Market segmentation consists in identifying a sufficient number of common buyer characteristics  to  permit  sub  division of the total demand for a product into economically viable segments.

These segments fall between two extremes  of  total  homogeneity and total heterogeneity. The various segments that are in vogue are as follows:

1. Geographic Segmentation:

Chronologically this kind of segmentation appeared first, for planning and administrative purposes. The marketer often fined it convenient to sub-divide the country into areas in a systematic way.

The great advantages of adopting this scheme are that standard regions are widely used by Government and it facilitates collection of statistics. Most of the national manufacturers split up their sales areas into sales territories either state-wise or district-wise.

2. Demographic Segmentation:

Under this method, the consumers are grouped into homogeneous groups in terms of demographic similarities such as age, sex, education, income level, etc.

This is considered to be more purposeful since the emphasis ultimately rests on customers. The variables are easy to recognize and measure than in the case of the first type, as persons of the same group may exhibit more or less similar characteristics.

For example, in the case of shoes, the needs and preferences of each group could be measured with maximum accuracy.

Age groups: Usually age groups are considered by manufacturers of certain special    For  example, toys. Even  in the purchases made by parents, children exert    a profound influence.

The market segmented on the basis of the age groups is as follows:

  1. children,
  2. teenagers,
  3. adults,
  4. grown-ups.

Family life-cycle: This is yet another method falling under demographic segmentation. The concept of a family life cycle refers to the important stages in the life of an  ordinary  These stages are called ‘decision-making units’ (Dumps).

A widely accepted system distinguishes the  following eight stages:

    1. Young, single,
    2. Young, married, no children,
    3. Young, married, youngest child under six,
    4. Young, married, youngest child over six,
    5. Older, married with children,
    6. Older, married, no children under eighteen,
    7. Older single,
    8. Others.

Although the distinction between the young and the old is not explicit the concept provides a useful basis for breaking down the total population into sub-group  for  a  more detailed analysis.

Sex: Sex influences buying motives in consumer market, e.g. in the case of many products women demand special styles. Bicycle is an example. This kind of segmentation is useful in many respects.

The recent studies, however, show that traditional differences are being fast broken down and this kind of segmentation doesn’t hold much One reason  for this is that women are going in for jobs.

This is a blessing in disguise as a number of new products are now being demanded, e.g. frozen food, household appliances, etc.

Successful attempts to remove barriers of discrimination against women have generated many market opportunities. Interestingly enough, however, it has not been so easy to get males to accept products traditionally considered feminine.

A decade age driving motor vehicles by women was  seldom  seen but today it has become a common  sight.  The  distinction in dress traditionally maintained by  girls  and  boys has also been considerably reduced.  These  changes  have tremendous marketing implications.

3. Socio-psychological Segmentation:

The segmentation here is done on the basis of social class, viz., working class, middle income groups, etc. Since marketing potentially is intimately connected with the "ability to buy",  this  segmentation  is meaningful in deciding buying patterns of a particular class.

4. Product Segmentation:

When the segmentation of markets is done on the basis of product characteristics that are capable of satisfying certain special needs of customers, such a method is known as product segmentation.

The products, on this basis, are classified into:

  1. Prestige products, e.g. automobiles,
  2. Maturity products, e.g. cigarettes,
  3. Status products, e.g. most
  4. Anxiety products, e.g. medicines,
  5. Functional products, e.g. fruits,

The argument in favor of this type of product segmentation is that  it is directed towards differences among the products which comprise markets. Where the products involved show great differences, this method is called a rational approach.

5. Benefit Segmentation:

Russell Hally introduced the concept of benefit segmentation. Under this method, the buyers form  the  basis of segmentation but not on the demographic principles mentioned above.

Here consumers are interviewed to learn the importance of different benefits they may be expecting from a product. These benefits or utilities may be classified into generic or primary utilities and secondary or evolved utilities. The following table would explain this aspect.

6. Volume Segmentation:

Another way of segmenting the market is on the basis of volume of purchases. Under this method the buyers are purchasers, and single unit purchasers. This analysis is also capable of showing the buying behavior of different

7. Marketing-factor Segmentation:

The responsiveness of buyers to different marketing activities is the basis for these types of segmentation. The price, quality, advertising, promotional devices, etc., are some of the activities involved under this method.