Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Marketing Q&A : SEC Classification

Marketing Practice Reader Ajith Pillai asks a very important question
"SEC Classification is not exhaustive…how will you include a housewife..who is not working…but has some required education…what about households where there are two earning members…whose classification will you take…one who is a graduate sales man and the wife is a graduate shop owner… how can the classification of a house hold be done in this case…? I think its High time to Shift to LSM classification in india
Ajith is very true and SEC classification cannot be fully depended as a tool to understand Indian consumers. The main drawback of SEC is that it considers only two parameters , education and earnings. The classification also takes into account the education and earnings of the chief wage earner. So in the case of the example sited by Ajith, the classification fails.

Having said that , there is no alternative to SEC classification right now. There are experts who say that SEC 's failure is noted only on the top 10% of the classification. ie SEC A1 & A2 while the SEC still relevant in other sections where education and earnings of the CWE is a good indicator.

Ajith also mentions the relevance of using LSM. LSM stands for Living Standard Measurement. This is a proprietary tool used by HUL for better understanding of Indian consumers. LSM divides the Indian consumer class into 18 clusters based on 25 parameters. But since it is proprietary , I am not sure whether everyone will be able to use this classification.

It is time for Indian marketers to add more tools for understanding Indian market. The sheer size of the Indian market calls for a huge investment in research . Indian marketers still have some inhibitions in investing in such kind of researches.

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SEC Classification