Updated on April 11, 2024
Article byJyotsna Suthar
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

Demographics Meaning

Demographics refers to a statistical survey or study of individuals or populations describing their characteristics. Its main purpose is to help businesses understand the trends and background of the audience. 


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Demographics data provides an overview of the population. It helps analyze the effects of the labor supply in the market. Also, businesses can understand the cultural and social trends prevailing in the industry. In addition, it helps the government in making vital monetary policies and tax policies. However, this statistical data might not apply to everything. 

Key Takeaways

  • Demographics is a tool to collect information about individuals through statistical surveys. Companies commonly use it as a marketing tool to find the target audience. 
  • It helps in determining the social and cultural trends within individual groups. Also, it helps the government in making fiscal and monetary policies. 
  • Various demographics include age, gender, occupation, status, location, and race. 
  • Since psychographics deal with an individual’s likes, dislikes, and preferences, population data differs slightly from demographics.   

Demographics In Marketing Explained

Demographics allow companies to understand their target audience after surveying a certain population. For example, companies understand the audience’s age, gender, race, occupation, and origin. Therefore, they consider it an important marketing tool for advertising. 

The history of demographics maps dates back to ancient civilizations, including Greece, Rome, China, and India. In the medieval age, many European thinkers like William of Conches, Bartholomew of Lucca, William of Auvergne, and others contributed to this field. Later, in 1755, the founding father of the United States, Benjamin Franklin, wrote a demographic essay on “Observations Concerning the Increase of Mankind, Peopling of Countries, etc. It stated the population growth and its cons. Later, many other demographers also proposed their work. Some of them were Belgian scholars like Achille Guillard, Adolphe Quetelet, Louis-Adolphe Bertillon, Wilhelm Lexis, and others. 

Although it has various uses, it holds strong value in marketing. It helps businesses and policymakers understand their target customers and market size. As a demographics map depict the target audience, they can focus more on the value customers. It increases the customer’s lifetime value. By analyzing the customers, brands can work effectively on their image. Social media demographic tools are now available to small businesses to help them understand their audience. For example, a jewelry business on Instagram or Facebook can learn about its customers’ age, gender, and origin through back-end analytics.

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Let us look at the types of demographics data that determine the characteristics of the customers:

Types Of Demographics

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#1 – Age

Some companies provide goods and services that cater to different age groups as it helps in understanding the customer’s needs. Thus, age demographics allow companies to segregate their audience based on age groups. For example, the consumer-good entity Procter and Gamble (P&G) sells different products ranging from haircare and personal hygiene and might go for age demographics. 

#2 – Gender

Like age, even gender plays an important role in determining customer demographics. In the above example, P&G sells a wide range of products. The sales of their brand “Gillette” will purely depend on the number of males. Likewise, “Olay” will have a majority of female buyers. 

#3 – Occupation

Many companies refer to occupation statistics to understand their audience. It helps them to reach a specific group of individuals that will benefit them. For example, Kodak (a camera manufacturing company) will use surveys to count the number of photographers and videographers.   

#4 – Location Or Region

Geographic location is a vital element of statistical surveys. It also affects the customer’s preference and buying needs. Companies use these surveys to understand the number of customers in a particular region. For example, the tatami mats manufacturer, Japan Vilene company, sells floor mats to earthquake-prone areas with wooden houses. 

#5 – Race

Firms do consider race statistics to stand against racism. And then use it as a tactic to promote their brand. For example, Unilever’s brand “Dove” tried to fight racism through its real-beauty campaign. However, racists felt it was wrong because they depicted a black woman turning into a white. 

#6 – Status 

Family, personal, or employment status helps the firm determine its target audience. For example, an insurance company will use these statistical surveys to target married couples and families to cater to their needs.


#1 – Labor Market

As population statistics fluctuate, the supply of labor also behaves the same. Also, the population aging faster leads to a decline in the labor force. And this affects the long-run unemployment rate as older people work less and other groups are actively involved. For example, as the mortality rate increases, the workforce increases. 

#2 – Economic Growth 

As the age statistics get affected, it also hinders the economy’s productivity. A rise in any element (age, gender, or occupation) will influence the economy’s growth. For example, the nuclear attacks during World War II reduced labor. Thus, leading to a decline in the economy of Japan. 

#3 – Monetary Policies 

Demographics can influence the government’s policies. For example, as the older age groups tend to hold more money, the younger groups tend to borrow. And if the statistics show an increase in any group, the government can bring necessary changes in the policies. 


Let us look at the examples of demographics to comprehend the concept better:

Example #1

Suppose Nike (a shoe manufacturer) wants to launch a new product by mid-2023. But, they want to make a winter shoe this time. So, first, they will conduct regional surveys to count the number of customers in cold regions. Next, they will survey the number of athletes and events happening in winter. Then, based on the findings, they will manufacture a pair of shoes that protects human feet during winter. It provides the perfect grip and protection in and out of the shoe. Unless Nike did not perform such a survey, it would not have been easy to develop such a strategy.  

Example #2

During a recent interview, Bose’s chief marketer Jim Mollica stated that Bose (speaker and headphone producer) is changing its strategy from demographics to the demand cycle. According to Mollica, customer trends are growing daily, and so is their demand. Although customer demographics is a useful tool, more focus must be on the desire and demand cycle. In an interview with Forbes, author Susan Golden states that businesses need to use age data in their strategies. This shift will bring a $22 trillion opportunity for companies. 

Demographics vs Psychographics

Although demographics and psychographics are types of statistical surveys, they do differ. For example, while the former considers age, gender, and occupation as key metrics, the latter depends on the personal attributes of a person. Also, the data for the former is easily available, whereas it differs for the latter. However, at times, the latter can clash with the former. For instance, two people will have similar choices, but their gender and age will differ. 

MeaningStatistical population survey based on age, gender, occupation, and others.This survey considers people’s interests, likes/dislikes, and preferences.
StrengthFocuses more on the generic behavior of individualsFocuses more on inherent qualities that make people different.
AvailabilityEasy to obtainNeeds extensive research
StructureSlightly difficultHere, it helps to build an in-depth customer profile.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are demographics in business?

Statistical surveys help businesses determine their ideal target audience. For example, they use gender, occupation, status, or age elements to build business strategies. 

How do demographics affect society?

A change in population data can affect the productivity and growth of society. Also, the interest rates, investment, and living standards get affected. However, the major influence is the unemployment rate in the long run. 

Are demographics qualitative or quantitative?

It is typically quantitative as it involves mostly numbers. For example, while considering income level, a change in income can affect the overall survey. In contrast, psychographics is qualitative, as the outcome depends on the individual’s behavior. For example, if a person’s interests change, the psychographics differs. 

How do demographics affect healthcare and nursing practice?

They have a major influence on the healthcare sector. For example, if the age of the population fastens, it can affect healthcare services. For example, older age groups will need more nursing services. 

This article has been a guide to Demographics and its meaning. Here, we explain its types, effects, examples, and comparison with psychographics. You can also go through our recommended articles on corporate finance –

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