Redefining the Power of Consumer Segments

Himalee Madurasinghe, MRSSL Immediate Past President and Kantar Sri Lanka CEO.

It is evident that the social, economic and the cultural fabric is changing in Sri Lanka and the consumer is rapidly changing. The gradual upgradation in the standard of living, the evolving urban and rural consumer mindset and increasing purchasing power have given rise to a new breed of Sri Lankan consumer. These under currents weigh on the question of how marketers can seize the unique opportunities offered by the emergence of these new consumer groups.

For the last two decades, consumer segments were broadly classified by the education and occupation of the chief wage earner (the individual who makes the largest contribution to the running of the household). This method of definition was limited in reflecting the lifestyle changes that have taken place among consumers over the years.

The most impactful factors of the change we are seeing can be attributed to the access to tertiary education, fast growing involvement with digitalization, the innovative mindset of the millennials leading them to explore entrepreneurial efforts as opposed to traditional livelihoods. Furthermore, rising income and access to services and infrastructure continue to have a notable impact on consumer lifestyles.

Creating a reliable means to bringing in the facets of consumer lifestyle decisions to consumer segmentation has been a challenge. Consumer behaviour is also dependent on the household’s social position within a population which is a key influencer when making choices based on taste and values towards life in general. The variables that define the socio-economic status of a household vary from country to country.

The proposed classification is multi-dimensional; capturing ownership of durables along with the existing two parameters of education and occupation of the chief wage earner. Adding durable ownership to the existing system establishes a socio aspect of measurement. This new classification is an evolved approach that focuses towards a socio-economics perspective in ascertaining people’s propensity to consume.

The Market Research Society of Sri Lanka (MRSSL) embarked on this challenging project several years ago. The challenge was to ensure that the new classification is simpler for data collection purposes yet discerning in how consumers are portrayed.

The new classification will deliver a more realistic reflection of the existing socio-economic status of the consumer, thus helping marketers to formulate more focused strategies through a richer understanding of consumer segments and the consumption power that our consumers hold.

On August 13, 2019, the new SEC classification will be launched. Visit our website for updates.


Market Research Society of Sri Lanka (MRSSL) is a professional membership body, dedicated to uplifting the knowledge and standards of Market Research in Sri Lanka. The Society is managed by a committee drawn from the leading research agencies.