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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.

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).


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.