Lifestyle segmentation of consumers, also termed as Psychographics is one of the crucial factor that affects Consumer Behaviour. Lifestyle segmentation is carried out by marketers on the basis of different customer opinions, activities and interests, which are mostly ascertained through market research.
Lifestyle segmentation is based on the activities, opinions and interests of groups. Marketers try to establish a relationship between the products offered and different lifestyle groups to effectively segment and target the market. This is done by finding out the activities, interests and opinions of the people.
Lifestyle Segmentation of consumers is influenced by various factors like:
- Cognition – The thought processes which run in the minds of Consumers
- Emotion – The desire to buy a product or service
- Conation – The real behaviour of the consumers with respect to defining their needs and purchase decisions
Cognition, Emotion and Conation are supported by the feelings that are aroused due to the environmental and societal factors. All the above decide the consumer`s behavior, which as a result decides market and business performance.
Key characteristics of Lifestyle Segmentation
- Lifestyle is an individualistic terminology that is applicable to a single consumer. However when the lifestyle of individuals makes an impact on the others in the society a group is formed. When the market is segmented, the preferences of this group influences the decision making process in a holistic manner.
- Lifestyle of a person exhibits consistency in approach and behaviour. For instance, if a consumer is brand conscious, he or she may choose to go in for the brand again and again. It is for sure that he will not shift to any other brand or go in for unbranded choices. This is applicable to all aspects of preferences including accessories and food. Grouping people with such approach creates a segment of consumers who are highly quality conscious.
- Lifestyle applies to the individual areas of interest of a person. During the segmentation process, this individual area of interest is taken in to consideration as one of the major aspect. For instance, a group of people who consider education and knowledge enhancement as their life goals will consider all products and services related to the same. People who love leisure activities would prefer to align with areas that offer the same. Grouping people based on such interests that add value to their core belief system creates a set of consumers who opt for services and products related to these aspects.
- Wealth creation opportunities and aspirations pertaining to wealth accumulation act as one of the major factors when deciding one’s lifestyle. When such people who are rich are grouped together, the segment displays similar characteristics, though the scenario and interests might have been in total contrast before becoming rich.
Value and Lifestyle Segmentation (VALS)
Many internal and external factors that act as the basis of consumers’ value system become influential factors when it comes to segmenting consumers into various groups. These factors are basically divided in to two kinds,
Factors externally oriented
- Financially downtrodden (survival is the drive)
- Illiterates (sustenance is the drive)
- Popularity of products that change from time to time (impulsive purchase decisions)
- Conservatism leading to conventional purchase decisions (unexperimental in nature)
- Showing off status (to impress others)
- Brand consciousness (quality conscious)
- Hedonism making people go in for good life (Brand conscious)
Factors internally oriented
- Motivation to purchase (Lack of knowledge)
- Brand name attraction (Impulsive purchase decision)
- Yearnings and longing (Pushed by desires)
- Expects value for the money paid (Very cautious about label contents)
- Highly matured (makes purchases decisions in a knowledgeable manner considering all facts including necessity)
Value and lifestyle segmentation (VALS) was developed by Arnold Mitchell in 1978, who classified American adults into nine segments on the basis of their lifestyle. The VALS Model divides consumers into four major groups and further breaks up that group into 9 segments. The four major groups are:
- Need driven – Poor and uneducated people
- Outer directed – Middle or upper class people whose lifestyle is directed by external factors
- Inner driven – People who are motivated by inner needs and their lifestyle is directed by inner factors
- Integrated – They are matured consumers whose lifestyle is directed by a combination of internal and external factors
These were further classified into:
Survivors – People whose purchase decisions are influenced by the cost of the products that are in their needs list. They are poor, uneducated and depressed and usually by economical products.
Sustainers – Aspirants who want to rid themselves from the clutches of Poverty. This drives them to go in for brands just to satisfy their aspiration.
Belongers – As the name suggests this type of consumers stick or belong to particular types of brands exhibiting loyalty of high levels. They tend to be highly conservative and refuse to experiment with buying new brands that are not in their usual list.
Emulators – These are set of consumers who are very conscious about their status levels. Their purchase decisions are mostly not based on their requirements and desires. They buy products as a status symbol to impress others.
Achievers – This set of people are leaders who live a high quality life. Their purchases target reflecting quality and their desire to enjoy life to its fullest.
Self oriented – Young people who are highly self-oriented in approach fall in this group. They are not influenced by external factors but tend to go in with what their desires are which usually change very frequently
Experimentalist – These are people who focus more on their inner needs than outwardly purchases. Their purchase decisions are focussed more to satisfy their elevated inner aspirations
Society oriented – This is the group of people who think of improving the society as a whole. Pushed by this inner feeling, they tend to go in for products that are genuine and unharmful to the society. They are the ones who read the instructions and ingredients printed on Product labels before making the real purchase
Integrated – This set of people have a balance approach towards their purchases which are generally made taking into consideration their inner and outer aspects. Such people are considered as highly matured consumers.