In the field of marketing, demographics, opinion research, and social research in general, psychographic variables are any attributes relating to personality, values, attitudes, interests, or lifestyles. They are also called IAO variables (for Interests, Activities, and Opinions). They can be contrasted with demographic variables (such as age and gender), behavioral variables (such as usage rate or loyalty), and firmographic variables (such as industry, seniority and functional area).
Psychographics should not be confused with demographics. For example, historical generations are defined by psychographic variables like attitudes, personality formation, and cultural touchstones. The traditional definition of the "Baby Boom Generation" has been the subject of much criticism because it is based on demographic variables where it should be based on psychographic variables. While all other generations are defined by psychographic variables, the Boomer definition is based on a demographic variable: the fertility rates of its members' parents.
When a relatively complete profile of a person or group's psychographic make-up is constructed, this is called a "psychographic profile". Psychographic profiles are used in market segmentation as well as in advertising.
Some categories of psychographic factors used in market segmentation include:
- Activity, Interest, Opinion (AIOs)
Psychographics can also be seen as an equivalent of the concept of "culture" as used most commonly in national segmentation. "Psychographics is the study of personality, values, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles"