Asia Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 5, 2002 Pages 265-273
PSYCHOGRAPHIC SEGMENTATION OF BEIJING ADULT POPULATION AND FOOD CONSUMPTION
Anthony Chun-Tung Lowe, RMIT University, Australia
Anthony Worsley, Deakin University, Australia
Responses from a large (801) random sample of Beijings adult population were used to carry out this "values and lifestyles" segmentation process and it measured consumers "values" and "lifestyles" directly. The results indicate that "values and lifestyle" segmentation provides marketers with a more comprehensive understanding of the consumers than by demographics alone. This study also demonstrates that marketers should not carry out segmentation automatically. They need to determine where consumers perceive a particular category of product on the "luxury" and "non-luxury" continuum before deciding whether to carry out the segmentation process or not.
In the 45 years since the seminal article by Wendell Smith (1956), segmentation has become an important concept in marketing literature and practice. Besides being one of the major ways to operationalise the marketing concept, segmentation provides guidelines for a firms marketing strategy and resource allocation among markets and products.
Initially, segmentation was mainly based on consumers demographic characteristics such as age, sex, income, education, occupation and other characteristics. However, these approaches are now considered crude and overly general. Marketing researchers today want to get into the individual consumers mind, by exploring such factors as values, lifestyles, and cognitive characteristics (eg. Mitchell, 1983; Kahle et al., 1986; Wei, 1997). These factors provide the marketers with more in depth understanding of their consumers. This enables them to develop more appropriate and specific marketing strategies to target their products at more specific segments of the population (Shiffman et al, 2001).
This paper sets to describe the results of psychographic segmentation of Beijings adult population based on values and lifestyles. In addition, to fulfil the criteria for an effective market segmentation process, ownership of possessions as well as demographic details were identified for each of the segments. Furthermore, to examine the usefulness of segmentation process, food consumption behaviour of the segments was examined.
THE PEOPLES REPUBLIC OF CHINA (PRC)
The PRC is a vast and multifaceted country. Its cultural heritage goes back thousands of years. It has a population of over 1.3 billion people that accounts for approximately one quarter of the world population. The people of the PRC have been through considerable and rapid social, political, and economic changes during the last 50 years, They have experienced changes from Confucianism to Communism and then Consumerism. These rapid and enforced changes (by the government) have had substantial impact upon the values system and lifestyles of the people in the PRC. Some of these changes have caused alterations to the basic structure of the PRC society. For example, the one child policy has created a generation of "little emperors". These "little emperors" are adored and spoiled by six peopleBmother, father, and paternal and maternal grandparents. This one child policy is likely to produce a generation of children with self-centred, hedonistic and materialistic values. Furthermore, these children are also likely to be under pressure to perform, since all the familys hopes and aspirations are centred on the one child. Furthermore, anecdotal evidence suggests that some of the older "little emperors" from the one child policy are already experiencing social difficulties in the PRC. For example, newspapers report that to fulfil their overdeveloped needs for material possessions and self-indulgence, there appear to be a substantial increase in shoplifting and other petty crime among the "little emperors". In addition, the state will need to develop programs to care for the elderly in the future, since it will be difficult for one child to support his/her own family as well as his/her elderly parents.
On the other hand, since 1978, the PRC has embarked on a vigorous drive for modernisation by engaging in domestic reform and opening itself to the outside world. These reforms brought about a strong economic performance and accompanied by a substantial lifting in the standard of living of the general population in the PRC (Euromonitor, 1996). However, the PRC remains one of the last great untapped areas of the world for new marketing opportunities (Xu, 1990). In order to successfully tapping into this vast market, it is essential to have comprehensive understanding of the Chinese consumers.
