This paper discusses the probable development in the decade ahead of electronic scanners as a source of market research data, and their possibly fundamental implications for packaged goods marketing - and market research practice. Problems of sample size, and the nature of many markets set limits to the application of consumer panel techniques. Data collection for both consumer and retail audits as currently conducted will become increasingly expensive as labour costs rise. Electronic data capture, by contrast, will get cheaper. Scanner data is already being used in America to evaluate the effectiveness of advertising campaigns, promotional techniques and pricing strategies as well as the more obvious considerations of display, in-store location and shelf allocation. As penetration of the retail trade grows and becomes more uniform across the country, scanners will become the standard source of audit data for packaged goods there - and eventually in Europe too.