Psychographic Or Lifestyle Segmentation Introduction Consumer Behaviour

It is defined simply as how one lives, and spends money. It is determined by our past experiences,innate characteristics and current situations. The products we consume are related toour lifestyle. Lifestyle marketing established a relationship between the products offered inthe market and targeted lifestyle groups.

Psychographics and Lifestyle in Consumer Behaviour

Lifestyles segmentation is based on activities andinterest and opinions of groups. These are psychographic segmentations, and lifestyles arederived from psychographics. Lifestyle is a unified pattern of behaviour that determines consumptionand, is also in turn determined by it.

Demographic and psychographic lifestyles are complimentary and work best together.Demographic variables help marketeers “locate” the target market, and psychographics providesmore insight into the segment by taking into their activities interests and opinions.

Demographic and psychographic lifestyles

Marketeers try to find out the activities, interests, and opinions of people by questionsto be answered on a rating scale. This is done to find out how strongly one agrees or disagreeswith the question.

Characteristics of Lifestyle

  1. Lifestyle is a group phenomenon which influences others in the society. A person havinga particular lifestyle can influence others in a social group.
  2. Lifestyle influences all areas of one’s activities. A person having a certain lifestyle showsconsistency of behaviour in other areas as well. You can always predict that a personshopping from elite or speciality stores, would not shop from common places. The sameapplies to eating habits and other habits as well.
  3. Lifestyle implies a central life interest: A person may have interest in education, leisure,adventure work, sexual exploits, etc. which any become their main interest in life.
  4. Social changes in society affect lifestyles: For example, as the society becomes moreaffluent, lifestyles of people change, sometimes drastically. As one would become richerones lifestyle changes accordingly.

Lifestyle Segmentation
This is known as value and lifestyle segmentation and was introduced in 1978 by ArnoldMitchell. It provides a systematic classification of American adults into nine segments. Thesewere widely used. Despite its popularity, some managers felt that the nine segments given byVALS are not appropriate, as two of the segments cover one-third of the entire population,leaving the rest to be divided into 7 segments, which become too small to be of interest to manyfirms. These nine segments are

Lifestyle Segmentation

The figure shows four major groups or classfication:

  • Need driven: (poor and uneducated).
  • Outer directed: (middle or upper income class consumer whose lifestyle is directed byexternal criteria).
  • Inner directed: (people motivated by inner needs rather than by the expectation ofothers).
  • Integrated: (this group combines the best of outer and inner directed. They are fullymatured).

A further break-up of these groups is shown in the figure, and their characteristics canbe described as given below:

  1. Survivors: They are disadvantaged people, who are poor, depressed and withdrawn.Their purchases are price dominant, and they like to buy products which are economical andsuit their pocket. They are not very knowledgeable.
  2. Sustainers: They are motivated by brand names. They look for guarantee and areimpulse buyers. These people are disadvantaged and want to get out of poverty.
  3. Belongers: They buy products which are popular. They are careful and brand loyalshoppers. They are people who are conventional, conservative, and unexperimental.
  4. Emulators: They are status conscious and upwardly mobile. They emulate others,and buy products to impress other people. They have high aspirations in life.
  5. Achievers: They buy top of the line products. They are brand conscious and loyal.They are leaders and make things happen. They want to enjoy a good life.
  6. I am me: These people are typically young, self engrossed and given to whims. They go after fads and do not mind taking the lead.
  7. Experimentals: These people pursue a rich inner life and want to directly experiencewhat life has to offer.
  8. 8. Societally conscious people: They are simple, frugal persons; who read labels carefullyand seek information. They are conscious of society and social responsibility. They wantto improve conditions in society.
  9. Integrated: These are fully matured people and constitute the best of outer andinner directed.

These segments did not appeal to many marketeers and therefore, VALS 2 was introducedin 1989. This system has more of a psychological base than the original, which was moreactivity and interest based. VALS 2 is based on attitudes and values. It is measured by 42statements with which the respondents state a degree of agreement and disagreement.

It has identified three primary self orientations:
Principle oriented: They are guided by their beliefs and principles.
Status oriented: These individuals are heavily influenced by actions, approval andopinion of others.
Action oriented: They desire social and physical activity, variety and risk taking. These three orientations determine the types of goals and behaviours that consumerswill pursue, and the goods they will get interested in.

values and life style segments

This classification is based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. At the bottom are the peoplewith minimal resources and, on the top we have people with abundant resources. This dividesthe consumer into 3 general groups or segments. Each of these segments have a distinctivelifestyle, attitude and decision-making. The figure shows their characteristics as wel. The eightsegments also differ in their resources and orientations. The resources possessed by those atthe bottom are very little and as we move upwards the resources increase. Besides money andphysical resources, people at the bottom lack in education, social resources, psychologicalresources and in self confidence. These studies were made on American people. The demographiccharacteristics like, age, income, occupation, role, religion, sex education, marital status caneasily be identified. However, it is more difficult to identify psychographic characteristics ofattitudes, beliefs, interests, benefits, lifestyle, etc. This can be done by VALS segmentation.

For a segment to be worthwhile, it must have a proper size, i.e., enough number ofpeople in the segment to make it feasible. It must be stable, so that the people belonging to asegment not only remain there, but the segment must also grow in size. The segment mustalso be accessible, so that the marketeer is able to reach the segment in an economical way.They can be reached through various media. Marketeers also are on the lookout for new mediathat can reach the audience with minimum waste, circulation and competition. The segmentshould be such that profits can be gained. By catering to a segment, profits must be ensured.Profits are the backbone of any organisation. The target segment has to be profitable.


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