The MRS said that despite the maturity of the UK market, which is the second largest in the world, revenue growth last year powered ahead of 2007's growth of 2.3%.
David Barr, director general of the MRS, said: "This level of growth is very encouraging, particularly when inflation has, for the time being, ceased to be a significant factor".
The survey also revealed that the ratio of domestic research to international work has been relatively constant over the last decade at 3:1.
In 2008, domestic research grew by 3.8% while international research expanded by 12.5% -- another significant uplift on the 2007 growth rate.
Barr said: "This very welcome surge in international research confirms the importance of the UK as a hub for international projects, and represents a significant gain in global market share."
However, Barr said he expects a tougher year for the research sector in 2009 as client's businesses continue to cut spend.
"Market research is certainly not immune to the impact of recession, although it has shown itself in previous downturns to be relatively resilient compared with other disciplines in the marketing services sector. We expect that to be reflected throughout 2009 and beyond."