Everyday we make hundreds of tiny decisions. We chose the black shirt over the grey one. We chose Hot chocolate or a coffee. We make most of these choices without much of a second thought, but in reality there’s a whole load of cultural, personal and time-related motivations behind each and every choice we make. This is valuable information to brands who have been trying to unpick the big question of why we make certain purchases. Let’s dig deeper into a single choice you might make today and identify all of the different elements which may influence our decision, and how brands can tap into that data. For this example we are going to use a pretty simple example. You’re thirsty…so you want to buy a drink. 

Time of day 

Perhaps one of the most obvious factors which influences our choice of drink is the time of day. In the morning we are more likely to choose a caffeinated drink to give us energy. Tea and coffee being the obvious choices but even some fruit drinks like orange juice have a stronger association with being a ‘morning drink’ than say blackcurrant drink. At lunch time we are more likely to choose a soft drink, often something heavily flavoured to compliment our meal and then as we head into the evening we’re more likely to choose alcoholic beverages.  



Location can massively affect the choices available to us. If you worked in the city centre, when choosing coffee you may have 10+ different brands to choose with, each with 20+ options. Whereas if you worked on a trading estate your only option for coffee may be a local food truck. Distance will also play a part in how much you purchase. If your nearest shop was very close, you may make more frequent trips with a smaller amount of purchases vs a more distant shop which may mean less visits but a higher spend.  



Even where we might know all of the above, the purchasing habits of one consumer may change significantly depending on their occasion. At the end of the month they are more likely to treat themselves or their purchase may be different if they are buying with one set of friends vs another.  

Many retailers have a huge amount of information on what people buy, what their shopping basket is like, how it changes, and what products are bought at the same time. But this basket information doesn’t give any clues as to the ‘why’… the motivations behind many purchases. 


Unlocking each occasion 

In order to better understand different occasions, it’s important that brands look at the needs, motivations and pain points of specific purchasing scenarios. 

Needs are an especially important lens as they are fairly stable. Throughout our twenty years of experience we have seen all manner of different things disrupt markets and categories, but the needs of consumers stay relatively consistent. They are the most culturally-stable dimension to segment on and are ideal for global strategic segmentations. BUT they are not the only factor you might need to consider… 


Demographics & attitudes 

Variables such as age, sex, income, education, marital status etc will all influence your decision at some level. We know for example that speaking in broad terms, men tend to prefer red wine where women tend to prefer rose. People who are married are much more likely to choose a healthy drink vs those that are single. Working professionals are more likely to buy an energy drink at 3pm where young people are more likely to buy them in the evening. Low-earners are more likely to buy a larger sized drink that represents better value and can be used in the future, where high-earners will buy one drink for one occasion. 

Even where two people may have exactly the same need; buying alcohol in order to connect with friends, their differences in demographics, attitudes and category behaviour may result in completely different purchases. This is why in order to get a more complete picture; we will often layer consumer segmentation with Occasion-based segmentation to create demand spaces. 


Demand Spaces 

When we combine Market and Occasion-based segmentation we often create 7 or 8 consumer segments and 10 different occasions. You can imagine that having 80 individual combination quickly becomes confusing and unusable. To overcome this complexity, historically companies have grouped together cells in this matrix, to create territories, or ‘demand spaces’. In the past these groupings have been created in internal workshops using a combination of intuition, common sense and a bit of data. But mainly the first two! 

That’s why Bonamy Finch have created a tool which allows our clients to build data-driven demand spaces, that have the maximum differentiation possible across a range of key factors. You can then experiment with these groups in real-time, to come up with a solution that works both from a data perspective, but also from a business point of view. 

If your brand is looking to find out more about specific moments that lead to purchases, the people behind those purchases, and how to target them… why not find out more about our tool for demand spaces?