Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Free Market Research: Geographic Segmentation (Census)

Before you chose a selling location, you’re going to want evaluate that area to see if it has a population to support your business. This tutorial is an introduction to obtaining free geographic information based on age. I will talk about geographic income characteristics in another post.

We’ve already created a consumer profile for our company and are still researching their information. So far we’ve identified their population, average income and average spending on apparel. California Fashions wants to start by selling its clothing to boutiques in California.

What is the estimated population of California Fashions' consumers who reside in California?

There are many ways to find this information using government websites. Ill talk about the five that I use.The first is by using the State and county QuickFacts search:

This search tool shows you frequently requested data, such as summary estimates for population and race.You can get overall information for the U.S by clicking on the USA Quickfacts tab. California Fashions needs information for the state of California, so select that option. 

Once you select a state, you’ll be directed to another page where you can filter by county and city.


The second way is by using Easy Stats. If you compare this search tool to the state and county quick facts one, you’ll notice that it has additional topics. For example, education and job. our third search. This is called the Census Data Mapper and it shows county based data summaries.

Your fourth option is to use American Fact Finder (How to use, see POST). Select the “GEOGRAPHIES” tab and chose your selections. 

I use American Fact Finder pretty often but mostly when I have to. This is because I don’t always see what I want on the front page and I’m not gonna navigate through like 3 thousand documents. Agree right?

The first three search options mainly show summary data so that’s what I use them for. But when I need more detailed data sets I use either American fact finder or I use my navigation skills. My 5th and preferred method is to actually navigate the census website. 

Go to CENSUS.GOV and follow this path:
Topics > Population > Population Estimates >Data

And here is the page with the information that we are looking for. If you don’t have a target age bracket, sex or race you can click on the links for Total population. California Fashions needs very specific information and so we want the links under Total population.     

What is the estimated population of Gen Y Females in California? 

Our level of geography is states. Click on V2012 for Latest Available Complete Vintage.

The State characteristics you want are "Median Age and Age by Sex". Select one of the first two links, which over one you need.California Fashions, needs “SELECTED AGE GROUPS by SEX”.

Select desired geography and download that information into Excel. 

1. Highlight desired age group(s)
2. Scroll over to the latest 2012 estimates.
3. Add up the total females in your target age bracket

4. And we’ve got the answer to our latest question

5.3 million Generation Y Females reside in California.

My tutorials are for entrepreneurs who seek free market research for their business plan, marketing plan or personal use. I am just like you! So I hope you like this blog.

Research topics are mostly related to fashion / retail and wholesale trade but can also be applied to other industries as well. I get the majority of my information from government websites and it can get confusing for first timers. SoOo, I'll try to explain things as simple as I can. If I've confused you, Just ask!

My tutorials primarily show you where to find things, so if you need additional information on items discussed, please review the Q&A section of each blog post.


In the last tutorial we:
Used information from to identify income and spending habits of our target market.

In this tutorial:
Geographic Segmentation (Location Research)

In the next tutorial
Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas

Video Description
General Population Research 
Our company name is California Fashions (Made up for tutorials), a fashion design company specializing in apparel for women. Our target consumers are females ages 16-34 (Generation Y Females). There are roughly 41.7 million females in this age range.
General Y Females make an average of $47,800 annually, with $489 typical spent on apparel and services.
Geographic segmentation (Location Research)

5.3 million Generation Y Females reside in California.