In broad terms, however, it is almost impossible for a single firm, to cover the entire PRC market effectively and efficiently. The sheer size of the population alone justifies the performance of the segmentation process. In addition, the large landmass and many other variables, such as different races, languages, customs, value systems, introduce further complexity to the overall market. For a firm to be successful and profitable in the PRC, therefore, it needs to:
1. segment the market;
2. select segment(s) of the market that the firm has the capability of fulfilling the consumers needs and wants; and
3. formulate appropriate marketing strategies to satisfy the needs and wants of the consumers within the identified market segment(s) within the PRC.
Beijing was selected for this study because Beijing is the capital of the PRC and the results of this study may be used to forecast the developing "trend" of the smaller cities in the PRC.
DEVELOPMENT OF PERSONAL VALUES INVENTORY
The "values" section of the questionnaire was derived from the Personal Values Inventory (Lowes PVI) developed by the first author (Lowe, 1993). The development of the Lowes PVI was largely based on Kluckhohn and Strodtbecks (1961) value orientations concept. The categories of variables within the value system are as follows:
1. Person to nature orientation
- Harmony with nature
- Yuarn (Karma)
2. Self orientation
- The Doctrine of "mean" (or not to take extreme action)
3. Relational orientation
- Respect for Authority
4. Time orientation
- Past-time orientation
- Harmony with others
Kluckhohn and Strodtbecks (1961) "Human Nature" value orientation was excluded from this value system because it has limited marketing implications and is hard to measure (Lowe and Corkindale, 1998). As Shively and Shively (1972) state:
"Chinese believe that human nature and the universe are a mixture of good and evilBmade up of two opposing forcesBthe Yin and Yang. These forces interact and intertwine like heaven and earth, male and female, strong and weak, good and evil. There is a little of each in the other and together they form a harmonious unity. Therefore, man is basically both good and evil."
The Lowes PVI was developed with short concise, simple and concrete statements, because they are less likely to be misinterpreted by respondents from different cultures. If necessary, these statements can easily be translated into other languages.
Totally Agree Totally Disagree
10. One should always be proud of ones country of origin. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7
11. I ensure my life is never dull and boring. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7
These statements were pre-tested and revised several times before the final inventory was produced.
From Lowes (1998) study, any item with a factor loading of 0.35 or less was removed. Through two subsequent studies, the number of statements was reduced from 110 items to 36 items.
A TAXONOMY OF LIFESTYLE STUDIES
DEVELOPMENT OF LIFESTYLE INVENTORY
"Lifestyle is one of the most abused words of the English language. Social scientists, journalists, and laymen use it to refer to almost anything of interest, be it fashion, Zen Buddhism, or French cooking" (Sobel, 1981). In the 1960s, social scientists viewed lifestyle as an observable manifestation of prestige, such as social class (Weber, 1966), wealth, occupation and prowess (Veblen, 1966). In other words, lifestyles are the derivatives of social class, esteem or status. Other social scientists posited that lifestyles could be constructed as an indicator of socioeconomic position or social class via symbolic meaning of possessions or activities (Barber, 1957).
In broad terms, however, social scientists agree that "lifestyle" consists of "behaviours that are physically observable or deducible from observation over which an individual has considerable discretionary power" (Sobel, 1981). Kindra et al. (1994) defined lifestyle "as the consumers pattern of activities, interests, and opinions (AIO) that is consistent with this persons needs and values." In other words, a consumers lifestyle is the outward expression of the consumers needs and values and those opinions and attitudes that have been formed on various social, political or economic issues. These outward expressions of needs and values form a consistent pattern in what consumers buy and do not buy; what they do or do not do; what interest them or do not interest them. (Kindra et al., 1994) To describe the concept more concisely, it is ones "mode of living" (Sobel, 1983) or "the way we live" (Sheth et al, 1999).
It is interesting to note that most research studies have derived lifestyle segments from consumers values, interests or opinions (eg. Valette-Florence and Jolibert 1990; Murry et al, 1997). Other researchers (eg. Sobel, 1983) and market research agencies (Reed, 1996) have inferred lifestyle segments from census-based geodemographic information. However, they do not actually measure the way consumers conduct their lives.
