Demographics and Customer Surveys

What is demographics?

The science of demography is essentially the study of population statistics. A "population" does not necessarily mean everyone in the land. A population can be everyone who attends a soccer match (a crowd population) or everyone who is a member of a sport association ( a member population). The word "population" can also be used when referring to everyone who has responded to a survey. The total number of survey respondents is the "sample" population. Sample population is an important concept in statistics. When researchers want to predict or find out the opinion of a whole population (for example - all voters in Australia) they do not need to survey everyone. Instead researchers will survey a sample population that may be only a few hundred or perhaps a thousand people. Provided the sample population is representative of the whole population, then the results of the survey on the sample population can be inferred to the whole population.

Segmentation of the Population

When researching the views and opinions of people, it is very useful to analyse the answers they give according to attributes that they possess. For example, if we were researching the views of participants in a sport program, we might want to know whether any differences of opinion exist between young and older participants, or perhaps between males and females. If we can find some differences in opinion between young and older participants, then this information may be very useful.

In marketing, the analysis of a population according to attributes possesed is called Market Segmentation. This is important because different Segments behave differently.

In fact there are many ways to segment a population. The following table provides some examples:

A population can be
categorised by:
Place of Residence
Country of Birth
Level of income
Marital status
Level of education
Family Size
Language spoken at home
Note: There are many other possibilities

When conducting market research it is extremely important to therefore collect some demographic data about the people being surveyed. This necessitates adding important questions to any survey form.

If you are considering implementing a marketing survey, it is important to consider that you must strike a balance between asking too few and too many questions, especially when asking for personal data. There is a definite need to collect some demographic data but do not go overboard!

Example of using demographics

The following example becomes possible when a marketing survey form has a question relating to age (of the respondent). See Rule 3 about collecting DISCREET data.

A survey of 300 people attending a soccer match provided the following information:

Let's see the whole results table fom the survey:

Attendance at Home Matches

Total Respondents to Survey = 300

Under 15

15 - 24


35 - 44

45 - 54

55 and over


Persons attending 5 or more home matches in last season
















The combination of questions that collect demographic data, as above, and other useful information about opinions, needs and habits, allows the Marketer to develop an understanding of how different segments of the population behave. This understanding can be put to good use in designing and selling new products and services to meet the needs of people.


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