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International Business: Consumers

Market segmentation means analyzing an audience in order to improve communicating, providing services or selling to that group.

There are four main methods to segment (or divide) an audience:

  • Geographic: separates people by where they live;
  • Demographic: divides according to objective categories such as age, income, occupation and education;
  • Psychographic: looks at attitudes, values, beliefs and interests; what they think; and 
  • Behaviouristic: concentrates on habits, preferences, and purchasing patterns (also called lifestyle); what they do.

NOTE: Resources listed on the Countries tab often provide information about a country's population that can provide additional consumer information.

Databases:
Government sources:
Free websites:

NOTE: You can segment a market by the following key demographic groups:

  • By generational cohort (Great Depression, WWII, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Jones, Generation Y, Millennials)
  • By age (Children, young adults, middle aged, seniors)
  • By gender
  • By marital status
  • By income
  • By educational attainment
  • By religion
  • By country of origin/ancestry
  • By visible minority status
  • By mother tongue
  • By labour force participation
  • By occupation

Usually these demographic groups are located within a specific area, so demographic and geographic segmentation usually go hand-in-hand (e.g., comparing numbers of seniors in Toronto to seniors in Calgary).

Databases:

Behaviouralistic segmentation is primarily activity based. It includes hobbies, sports and fitness involvement, purchasing behaviour, entertainment, social events, dining patterns -- any behaviour that can be measured and quantified.

Sometimes psychographic and behaviouralistic/lifestyle variables are bundled together as IAO variables (Interests, Activities and Opinions). There can be overlap between the two areas.

For example, a person who has a more conservative mindset (psychographic) will tend to vote for conservative candidates (behaviouralistic / lifestyle). Basically, what you think can influence what you do.

Which database do I use?
Video Tutorial

Watch this video to learn more about selected sources for company and industry research (including IBISWorld, Mintel, Passport GMID, and MarketLine):

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Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.