Grunert et al (1993) classified various types of lifestyle research based on the research approaches, as shown in Table I. It is interesting to note that following their "critcism of previous lifestyle research", Grunert et al (1993) adopted a "deductive" method of measuring lifestyles.
For the purpose of this research and to remove any ambiguity, lifestyle is defined as "a distinctive, hence recognisable, mode of living" (Sobel, 1983). In other words, lifestyle is defined and measured on the respondents self audit of actual frequency of participation in various activities (ie. observable patterns of behaviours), such as "play computer games", "dine-out with friends", "play tennis", and "go to theatre". This implies that "values" (which include interests and opinions) and certain consumption behaviours (eg. ownership of durable goodsBpossessions, types of food consumed) no longer qualify as candidates for inclusion in the domain of lifestyle. However, these factors can be used to ascertain the causes or consequences of consumers lifestyles.
The questionnaire consists of five sections:Bvalues, lifestyle, possessions, food consumption behaviour, and demographic details.
SAMPLE POPULATION BY CENSUS DISTRICT
A native Chinese speaker with good English training translated the English questionnaire into Chinese. To check for accuracy of the translation, another independent person translated the Chinese instrument back into English. The researcher who is fluent in Chinese also checked the translation.
The Chinese questionnaire was pre-tested in the field by four Chinese supervisors/ interviewers before the final questionnaire was developed.
A "proportional stratified sampling" method was used. The Beijing metropolitan area was divided into six regions according to census districts. The number of respondents by sex and age were specified for each district, based on the August 1995 Statistical Yearbook of Beijing (See Table II below).
For each census district, streets were randomly selected from a local map. One person (aged 18 years or over) from each household was randomly selected for interview. A maximum of ten households was selected from each street.
Specific instructions were given for the selection of respondents, as follows:
$ Streets with single story dwellings
(1) A house in the specified street was randomly selected as a starting point then alternate houses were selected from there on (eg. 10th, 12th, 14th etc.).
(2) Only one respondent was selected from each household.
$ Streets with high-rise buildings
(1) One building was randomly selected at the beginning of the street. The next building selected was in the middle of that street, and the last building at the end of the street. For the next street, the first building was approximately one third of the way up the street, and the next building was two thirds of the way up. In other words, the pattern for the selection of buildings from each street was different. However, no more than three high-rise buildings were selected per street.
(2) Only one household per floor was selected.
(3) Alternate floor selection was used. Respondents from the first building were selected from on 1st, 3rd, and 5th floors. The respondents from the second building were selected from 2nd, 4th and 6th floors.
(4) One respondent (over 18 years old) per household was interviewed;
(5) No more than five respondents per building were interviewed.
Data collection methods
The questionnaire was originally designed for self-administering. However, owing to the respondents limited experience in this type of research, the data was collected through person to person interviews. The procedures were as follows:
1. The interviewers asked the filtering questions to ensure the respondent met the pre-set inclusion criteria:
(a) 18years of age and over;
(b) No member of the family was working in the advertising industry, public relations, market research, the media and food or confectionary industry.
2. Respondents were then asked to fill in the questionnaire one section at a time. The interviewers demonstrated how to complete the questions via example at the beginning of each section of the questionnaire.
3. Where necessary, the interviewers read out every item and filled in the responses, particularly for those respondents with limited education.
Twenty interviewers were divided into four groups. Each group consisted of four interviewers and one supervisor/interviewer. One hour of special training was provided for the four supervisors. This special training session included matters such as the importance of sampling, how to select samples, and other duties of the supervisors. This followed by another three hours of training for the interviewers and supervisors. This training session dealt with explanation of the objectives of the research, output expectations, ethical issues, interviewing and administration procedures, recording of responses, and practice interviews.
A total of 801 useable questionnaires were collected.
Data processing and analysis
The SPSS-6.1 statistical system was used to process and analyse the data. To ensure accuracy of the data, only frequency and cross tabulations were produced in the first instance and then inspected for possible error.
