Psychographics is a qualitative methodology used to describe consumers on psychological attributes.[1] Psychographics have been applied to the study of personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles.[2] Because this area of research focuses on activities, interests, and opinions, psychographic factors are sometimes abbreviated to 'AIO variables'.

While psychographics are often equated with lifestyle research, it has been argued that psychographics should apply to the study of cognitive attributes such as attitudes, interests, opinions, and beliefs while lifestyle should apply to the study of overt behavior (e.g., activities).[3]

Psychographic studies of individuals or communities can be valuable in the fields of marketing, demographics, opinion research, prediction, and social research in general. Psychographic attributes can be contrasted with demographic variables (such as age and gender), behavioral variables (such as purchase data or usage rate), and organizational descriptors (sometimes called firmographic variables), such as industry, number of employees, and functional area.

Psychographic methods gained prominence in the 2016 US presidential election due to its use in microtargeting advertisements to narrow constituencies by Cambridge Analytica.

Psychographic profiling

When a relatively complete profile of a person or group's psychographic make-up is constructed, this is called a "psychographic profile". Psychographic profiles are used in market segmentation as well as in advertising. Some categories of psychographic factors used in market segmentation include:

  • activity, interest, opinion (AIOs)
  • attitudes
  • values
  • behavior

Psychographic can also be seen as an equivalent of the concept of "culture" when it is used for segmentation at a national level.[4]

Comparison to demographics

Psychographics is often confused with demographics, where historical generations may be defined both by demographics, such as the years in which a particular generation is born or even the fertility rates of that generation's parents, but also by psychographic variables like attitudes, personality formation, and cultural touchstones. For example, the traditional approaches to defining the Baby Boom Generation or Generation X or Millennials have relied on both demographic variables (classifying individuals based on birth years) and psychographic variables (such as beliefs, attitudes, values and behaviors).

Infusionsoft published an article arguing that customer psychographic segmentation is more useful than demographic information.[4]

See also


  1. {Cite journal|last=Wells|first=William D.|date=May 1975|title=Psychographics: A critical review|jstor=3150443|journal=Journal of Marketing Research|volume=12|pages=196–213|doi=10.2307/3150443}}
  2. "Who Is Your Next Customer?". Booz Allen Hamilton Inc, Strategy+Business. 28 September 2007.
  3. Anderson Jr, Thomas W.; Golden, Linda L. (1984). "Lifestyle and psychographics: A critical review and recommendation". Advances in Consumer Research. 11: 405–411.
  4. Saunders, Amy (2016-05-09). "Why Psychographic Segmentation is Important". Retrieved 2018-03-20.
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