South African Consumer Stereotypes Challenged by New Study

18 May 2007

CAPE TOWN: South Africa is a society and marketplace in a dynamic state of flux, avers Cape Town-based Consumer Insight Agency. It defines South Africans as a "complex bunch who refuse to lie down and be neatly boxed into stereotypical consumer groupings".

Avers CIA director Wendy Cochrane: "A fresh lens needs to be used to understand our vibrant, multifaceted and fluid social and cultural milieu".

And CIA claims to have come up with exactly that - the NOW Project, a collection of twelve qualitative studies that homes-in on a selected set of characters who, claims Cochrane, respectively represent a classic South African 'archetype':

  1. Loxion Dreamer
    Young with ambitious dreams, frustrated by the everyday township ('loxion') reality.

  2. Township Mama
    The rock of the family and backbone of the mass-market economy.

  3. Model C Go-Getter
    'Cheese-boys and girls', starting out with a good education; ambitious but responsible.

  4. Wildchild
    Out of school, life has opened up, no responsibilities, living for now.

  5. New Age Yuppie
    Young professionals, young families; responsible, self-actualising, optimistic; information-agers (predominantly white but increasingly mixed race, tertiary education).

  6. New Money
    Driven to succeed. Social climbers, living the urban material dream.

  7. Polished Diamond
    Access to new money and lots of it. Symbols of wealth increasingly understated; home and family important.

  8. Jones's
    Secure families and empty-nesters, invested well and financially secure; consolidating, life is full and rich.

  9. When-We
    Enduring middle class, average Joe, old school values. Often frustrated with the new South Africa, feeling increasingly vulnerable but gaaning aan "boer maak 'n plan"

  10. Blue Collar Dad
    Hard working and 'responsible' dad, employed, works for a boss. Life isn't easy, friends are therapy.

  11. Disillusioned Have-Not
    'Shacklands'. Seeking 'better' urban life but trapped in poverty. Once believed in the dream, now losing hope. Living off social grants and piecework.

  12. Gogo
    Experienced and wise; traditional values increasingly challenged and frustrated by change in younger generation. Never retiring - ongoing struggle to support extended family and community.
But, stresses the study, nothing is engraved in stone: "As quickly as we define and segment our consumers, they seem to shift; leading us to conclude that boxing consumers indefinitely is a dangerously flawed exercise."

For further information on the NOW Project click here.

Data sourced from (South Africa); additional content by WARC staff