Consumer Self-Selection and Segments of One: The Growing Role of Consumers in Segmentation

Stewart, David W.
January 1991
Advances in Consumer Research;1991, Vol. 18 Issue 1, p179
Academic Journal
Variance in consumer behavior is increasing and the source of this variance is increasingly under the control of the consumer. This increase in variance and the degree of control exercised by consumers poses new challenges for segmentation research. Increasingly, consumers are segmenting themselves through a process of self-selection guided by idiosyncratic purposes. The present paper suggests that segmentation strategies should begin with identification of the purposes that consumers seek to achieve through the purchase and use of products. These purposes ultimately lead consumers to place themselves in particular situations in which they seek specific benefits. This view is consistent with control theories of human behavior and recent work on consumer self-selection. The paper offers an approach to segmentation that constructs segments from building blocks defined by the individual consumer in a specific usage context.


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