How Market Segments Influence Brand Segments

According to BusinessDictionary.com, a market segment is “an identifiable group of individuals, families, firms or organizations sharing one or more characteristics or needs in an otherwise homogenous market.”

Market segments can help us understand the difference between brand segmentation. Market segments can be divided by any characteristic, and the most common characteristic is wealth. Market segments are split according to wealth into three categories in a middle-heavy, pyramid-like diagram starting at the top: premium, middle and price markets. The premium segment is at the top of the tier – this is the group that can afford the top tier of brand, otherwise known as the luxury brand. This group has more money than any of the other categories of people and is the smallest group.

The next segment down is the middle market segment. This group can afford nice things that the top group might turn their nose down on and that the last group aspires to afford. The middle market is mainly comprised of middle-class individuals and families, and this group can afford the middle tier of brand, otherwise known as mass brands. This group is the biggest of the three, therefore the brand that appeals to them is widely available to the masses, hence the term mass brand.

The last segment is the price market segment, which is comprised of a group that can’t afford luxury or mass brands. This group shops for value brands. Value brands appeal to people who don’t have much wealth and must choose products for their value (i.e. price) over their quality. This is not to say that this group can’t get quality products, but overall, they must relegate their purchases to generic, value brands.

Although the mass brand is the largest category of brand, it is starting to shrink due to the middle market being able to afford luxury brands and the value brands are using technology to make their quality as high as the mass brands, without charging higher prices that would catapult their cost into the mass brand category. For printing companies and many other industries, this means products need to be higher in quality, while staying low in price. This also means that industries can promote what would have been exclusive luxury brands to more than the top tier; they can start promoting luxury items to a bigger middle market audience.

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