Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

Editor’s Note: Originally published in June 2019 and updated annually, this report on eDiscovery collection task, spending, and cost information contains new data points based on recent refreshes of industry research from ComplexDiscovery OÜ. This update includes information from the 2023-2028 eDiscovery Market Size Mashup for Worldwide Software and Services and the most recent eDiscovery pricing survey conducted in November 2023. This update may be beneficial for legal, business, and IT professionals considering the business of eDiscovery and, specifically, the economics of eDiscovery collection. 

Content Assessment: A 2023 Look at eDiscovery Collection: Task, Spend, and Cost Data Points

Information - 96%
Insight - 93%
Relevance - 95%
Objectivity - 94%
Authority - 95%



A short percentage-based assessment of the qualitative benefit of the post highlighting ComplexDiscovery OÜ research on the eDiscovery task of collecting electronically stored information.

Industry Research – Markets

A 2023 Look at eDiscovery Collection: Task, Spend, and Cost Data Points

ComplexDiscovery Staff

Within the context of data discovery and legal discovery, the task of collection consists of locating potential sources of electronically stored information (ESI) and gathering ESI for further use in the eDiscovery process. It is one of three tasks, that along with processing and review, make up the core tasks typically associated with the process of eDiscovery.

In considering the relative costs of the three core eDiscovery tasks of collection, processing, and review, in 2012, the task of collection represented approximately 8% of the total expenditure for eDiscovery tasks, with processing representing 19% of expenditures and review representing 73% of expenditures. (1) Based on market modeling since 2012, the relative cost of the eDiscovery task of collection in 2023, as published in November 2023, increased and was estimated to be 15% of expenditures. Additionally, in 2023, the core eDiscovery task of processing was estimated to represent 20% of expenditures, and the core eDiscovery task of review was estimated to represent 65% of expenditures. (2) This shift indicates an evolving emphasis on the initial stages of eDiscovery, likely due to the growing complexity and volume of data sources.

Chart 1: Relative Task Expenditures for eDiscovery

Relative Task Expenditures for Core eDiscovery Tasks - 2023 Overview

Market Opportunity for Collection: The Spend

In evaluating the market spend for the eDiscovery task of collection through the lens of relative task expenditures and modeled market estimations, spending on collection-related software and services was estimated to constitute approximately 15% ($2.26B) of worldwide eDiscovery software and services spending in 2023. The percentage of spending for the eDiscovery task of collection is estimated to increase to approximately 20% of overall eDiscovery spending by 2028, with that spend estimated to reach $4.53B in 2028. (3) This projected increase underscores the growing importance and complexity of the collection phase in eDiscovery processes.

Chart 2: eDiscovery Market for Collection

eDiscovery Market for Collection (2023-2028) - 2023 Overview

Collection Pricing Data Points: The Cost

While many individual elements contribute to the cost of collection, results from semi-annual eDiscovery Pricing Surveys (4) may provide insight into key costs and cost trends related to the eDiscovery task of collection. These costs include onsite and remote collections (Charts 3-4), device-specific collections (Charts 5-6), and investigative services or expert testimony (Charts 7-8).

Responses from the most recent semi-annual eDiscovery pricing survey regarding six collection-related cost questions, stratified by location, device type, and expertise, posed to cybersecurity, information governance, and legal discovery professionals are provided below for your consideration.

Chart 3: What is the per hour cost for an onsite collection by a forensic examiner?

Collection Pricing – Per Hour Cost for an Onsite Collection by a Forensic Examiner – Winter 2024 Pricing

Chart 4: What is the per hour cost for a remote collection by a forensic examiner?

Collection Pricing – Per Hour Cost for a Remote Collection by a Forensic Examiner – Winter 2024 Pricing

Chart 5: What is the per device cost for a desktop or laptop computer collection by a forensic examiner?

Collection Pricing – Per Device Cost for a Desktop – Laptop Computer Collection by a Forensic Examiner – Winter 2024 Pricing

Chart 6: What is the per device cost for a mobile device collection by a forensic examiner?

Collection Pricing – Per Device Cost for a Mobile Device Collection by a Forensic Examiner – Winter 2024

Chart 7: What is the per hour cost for investigation, analysis, and report generation by a forensic examiner?

Collection Pricing – Per Hour Cost for Investigation, Analysis and Report Generation by an FE – Winter 2024 Pricing

Chart 8: What is the per hour cost for expert witness testimony (in-person and written) by a forensic examiner?

Collection Pricing – Per Hour Cost for Expert Witness Testimony (In-Person and Written) by an FE – Winter 2024 Pricing

Collection Considerations: The Bottom Line

The eDiscovery landscape, particularly in the collection task, is undergoing a noticeable transformation. The increasing financial commitment to this stage reflects its growing complexity and importance. As data sources continue to expand and become more intricate, the eDiscovery process is adapting, with more resources being allocated to the initial stages of data gathering. This trend presents both challenges and opportunities for professionals in the field, emphasizing the need for advanced, efficient collection tools and strategies to handle the burgeoning data volumes effectively.


(1) Pace, N., & Zakaras, L. (2012). Where the Money Goes: Understanding Litigant Expenditures for Producing Electronic Discovery (p. xiv, xv). RAND Institute for Civil Justice.

(2) Robinson, R. (2023). The Next Five Years in eDiscovery: Market Size Forecast for 2023-28. Retrieved from

(3) Ibid.

(4) Robinson, R. (2023). Shaping eDiscovery Strategies: Winter 2024 Pricing Report. Retrieved from

Assisted by GAI and LLM Technologies

Additional Research

Additional Reading

Source: ComplexDiscovery


Have a Request?

If you have information or offering requests that you would like to ask us about, please let us know, and we will make our response to you a priority.

ComplexDiscovery OÜ is a highly recognized digital publication focused on providing detailed insights into the fields of cybersecurity, information governance, and eDiscovery. Based in Estonia, a hub for digital innovation, ComplexDiscovery OÜ upholds rigorous standards in journalistic integrity, delivering nuanced analyses of global trends, technology advancements, and the eDiscovery sector. The publication expertly connects intricate legal technology issues with the broader narrative of international business and current events, offering its readership invaluable insights for informed decision-making.

For the latest in law, technology, and business, visit


Generative Artificial Intelligence and Large Language Model Use

ComplexDiscovery OÜ recognizes the value of GAI and LLM tools in streamlining content creation processes and enhancing the overall quality of its research, writing, and editing efforts. To this end, ComplexDiscovery OÜ regularly employs GAI tools, including ChatGPT, Claude, Midjourney, and DALL-E, to assist, augment, and accelerate the development and publication of both new and revised content in posts and pages published (initiated in late 2022).

ComplexDiscovery also provides a ChatGPT-powered AI article assistant for its users. This feature leverages LLM capabilities to generate relevant and valuable insights related to specific page and post content published on By offering this AI-driven service, ComplexDiscovery OÜ aims to create a more interactive and engaging experience for its users, while highlighting the importance of responsible and ethical use of GAI and LLM technologies.