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A unique global research program

SIGMA SENSOR Research

"Disruptive Trends" are generally known as a phenomena where customers unexpectedly, or a lot faster than expected, accept certain offers, while all of a sudden completely ignoring the ones which should actually “sell themselves”.
Due to these kinds of unpredictable behavior of their target groups quite a few businesses have been pushed to the edge of their existence. But were the customers changing their minds, the change of attitude with long time users really destiny and not predictable?
Or was it the case, that one simply did not look at the bigger picture, that one was not concerned what was going on in the world?
Consumer behavior is subject to specific trends. These trends start at different places in the world and then begin to migrate. Those who aren’t aware of these trends, aren't goign to be prepared for them.

Disruptive Trends: Destiny or predictable?

There is still no guarantee for success, and one still can’t predict consumer behavior with absolute certainty. But the risk of a misinterpretation of future developments over a time period of 10 or 12 years can be greatly reduced. Provided one is willing to keep an eye on, compare and analyze attitudes and behaviors of consumers beyond one’s own immediate environment. Even if one’s own realm of operation is limited to Germany, one can only protect oneself today from undesirable consumer actions, if one is continually informs oneself about what is going on in the rest of the world. Not only because the world has supposedly become a village, the customers have become more mobile, and global exchange of information has become institutionalized, but because “trends” travel, meaning, that trends appear somewhere and only over a period of time are spread throughout the globe.
Three examples from the not to distant past:
  • Online auctions were already a mass phenomena before they changed the European market,
  • the micro car trend started in Japan and now is considerably growing in Europe as well.
  • The GSM technology, on the other hand, first established itself in Europe, before it reached the American market.

Especially when it comes to the development of new technologies the global approach to view consumer behavior in combination with value structures has proven to be indispensable. Since, on an international level, the same Milieus react to innovation, one can precisely observe whether and at what pace global developments spread.

The evolution of trends requires an “appropriate environment”.

Trends don’t just start anywhere or simply within “society”, but normally need a certain socio-cultural environment, - meaning they start in specific milieus, from which they then spread.
To know in which milieu the dynamics of a society originate makes it a lot easier for marketing to establish oneself in the respective milieu as a manufacturer or owner of a make, in order to profit from this kind of dynamism. It is not always the same milieu which shapes or drives a society. Yet, it’s showing that in respect to the new elites that it is they who are the driving force in all life worlds, which we associate with the “postmodern paradigm”:
  • in Europe the members of the Upper Liberal Segment, the Postmodern Segment and the Progressive Modern Mainstream, are responsible for most.
  • in the US the trendsetters are the „Affluent Progressives“ and the „Emancipated Navigators“, as well as the „Aspiring Acquirers“, - a social climber milieu comprised of young members of ethnic minorty groups who want to realize the "American Dream".
  • in Japan, the SIGMA Milieus« which are usually the first ones to be on the “inside of things” are called: „Modan Rich“, „Shin-Shimin-ha“ und „ Young Tokai-ha“
Postmodern Life Worlds in Germany, the US und Japan

Early warning system SIGMA GlobalSensor

Businesses, which operate on a global scale, need such a reliable early warning system, in order to either adjust their offers, or introduce new products and services to stay competitive. A large number of companies, especially from the international automotive industry, like the BMW Group, smart, DaimlerChrysler, GM, Honda, Nissan-Renault, PSA (Peugeot-Citroen), Toyota or the VW Company, today use the SIGMA Milieus« when it come to identifying new trends and in turn initiate the development of new products and position new models.
The linking of SIGMA Milieus« to specific market behavior through international comparison leads to comparatively reliable prognosis about consumer behavior for a time span of up to 10 years, and in turn allows for custom tailored product- and market positioning with little divergence loss.
SIGMA Milieus«Etabliertes Milieu:
Upper Conservatives see themselves as the safekeepers of cultural and moral values and traditions. Their high social status, and their perception of themselves...
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Articles and ReportsP&A Marketing story: The global target group- and trend system of the BMW group presented by Dirk Arnold, Managing director of the BMW market- and trend research and Carsten Ascheberg, in regards to planning & analysis. Read the German text
Everyday life aestheticsGetting a feel for the SIGMA Milieus in the “House of the Contemporary”: Documenting various different styles of interior design in Germany together with SZ magazine. Read more