In order to reduce and summarise the 36 statements used to measure values, principal component factor analysis with Varimax rotations was used. This derived 10 value factors which were named as:
Value Factor 1:BHedonism
Value Factor 2:BSelf-Centredness
Value Factor 3:BAFace" Saving
Value Factor 4:BSocial Harmony
Value Factor 5:BSocial Approval
Value Factor 6:BSocial Hierarchy
Value Factor 7:BFatalism
Value Factor 8:BTraditionalism
Value Factor 9:BUniversalism
Value Factor 10:BFilial Piety
Similarly, factor analysis was carried out for the 24 lifestyle items and 18 possession items and the factors are:
Lifestyle Factor 1:- Sporting Activities
Lifestyle Factor 2:- Social Activities
Lifestyle Factor 3:- Drinking and Passive Games
Lifestyle Factor 4:- Expensive Sporting Activities
Lifestyle Factor 5:- Inexpensive Activities
Lifestyle Factor 6:- Passive Entertainment
Possession Factor 1:- Family Luxury
Possession Factor 2:- Family Necessity
Possession Factor 3:- Personal Luxury
Possession Factor 4:- New Labour Saver
Possession Factor 5:- Labour Saver
Possession Factor 6:- Indulgent Goods
The first stage of this segmentation process was based on te Cluster Analysis of samples Values and Lifestyles variables. Inspection of a number of different cluster outputs and vertical icicle diagrams indicated that six clusters were adequate to represent the data. (Hair et al, 1998)
To examine the relationship between the six "Values and Lifestyles" clusters and possessions, one-way ANOVA was carried out using possession factor scores as dependent variables.
Finally, to establish the relationship between the six "Values and Lifestyles" clusters and social demographic variables, Chi-Square cross tabulation analysis was carried out. (Hair et al, 1998)
The profiles of the six "Value and Lifestyle" segments are listed below.
Segment 1BTraditionalists (25.9%)
Filial Piety is important; Uphold personal integrity; Maintain social harmony; Observe social hierarchy; Protect family.
Simple (eg. relax at home, watching TV and practice Tai Chi.)
Family Necessities (eg. television, sewing machine);
Labour Savers (eg. washing machine, pushbike).
Tend to be in the older age group (45 years and older);
Low income group (less than 3,000 RMB per month);
The majority are married; Highest proportion of retired people.
Segment 2BIdealists (21.0%)
Hedonistic; Personal integrity is important; Socially concerned; Possess universalism ideals; Tend to give "Face" to others.
Integrated (eg. playing computer games; reading books; playing chess; dine-out with family and friends; playing card games; go to Karaoke and dancing; playing team sport, table tennis, badminton and jogging.)
Personal Luxuries (eg. walkman, camera)
Tend to be young to middle aged group (18-44 years old);
Middle to high income (more than 1,600 RMB per month);
Professional and semi-skilled workers;
Segment 3BConformists (19.8%)
Need to protect "Face"; Hedonistic; Tend to be fatalistic; Seek social approval; Maintain social harmony; Observe social hierarchy.
Socially Active (eg. playing computer games; reading books; drinking alcohol; dine-out with family and friends; go to movies and theatre; watching sports; playing Ma Jiang and card games; go to Karaoke and dancing; playing tennis and ten-pin bowling.)
Family Luxuries (eg. air conditioner, microwave oven);
New Labour Savers (eg. clothes drier, dishwasher).
Tend to be middle aged or younger (mainly 30-40 years old);
Middle to high income (more than 1,600 RMB per month);
Slightly biased towards females;
Professional and semi-skilled workers.
Segment 4BIndividualists (14.5%)
Hedonistic; Materialistic; Self-Centred; Seek social approval.
Varied and active (eg. playing computer games; reading books; playing Ma Jiang and card games; going to Karaoke and dancing; jogging; playing tennis and team sport.)
Family Luxuries (eg. air conditioner, microwave oven);
Personal Luxuries (eg. walkman, camera).
