What's Your LSM?

Written by TVSA Team from the blog News on 30 May 2007
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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
Microwave oven
Flush toilet in house or on plot
Vacuum cleaner/floor polisher
Washing machine
Computer at home
Electric stove
TV set(s)
Tumble dryer
Telkom telephone
Hi-fi or music center
Built-in kitchen sink
Home security service
Deep freeze
Water in home or on stand
M-Net and/or DStv
Metropolitan dweller
Sewing machine
DVD player
House/cluster/town house
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


lady bee
28 Feb 2008 01:51

im a 10....not a big deal
wealth doesnt make a person it starts from a positive selfworth i think...
i found this website by
i see the replies are old too...whats up wiyh that..
admin better do something about it

28 Feb 2008 02:06

i'm 13 mfffffffmm not enough

28 Feb 2008 02:19

 Am 8, yah! It seems thetumble dryer, dishwasher and mnet/dstv carry more weight, LOL.

28 Feb 2008 02:20

Im 8.....not too bad (I think) coz vele ngiyaku LSM 20 la engilibangise khona in 2 years time.LOL

28 Feb 2008 02:21

I'm 6, what does it mean betunanas??

28 Feb 2008 02:24


28 Feb 2008 02:29

Oops: MEANT 9

28 Feb 2008 02:32

I'm a 5, uyabona I stay outside of Gauteng Poorest of the poor.    Donation will greatly appreciated

28 Feb 2008 02:38

i'm 15 its because i'm lazy

28 Feb 2008 02:46

Haibo, you guys....the highest score is 10. where do you get anything higher than that????

28 Feb 2008 02:53

lol !!!lol!!!i thought u can count as many as u have

28 Feb 2008 02:57

You guys are very funny on the link (LSM Calculator towards the end of the article)  and from ther click on whatever you own and your LSM will be calculated for you.

28 Feb 2008 03:05

i'm out of here 
enjoy the rest of the day guys

28 Feb 2008 03:16

I'm 9 ......poor me

Belz: Dont redo it coz then ull lie and say uve got DSTV when u KNOW ur stuck with Walker,Texas Ranger on etv :)  Awusandihlekisi ga ga ga ga ga

19 Jun 2009 16:28

goosh, 2 yrs later i am still nc nc

19 Jun 2009 16:45

what if you have an car and a house but you dont have money most of the time, are you still 10?

20 Jun 2009 02:23

1-point up! am a 9 now thanx to multichoice, LOL! Go tla loka Cande o ska wara

20 Jun 2009 07:40

LOL @ Katlegom....

21 Apr 2011 19:11

whoha!!! is its a 10. Eish but my o/d is killing me!!!. Crdit card!! hmmmmmm

27 Jun 2011 12:04

In a monetary system, democracy is an illusion perpetuated to give the populace a feeling of participation in a so-called democratic process.

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