The survey found that although 91 per cent of scientific customers have not changed their primary supplier of oligos over the past 12 months, they are not entirely satisfied with the service they receive from the leading players, indicating that there is room for competitors to gain market share.
"The market for custom synthetic oligos has reached a level of maturity - marked by a state of equilibrium and the absence of significant innovation," according to Robin Rothrock, director of market research at BioInformatics, the company which carried out the survey.
He added that suppliers must continue to differentiate themselves in order to retain and capture the business of scientific customers.
The current market leaders - Integrated DNA Technologies, Invitrogen,Sigma-Genosys and Qiagen Operon - are facing an increasingly quality-conscious customer base, according to the results, which are based on a 27-question survey conducted with 750 US-based researchers.
The survey examined 10 different product attributes with regards to respondents' satisfaction with each attribute and the perceived value given the prices paid. For example, results indicate that researchers are somewhat less satisfied with the variety of modifications offered for the DNA oligos they purchase, however, this attribute is very important to them. For RNA oligos, offering a variety of formats and the quality of raw materials were found to be relatively important, but again, researchers are not completely satisfied with these attributes in available products.
"By identifying those attributes deemed most valued by current and potential customers, suppliers can focus their promotional efforts to show how their products may be superior to those of their competitors - enabling them to differentiate their products favourably in the minds of decision-makers," noted Rothrock.
Players in this market must also focus on those supplier attributes that are seen as important to scientists but where suppliers' performance with regards to that attribute falls below researchers' expectations.
Based on the report's analysis of 12 different supplier attributes, several attributes - including the timeliness of delivery and a quality guarantee - were identified as performing below expectations in the eyes of oligo customers.
Moreover, all of these "under performing" attributes are shown to be relatively more important to researchers than other supplier qualities.
There are clear opportunities in the marketplace for suppliers to identify and then deliver products or related services that are valued by customers and perceived to be better than or different from those offered by competitors, according to the report.
Moreover, "by employing a differentiation strategy, suppliers can raise scientists' perception of value to a level where premium pricing is possible," according to Rothrock.