Profiling casts fresh light on households

By Maria Slade

Are you "Ambitious Entrepreneurs" or a "Manufacturing Clan"? Perhaps your household is better described as "Suits and Gumboots" or "Hatching Kiwis".

Whatever your lifestyle, the marketers have you pegged.

Research company Pacific Micromarketing has released its latest version of Mosaic, a population segmentation system that classifies every Kiwi home into one of 42 tribes.

It is more detailed than the Census that only classifies homes down to blocks of 50-100.

Called "geo-demographic profiling", it uses information such as the Census, property valuation data and attitudinal market research to put 1.6 million households into distinct categories.

Each type is carefully profiled. For example, this reporter's household is a "D10 Urban Blend" - described as "pockets of older homeowners blending with singles and young unmarried couples".

Areas in which such people live include Hillcrest and Mt Roskill in Auckland, Mt Maunganui, Miramar in Wellington and Wanaka.

We are a mix of young working renters and middle-aged homeowners who regularly use public transport to get to work.

We are well-qualified, use the internet only occasionally for finding general entertainment and downloading and like to record our favourite TV programmes.

The older ones among us are concerned about the pace of change and believe environmental threats are exaggerated by the media.

A wide range of businesses use Mosaic to better understand their customers and target their marketing material, Pacific Micromarketing manager Tony Bozzard said.

The global financial crisis and fall in property prices had affected the latest classifications. Many people had been reclassified from the wealthy categories to the middle classes.

Updated every three years, the latest results are likely to prompt businesses to modify their approaches.

Because homeowners had less equity in their properties banks would change the way they communicated with them, for instance. "It means they will need to reclassify their consumer databases to make more appropriate offers," said Bozzard.

Membership of what Mosaic defines as the middle class accounts for the biggest chunk of Kiwis - in the Family Growth, Working Fringe and Community Challenge categories.

Meanwhile, the Symbols of Success - the most affluent households in areas such as Auckland's Half Moon Bay, Remuera and Takapuna - had declined from 5.6 per cent of the population in 2008 to 3.7 per cent this year.

The regions where there had been the greatest shift from the more affluent categories were Canterbury and the Bay of Plenty.

It was a significant trend, said Bozzard. "We felt the figures were important [enough] to our users in New Zealand to bring them together and demonstrate the changes that had happened in the sectors."

Property prices and changes in government policy to discourage investment in rental properties were some of the factors behind it, the company believed.


Pierre Braganza was surprised at the accuracy of the description for his household.

The 43-year-old data analyst lives in Beach Haven on Auckland's North Shore with his wife Eva and their daughter Nadia, 5.

They were defined as E17 "Intermediate family"- described as "classic Kiwi families with school-aged children living in outer city suburbs and smaller towns".

These are couples who live in detached houses valued at around $339,000 and have an average annual household income of $57,000.

They are light readers, enjoy highly organised holidays and often buy takeaways.

"I'm quite surprised - it's quite accurate. We're married and in the age group and we live in a stand-alone house that's valued at around $330,000" he said.

Their internet and reading habits and holidays were also a close fit, he said.

They don't have a newspaper subscription and typically use the internet for banking or educational games for Nadia.

For holidays they usually opt for city breaks to places like Christchurch or Queenstown and "everything was always planned out".

The one area he disagreed with was the family's eating habits.

The Braganzas preferred home-cooked meals to takeaways.

"Usually, we cook the same food at home during the week.

"Maybe on a Friday we would eat out - we try to be be quite healthy."

- Abby Gillies


Life insurance company Sovereign wants its marketing to be targeted as specifically as possible. General manager of marketing and product David Drillien said Mosaic helps it get a 20 per cent better response rate to direct mail.

"We use Mosaic to help us pick different segments that are more likely to be receptive to buying life insurance," Drillien said.

Life insurance is a "debt and dependence" kind of product - people in the middle classes with a mortgage and a family are more likely to buy it.

- Maria Slade


Cameron Brewer says he's not the typical "executive vista" type, despite meeting the Mosaic criteria.

As far as Mosaic is concerned, the Auckland councillor is a city apartment-dweller with an average household income of $77,000. He's educated and does his grocery shopping online. He finds it hard to switch off from his job and is likely to meet friends at a cafe. "I do find it hard to switch off from my job," said Brewer. He said he didn't buy groceries online but does meet people at cafes.

- Maria Slade

- Herald on Sunday

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