Values And Lifestyles (VALS) Research

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Definition: Values And Lifestyles (VALS) Research

The VALS Research, based on a customer's values and lifestyles, refers to a market research tool developed by social scientist Arnold Mitchell and his colleagues at SRI International in order to study motivation behind consumer purchase decisions. Values And Lifestyles (VALS) has been extensively used for psychographic segmentation. VALS was developed from the theoretical base of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and the concept of social character.

When market segmentation based on customer psychology has to be done, Values And Lifestyles (VALS) is one of the research techniques to carry out psychographic segmentation.

According to VALS research, there are two concepts that are critical for understanding the target consumers: primary motivation (horizontal dimension in the framework) and resources (vertical dimension). These two aspects decide what can be expected of a consumer in a marketplace. Using VALS provides an immense amount of information about the consumers. VALS2 was also developed by SRI.

VALS research provides the companies with:

• Rich customized consumer profiles

• Distinctive communication styles that would suit their target segment

• A fresh perspective- what exactly do the target consumers want!

Creating the consumer personas is defined by the process shown in the flowchart.

VALS includes three primary motivations that explain consumer attitude:

1. Ideals

2. Achievement

3. Self-expression.

A person's tendency to consume goes beyond age, income, gender or education. Certain psychological traits like energy, intellectualism, self-confidence in conjunction with key demographics determine an individual's resources.

Types of Values And Lifestyles (VALS)

Determined on this basis, there are 8 VALS types which are used to study a customer:

1. Innovators: successful, sophisticated, abundant resources, exhibit all three primary motivations

2. Experiencers: young, enthusiastic, impulse buyers

3. Thinkers: mature, satisfied, well-educated, seek out information in decision making process

4. Achievers: goal-oriented lifestyle, deep commitment to family and career

5. Believers: conservative, conventional, follow established codes

6. Strivers: fun-loving, trendy, seek approval of others, money defines success

7. Makers: enough energy and skill to carry out their projects themselves

8. Survivors: narrowly-focused lives, few resources


The above image shows the 8 types of VALS based on the Values And Lifestyles framework.

Hence, this concludes the definition of Values And Lifestyles (VALS) Research along with its overview.

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