Tend to be in younger age group (majority 29years or younger);
Low to middle income (1,601-6000 RMB);
Tend to be single and male;
Middle management, semi-skilled and unskilled workers.
Segment 5BStrivers (14.3%)
Filial Piety is important; Need to protect "Face"; Tend to be fatalistic; Patriarchal; Self-centred.
Staid (Very little activity, except may be practicing Tai Chi.)
Labour Savers (eg. washing machine, pushbike).
Tend to be in the middle-aged group (between 35 to 64 years);
Low income (Less than 3,000 RMB per month);
The majority are married;
Slightly biased towards females;
Semi-skilled and unkilled workers and retired.
Segment 6BSophisticates (4.4%)
Hedonistic; Materialistic; Patriarchal; Maintain social harmony; Observe social hierarchy.
Varied and Extremely Active (eg. playing computer games; reading books; watching TV: drinking alcohol; dine-out with family and friends; watching and participating in all sports; only group plays Golf.)
Family Luxuries (eg. air conditioner, microwave oven);
Personal Luxuries (eg. walkman, camera);
New Labour Savers (eg. clothes drier, dishwasher);
Indulgent Goods (eg. original artwork)
Tend to be middle aged (between 30-64 years old);
The highest income of all the groups;
Tend to be male;
Professional, Cadres and middle management.
VALUES AND LIFESTYLE SEGMENTS - BY FREQUENCY OF PRAWNS/LOBSTERS CONSUMPTION
Relationship between Segmentation and Food Consumption
In order to ascertain the relationship between the six "Value and Lifestyle" segments and food consumption behaviour, further Chi-Square cross tabulation analysis was carried out. Tables III to VIII below set out the results of the analysis.
The Chi-Square cross-tabulation analysis of the relationships between the six segments and foods consumption behaviour indicates that there were statistically significant differences in consumption behaviours between the consumers in the different segments. For example, the "Sophisticates" were likely to consume "Prawns and Lobsters" more frequently than the consumers in the other segments (See Table III); whilst "Individualists", "Superficialists", and "Sophisticates" were likely to consume chocolate more frequently than the other segments (See Table V).
Generally, the chi-square values showed that the differences between the segments consumption of "luxury" foods (such as prawns & lobsters, Ice Cream and chocolate) were more statistically significant than for less luxurious foods (such as beef and lamb). That is, there was a gradual reduction in the number of significant differences in consumption behaviours between the segments as the food categories moved from "luxury" food to less luxurious food. Indeed, it is possible to conclude that for non-luxury staple ("everyday") foods, there were no significant differences in consumption between the segments.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION
The values inventory for measuring value factors was constructed within the Chinese cultural context and the "value-orientation" framework (Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck, 1961) was the underpinning theory for the development of the values inventory. The "value-orientation" framework is based on the concept that there are certain basic but crucial values which are common to all human groups.
It appears that the value factors derived from this values inventory have covered the majority of value dimensions ascertained by other values researchers.
For example, Hofstedes (1984) four main value dimensions were covered by the resulting value factors from this values inventory. In this study, the "Social Hierarchy" and "Social Harmony" value factors represented Hofstedes "Power Distance" dimension. His "Uncertainty Avoidance" dimension was covered by the value factors such as "Fatalism", "Social Harmony" and "Social Approval". "Individualism", on the other hand, was matched by value factors such as "Self Centredness" and "Materialism". Hofstedes "MasculinityBFemininity" dimension was represented by "Patriarchy" and "Conservatism" value factors.
VALUES AND LIFESTYLE SEGMENTS - BY FREQUENCY OF ICE CREAM CONSUMPTION
VALUES AND LIFESTYLE SEGMENTS - BY FREQUENCY OF CHOCOLATE CONSUMPTION
VALUES AND LIFESTYLE SEGMENTS - BY FREQUENCY OF IMPORTED BISCUITS CONSUMPTION
VALUES AND LIFESTYLE SEGMENTS - BY FREQUENCY OF BEEF CONSUMPTION
VALUES AND LIFESTYLE SEGMENTS - BY FREQUENCY OF LAMB CONSUMPTION
Similarly, Schwartzs (1992) ten motivational types of values are also covered by the value-orientation factors established in this study.
