INTRODUCTION The success and progress of any company is dependent on its market segmentation. Point of departure is the division of the market into realistic segments, which is then followed by development of strategies and tactics for reaching those categorized segments. Finally is the establishment and development of the consumer’s perception about the company. One can view market segmentation as the analysis of bunch markets in identifying sub-groups of consumers with similar needs and buying requirements (West, D., Ford, J., Ibrahim, E., 2006).
Market segments served by South African airline Industry The markets segment nature of not being homogeneous calls for the South African (SA) airline industry to identify the one that it can service efficiently. Kotler and Keller (2009) highlighted that marketers do not create segments however their task is to identify the segments and decide on which one to target. This can only be possible if the SA airlines understand consumer behavor. Understanding consumer behavior is critical for better marketing. In the SA airline industry there is a demand of good service and experience by air travelers in their flights. Therefore the demand of comfortable journey and good service are prioritized in SA airline industry. It becomes important for marketers to identify good experience as perceived by their air passengers as well as factors involved in passengers’ perceptions which makes them comfortable. More importantly in order for them to compete effectively target marketing is the ideal approach. The SA airline industry services are segmented into four ways: (i) Region (availability in all regions), (ii) Occupation (both business and service class), (iii) Density, (urban) and (iv)Benefits (comfort and time factors). They have further followed a scientific method in tasking market segmentation. This scientific process or approach alludes to the following:
“(i) Customers are to be grouped according to preferred products and service. (ii) Analyses of customers through summarizing demographic and lifestyle, (iii) the market’s due diligence in terms of growth potential and competition, (iv) market segment’s profitability, (v) marketing and pricing programs positioning activities, and (vi) marketing strategies and different positioning for exploration of the entire market potential”.
Various segments serviced by SA airlines currently Currently the focus is on segmenting consumer markets in which effective market segmentation is practiced. The industry is cautious about: the relevancy of the segment for the demands that are current, sizeable number of customers to be serviced while making a profit, accessibility of the segment in terms of distribution and marketing communication, measurable nature of the selected segment that estimates the number of customers, and the segment should generate a profit ( Panda, TK., 2007) . Furthermore the following segmentations are practiced: (i) Geographical segmentation in which the market is divided into geographical units or regions, city size (considering the population), density (whether the segment is rural; semi-urban; urban or metro), and climate (whether the segment conditions are hot; humid; or rainy). (ii) Demographic segmentation whereby the market is divided according to the age, gender, income, occupation, education, religion, race, nationality, generation and social size. Product and brand preference, wants and consumer needs are also associated with demographical segmentation (Kotler and Keller, 2009). (iii) Age and Life-Cycle, (iv) Psychographic segmentation which the science of understanding consumers using psychology and demographics. As well as (V) Behavioral segmentation where the consumers are divided into groups according to their knowledge and attitudes.
Other Segment/s that...