WHO IS THE CONSUMER? (Part 2 of 4)

Last week  we had looked at conventional consumer segments are no longer relevant. In Part 2 this week, we will look at exploring a new approach to consumer classification.

The Need for a New Consumer Classification Method

The Socio Economic Classification does not work. It creates too many biases and leaves out possible lucrative segments. I strongly believe that the world order has changed and we need a new system of consumer segmentation. We call it the DY Works Mindsets Classification. (DYW-MC)

This classification employs a very different cut for determining Age, Income, Education, Profession  and even Gender.


This is not about the real age of the consumer. However, consumers of different ages across the same age mindset – will show similar behaviour
  1. Young - carefree, seeking new experiences, youthful clothing and brands. A 40 year old person with this mindset would be using all the anti-ageing products in the world.
  2. Middle aged – settled, not experimenting, set in ways, not much that is radical. A 40 year old will have solid brands – Ponds, Lux etc. No too many categories – and does not buy new things every time.
  3. Older – simplifying life. Letting go of too much complexity. A 40 year old person would have a soap a shampoo and a moisturizer.

This classification is across income levels and very wealthy HNIs could also be reluctant to replace their mobile phone every six months – whereas a young shop assistant could be far more prolific.

  1. “I am worth it” – We came across a s shoe salesman in a hamlet outside Varanasi who smoked Gold Flake:  “Apni bhi koi ijjat hai”. This is the consumer who  wants everything here and now.  This is where you will see early adopters and real as has nothing to do with it. Men in their 50s who are buying the latest in laptops or cars are part of this mind set.
  2. “Others are worth it” – I will sacrifice to give the best to my family. This the person who we see on KBC, who is going to give his / her money to parents and relatives first. This is the woman who buys for husband, children, home – before buying anything for herself.  There is desire – but can hold off and wait for 2-3 years before buying the flat screen TV or the fully automatic washing machine. Even when buying, would buy an older model which is cheaper.
  3. “We cant afford it” – savings, ‘do I really need it’, seeking many validations and justifications. Seeks rational justifications  and prefers not to spend. Shopping is not a joy – and even post purchase, there is an anguish of guilt. They are simplifying their lives and are able to do with less.

This classification and sub-classification is greatly revealing about a consumer’s mind set and can exactly pin-point aspirations, value systems and more.

  1. White Collar
    1. Bramhins  - those from privileged backgrounds, brand name schools, colleges, jobs.
    2. Fast Track – the young MBA who gets the same salary as a person recruited for sales or operations. In a hurry. Looking for the next big thing – job or own business.
    3. Long Distance – Good dependable, solid – will grow steadily in job, will not change jobs often.
  2. Blue Collar
    1. Waiting to get out – hates the job, is dreaming big. Either own business, or a stab at reality TV/ game shows/ talent shows. Wants more in life.
    2. Work is worship – content. Few needs, dedicated, loyal, steadfast.
  3. Gold Collar
    1. Humble work – disproportionate money. Property Agents, Gas Station Owners. Typically do not have social Status – a visiting card that says – General Manager, Bajaj or a Govt. Designation. Their status is only visible from gold chains and expensive brand names on or about their person.
  4. Young and Restless
    1. First generation entrepreneurs fired by stories of entrepreneurs making it big. Big schemes, big dreams and lots of guts. Driven, passionate, energetic.

If we go beyond the simple gender divide, there is a layered understanding of roles and responsibilities basis the understanding of gender.

  • Metro-sexual  Female
    • Works in an mans world, takes financial decisions
    • Equal partner/ husband changes nappies, cooks as well
  • Metro-sexual  Male
    • Not afraid to show his sensitive side
    • Involved with his appearance – could get facials/ pedicures
  • Working Women
When we define the consumer in this fashion, we understand a great deal about them. But for their deeper truths, we need to understand them in a cultural context.
Contributed by Alpana Parida - President, DY Works
PART 1: Conventional consumer segments are no longer valid
PART 2: Need for a new consumer classification method
PART 3: The importance of Culture for Brands

Follow this space for Part 3 and  Part 4.

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