n International Retail and Marketing Review - Generational cohort segmentation : magic or myth?




The purpose of this study was to determine if generational theory can be used as a marketing segmentation tool in South Africa by empirically investigating whether the differences in personal values and psychographics of the two generations most active in the South African marketplace today, namely Boomers and Generation Xers, are large enough to indicate that these are heterogeneous groups.

The findings of the study indicate that there are only a few significant differences between Boomers and Xers with regard to their personal values and psychographics (activities, interests and opinions) regarding brands, advertising or shopping behaviour. The analysis further indicated significantly low associations between generational cohort / age and personal values or activities, interests and opinions regarding brands, advertising or shopping behaviour.
Generational theory is based on the premise that different generational cohorts have significant formative values that influence their psychographic profile and behaviour. The findings place a question mark over the applicability of generational theory in the South African marketplace and its usefulness as a marketing segmentation tool.
The characteristics and significant differences found between the groups indicated that generational theory should be applied with caution in a marketing context.


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