Ever wondered what LSMs are?
You frequently hear about them from marketers, who breathlessly and importantly proclaim - wearing their best DPSL (Debora Patta Stern Look) - which LSM market they target with their various products.
We thought you may be interested to know a) what LSMs are, and b) what your own LSM is, particularly since the television broadcasters all categorise you by your LSM in order to sell advertising slots to marketers who want your money.
LSM stands for Living Standards Measure.
Developed by the South African Advertising and Research Foundation (SAARF), LSM has become the most widely used segmentation tool in South Africa.
It is a means of segmenting the South African market that cuts across race, gender, age or any other variable used to categorise people. Instead, it groups people according to their living standards.
LSMs are calculated based on ownership of household assets and a few other requirements. There are 29 variables:
Hot running water
Flush toilet in house or on plot
Vacuum cleaner/floor polisher
Computer at home
Hi-fi or music center
Built-in kitchen sink
Home security service
Water in home or on stand
M-Net and/or DStv
1 or more motor vehicles
No domestic worker
No cellphone in household
Only 1 cellphone in household
None or only one radio
Living in a non-urban area outside Gauteng or the Western Cape
The LSMs range from LSM 1 (typically rural folks who don't have access to hot running water, much less DStv) to LSM 10 (typically someone who's well employed with a house and car).
Some key LSM points (as of September 2005):
- Just under two thirds of South Africa's adult population are in LSM 1-5. A little more than 1 in 10 are in LSM 9-10.
- Over half of all LSM 1-5 live in Kwazulu-Natal, Eastern Cape or Limpopo. For other LSM groups, over half live in Gauteng or the Western Cape.
- LSM 9-10 are still predominantly white (74%), and LSM 1-5 are almost exclusively black (95%).
- LSM 9-10 are mainly in professional and technical, clerical and sales, administrative and managerial professions. For LSM 1-5, the spread is more uniform with most in service, production and mining, and clerical and sales.
- One half of LSM 1-5 speak Zulu or Xhosa at home. For LSM 6-8, Afrikaans is the most prevalent (28%), and for LSM 9-10, 48% speak English at home, followed by Afrikaans at 43%.
We found a handy online calculator (see below) which lets you discover which LSM you are. Filling it out will give you a good idea of how the LSMs work.
As for what you can do with the information - not much. But if marketers aren't going to identify you by your name, you might as well know what LSM they call you behind your back.LSM Calculator