusions.


Unlike random sampling strategies where every member of a target population has an equal chance of being selected, quota sampling relies more on convenience sampling. What this means is that researchers use their own judgment regarding how many people they need to survey to acquire reasonable and authentic results.


For instance, let’s say that you have founded a startup that sells healthy, vegan food. To identify current demands in the food industry, you are undertaking some market research to check people’s critique of traditional animal-fat free food.


In your investigation, quota sampling will be the recruitment method of choice if you decide that you want to interview a sum total of 100 regular restaurant clients and then start surveying the folks in question until this number is reached.


With the focus being on ensuring that your desired quota is fulfilled, you don’t need to spend too much time wondering where the respondents will come from. The recruitment process can be as simple as administering an online survey to frequent dinner guests at a popular restaurant!


Given that quota sampling is a non-random sampling technique, it sometimes gets a bad rap because people assume that it leads to biased results. However, this argument can be refuted by the fact that the technique allows researchers to specify control categories and to a reasonable degree mitigate sampling bias. This ensures that the sample is as representative as possible.


Keeping in mind the same example as that of a vegan eatery owner, the quota you have determined doesn’t need to end with the number 100. You can create further specifications by dividing your quota into distinct categories.


The latter can be based on attributes such as gender, age, ethnicity, and spending habits. Your quota of 100 participants can be completed for instance, with 50 men and 50 women you interview at the places you visit. 25 of these 50 men and 25 of these 50 women can also be African American to ensure that racial representation is being achieved.


By dividing your quota into subcategories, you have essentially assigned a weightage to different traits that exist within a target population and confirmed that they will all be featured in your study. This step mitigates chances of bias as you won’t be making incomplete conclusions which would have been the case if you had excluded certain respondent traits from your market research.



A group of researchers conducting market research via quota sampling



The Convenience of Quota Sampling


Quota sampling manifests as a magical time-saving research technique because it prioritizes the availability of respondents. By directing you to survey whoever fits your criteria and is easily available, the technique prevents you from spending too many hours identifying every member of your target population.


In probability sampling, which is the opposite of quota sampling, you’ll be required to create a prospective sample pool that includes every person who displays the characteristics you wish to study in your respondents.


To explain this in detail, let’s run with the example of the vegan restauranteur once again. In this case, if you were to use probability sampling, you’ll have to consider every individual in the country who fits the image of someone who consistently dines in a restaurant.


Once you start this consideration process, you will discover (and very soon be overwhelmed by) the fact that there are millions of people who fulfill this condition and can be worthy candidates for your study! Picking random names from this massive target population will be an ordeal in its own accord because you will have to spend several weeks deciding what sequence you will follow to recruit participants.


Because quota sampling helps you find respondents who match control categories’ criteria, it is also the sampling method of choice when you want to target extremely precise survey audiences without wasting time interviewing those who don’t align with your quotas.


For instance, if you wanted to conduct case studies solely reviewing the career trajectory of business school graduates, quota sampling, can help you approach folks who possess a business education and have made their mark in the sector.


Interviewing these participants will unearth your answers for you. There will be no need for you to survey graduates from other disciplines because you are not looking to compare results across subjects, but maintain your focus on the entrepreneurial sphere.


Quota sampling may require more attention to ensure that your sample is representative through the careful assigning of weights to attributes in control categories. At the same time however, it acts as an antidote for the time-consuming concerns that often accompany probability sampling.



The Capacity of Quota Sampling to Advocate for Inclusive Businesses Practices


If a company has purely commercial interests, it cannot expect to retain its clients. To be a truly successful venture, an entrepreneur’s motivations must also be driven by genuine compassion for customers. These motivations must also be made evident to customers by a business owner when they strive to make everyone feel valued.


With this regard, quota sampling can help you advocate for, and implement inclusive business practices through your market research.


The purpose at hand is accomplished because quota sampling highlights interactions between the controlled respondent subcategories you create. In turn, the technique unearths differences in your customers’ lived experiences and opinions.


Armed with knowledge about the stark contrast between participant groups’ input, you can identify which clients feel marginalized while engaging with a business. This identification can be followed up by policies you can draft to help said clients feel accommodated.


For instance, consider that you are a consumer brand doing market research on the spending habits of a grocery store’s customers. If you use quota sampling, you can interview an equal percentage of men and women to check for variations in gender-based expenditure.


In this study, you’ll most likely conclude that each participant category spends more or less as compared to the other based on its unique needs.


Women, you may find, could be bearing extra expenses purchasing feminine hygiene products. Knowing this, you might want to explore manufacturing a hygiene product that is more affordable for your female customers.


As part of another example, step into the shoes of a clothing brand owner who wants to see how she can serve her customers better.


Using quota sampling, you can conduct online focus groups with an equal percentage of clients who identify with straight, and plus size wear.


In the course of your research, you might stumble upon frustrations of the latter group who might be angry with an apparel industry that doesn’t design size-inclusive clothing.


The responses you harness from the group in question can be evaluated against those given by people who shop for straight sizes. Comparing input from both categories can help you understand how to create products for plus size customers that provide the same ease of access as is granted to a straight size clientele.


Market research constitutes raw stones that are refined into a smooth road to roaring business success. Yet, when entrepreneurs are busy addressing the growth of their company on several fronts, they may not have the time to carry out time-consuming studies in line with such research.


This is where quota sampling enters the picture and saves the day by helping you benefit from quick and convenient investigations.


Sometimes, in the absence of a sampling frame or a way to identify your whole target population, this technique may be the only resort you have to get some insights for your brand. As a researcher, you must capitalize on these benefits and take your business to the next level by administering a wonderful solution for your sampling woes.


About Us

Jim Whaley is CEO of OvationMR and posts frequently on The Standard Ovation and other Industry Blogs. OvationMR is a global provider of first-party data for those seeking solutions that require information for informed business decisions. OvationMR is a leader in delivering insights and reliable results across a variety of industry sectors around the globe consistently for market research professionals and management consultants. Visit:

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           Visit Us:


           39 Broadway

               Suite 2010

New York, NY 10006


OvationMR Market Research

     Visit Us:

  • 39 Broadway
  • Suite 2010
  • New York, NY 10006

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