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Different socio-demographic factors affect how and why a customer chooses one product over the other. Maybe they do not have enough money to purchase your product? Or other cultural reasons are affecting their decisions. Understanding socio-demographics puts you ahead of the curve because you can tailor your product, brand, and messaging to align with your target market’s personalities and preferences. 

Socio-demographics are quantifiable factors which means you can measure them. The upside to this is you can rely on statistical information for decision-making. For instance, if you sent out an online survey to find out how many people have a bachelor's degree, you can quantify these responses for decision-making.

What Does Socio-Demographics Mean? 

Socio-demographics refer to a combination of social and demographic factors that define people in a specific group or population. In other words, when we talk about socio-demographics, we mean different social and demographic features help us know what members of a group have in common.

In general, organizations and researchers use various data collection methods, including interviews, surveys, and observation techniques, to gather socio-demographic data from a mapped out sample. By stringing this data correctly and interpreting it correctly, they can discover patterns in consumer preferences and behaviors. 

For instance, let’s say you are conducting market research for a new product. You send out a Formplus survey, and from the responses to socio-demographic questions, you see that many members of your target audience have a monthly income level of $1000 to $1620. This data clearly shows you that the market may not want to invest in high-ticket products because they cannot afford them. 

Pieces of information like the one in our sample come in handy for product pricing surveys and the like. Whether you're dealing with a significant research population or not, socio-demographics like income, level of education, gender, and marital status come in useful. 

Importance of Socio-Demographics in Surveys

  1. Socio-demographic questions give you a clear idea of who is filling your survey, even if such survey is anonymous. With socio-demographic data,  you can build up a buyer persona for specific use cases in your research. 
  2. Socio-demographic questions also help you to know if you're asking your survey to the right population. Before you administer a survey, you already have some sort of profile for your ideal respondents. You can evaluate respondents' answers to socio-demographic questions against the details in your ideal respondent profile to know if you are on the right track.
  3. Asking socio-demographic questions in surveys helps you to know if all the subgroups in your target audience are fairly represented in your data collection process. 
  4. Researchers depend on socio-demographic questions to help them categorize their audience into different sub-groups, especially in market research. You can place respondents with similar socio-demographics in the same category, so you have a better understanding of your target audience.
  5. It provides insights into how your target market makes purchasing decisions and finds specific information through various channels. 
  6. These questions help you to collect meaningful data from survey respondents for different research contexts. 

Socio-Demographic Examples 

Socio-demographics include age, education, religion, employment, marital status, income levels, migration background, race, and ethnicity. 

Age

Age is one of the most critical socio-demographic factors that influence buyers’ decisions. Typically, people within the same age group or category have shared experiences, affecting their preferences. For example, let’s take music genres; people born in the 60s are more likely to enjoy "old school" tunes, unlike Generation Z. 

Including age questions in your survey provides valuable data for market segmentation. Most people are not comfortable filling in their actual ages in surveys, so you need to request this information smartly. One way to do this is to use correlational questions or use the age group method to provide relevant age categories as answer options in your survey. 

Age

Depending on how specific you would like to be, you can use more/less narrow/broad categories. However, it would be best if you used non-overlapping equal categories.

Education

What does your potential customer’s level of education have to do with whether they buy a product or not? A lot! Knowing how educated your potential customers helps you define your brand messaging, product presentation and even pricing. 

A person’s level of education is sometimes an indicator of the kinds of jobs they do and how much they earn—in many communities, higher levels of education mean better employment opportunities and more income. Having this at the back of your mind, you can align your core messaging with the different realities resulting from your customers' educational backgrounds.  

For example, if your target market consists of high school students, mostly, you need to craft your marketing pitch in “high school speak”; that is, using words, analogies, and references that will appeal to them. You could consider getting high school brand ambassadors and growing a community on TikTok. 

Marital Status

Marriage is a lifelong commitment that can affect customer’s choices and decision-making significantly. It can mean relocating to a new city, changing jobs, taking up new habits, and adopting new products. Married people consult their customers now and again before buying a particular product or subscribing to a specific service.

If members of your target audience are married, then your marketing messages need to reflect this. For one, you should show them how your product meets their needs and caters to their partners in one way or the other.

Migration Background

Migrants have different lived experiences than non-immigrants, and this influences their choices to a large extent. For example, an African migrant may tilt towards brands that prioritize diversity and inclusion (D&I) and reflect this in their marketing messages. 

Gender

Gender isn’t as easy as calling someone masculine or feminine; it is a spectrum with several identities including queer, nonbinary, and transgender. Gender is a sensitive topic and how you approach it can make or mar your brand. It would be best if you ensured that your brand’s positioning and presentation do not exclude or discriminate against people of particular gender identities. 

Socio-Demographic Survey Question Examples  

Asking the right demographic questions will allow you to discover meaningful and actionable insights to assist you in making better business decisions. Here are some question samples for socio-demographic surveys. 

1. How old are you? 

  • Below 18
  • 18–25
  • 25–35
  • Above 35 

2. Which of these best describes your level of education? 

  • Basic level
  • Secondary level
  • Tertiary level
  • Others. (Please State)

3. How much do you spend on shopping every month? 

  • Less than $500
  • $500-$1000
  • $1000-$2000
  • More than $2000

4. Which of these best describes your gender identity? 

  • Male
  • Female
  • Non-binary
  • Genderqueer
  • I prefer not to say
  • Others. (Please state)

5. What is your marital status?

  • Single
  • Married
  • Divorced
  • Separated
  • Widowed

6. How often do you shop online? 

  • Everyday
  • Weekly
  • Monthly
  • Once in a while

7. Which of these activities best describes how you prefer to unwind? Choose all the options that apply. 

  • Read a book
  • See a movie
  • Visit some friends
  • Gardening
  • Baking
  • Others. (Please state)

8. What is your total net income for the year? 

  • Less than $10,000
  • $10,000–$15,000
  • $15,000–$20,000
  • More than $20,000

9. Where do you go shopping? Kindly choose all options that apply. 

  • Online
  • Supermarket
  • Social media stores

10. What is your highest level of education?

  • Primary school
  • High school
  • College
  • Post-graduate

11. What is your employment status?

  • Unemployed
  • Employed
  • Self-employed

Conclusion

Understanding socio-demographics and how it relates to your target audience empowers you to create products and services that they care about. However, something to note here is socio-demographics do not tell the complete customer story; you’ll need to go the extra mile to find out what motivates their purchasing decisions and how it relates to your brand, product, or service. 

This article discussed different types of socio-demographics, including age, education, and gender. There are various ways to gather information on socio-demographics in your target market, including surveys, interviews, and observation methods. Formplus allows you to create online surveys with different fields to help you gather responses in multiple formats.



      


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