Although the value-orientation inventory was designed to measure Chinese values but they also reflect the universalness of the majority of values. Thus, the resulting value factors did cover the basic common human values. However, the inventory also introduced some value factors that were specific to the Chinese culture (eg. the concept of "Face" saving, "Filial Piety").
In addition, for the first time, lifestyle has been measured on the respondents actual frequency of participation in various activities rather than derived lifestyle.
In broad terms, this is the first time that a "values and lifestyles" segmentation has been conducted in the PRC. It was based on a large (800) random sample of Beijings adult population. It is different from any of the previous psychographic segmentation processes. This is the only "values and lifestyles" segmentation study that was based on measuring consumers "values" and "lifestyles" directly. Correlating material possessions and demographics (such as income, profession and age) provided a more complete picture of the segments. In other words, this "values and lifestyles" segmentation study has similarities with the earlier ones, but the earlier studies did not truly measure consumers "values" and "lifestyles". They have either induced or deduced the consumers "values" and "lifestyles" via other constructs.
For example, "A Psychographic Analysis of New Zealand Consumers" by Lawson et al. (1991) was based on measuring personality and motivation. The main dimensions underlying VALS 2s segments are resources (such as income, material possessions and health) and self-orientation (such as individuals perception of themselves in society, their attitudes and activities). (Craig-Lees et al., 1995)
Indeed, this "values and lifestyle" segmentation process provides the marketers with a more comprehensive understanding of the consumers than demographics alone. For example, the respondents within the "Sophisticates" segment held hedonistic, materialistic and patriarchal values and they believed in maintaining social harmony and observing social hierarchy. These respondents led a very varied and extremely active lifestyle and only segment of the PRC population played golf. They tended to be middle aged male professionals with high income and owned many personal and family luxury possessions.
Furthermore, this study uses a combination of two segmenting approachesBAvalues and lifestyles" and "food consumption behaviour". It demonstrates that segmentation process would be of value for certain type of products only, such as luxury foods. Indeed, this study indicates that marketers need to determine where consumers perceive a particular category of product on the "luxury" and "non-luxury" continuum before deciding whether to carry out the segmentation process.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
An important and often crucial decision in research design is the extent of coverage of the target population. This study was based on a large sample (801 respondents) that was selected randomly and which appear to be representative of Beijings adult population. However, the results of this study cannot be projected across the entire Chinese adult population in the Peoples Republic of China (PRC). The PRC is a large country with many different geo-social and economic environments. To conduct a study that will represent the entire PRCs population, the data must be collected from different regions.
SUGGESTIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH
It is often desirable and necessary to build on a study and there are opportunities to expand on this research.
First of all, for comparative purposes and better understanding of PRC consumers this study needs to be replicated in the PRCs other major cities (such as, Shanghai, Canton) as well as in some rural regions, using the same measuring instrument.
Secondly, this study could be replicated among the Chinese living in "western developed" countries (eg. Australia, United States and some of the Western European countries) as well as developing countries (eg. India, Thailand and some of the Eastern European countries.). The reasons are:
1. to test the applicability of this "values and lifestyles" measuring instrument among the overseas Chinese;
2. to verify the research findings among the overseas Chinese.
3. to ascertain the degree of change in values, lifestyles and consumption behaviour among Chinese consumers due to different environmental influences.
Thirdly, to ascertain the universal applicability of the research finding that there was a gradual reduction in the number of significant differences in consumption behaviours between the segments as the food category moved from luxury to less luxurious food need to be verified for other types of product. In other words, this "values and lifestyles" segmentation process and the consumption behaviour could be replicated, but changing the product category such as clothing.
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