Lifestyle research covers several traditional academic disciplines, developing experience in sociology and social sciences in areas such as business, retail, marketing, consumer understanding, and health and social care. The wide variety of fields and disciplines that are interested in lifestyle research create complexity in a dynamic and rapidly evolving field of research. Polyhedral approaches are used, as well as a variety of academic and commercial conventions, but in general, lifestyle research focuses on subgroups within the general population-specific to age, occupation, religion, gender, medical conditions, or behaviors.
In terms of business studies, this division of the consumer market is an important use of lifestyle research. As the importance of consumers in determining the success of business processes increases, the segmentation of the lifestyle market has become increasingly important and the importance of continuous cultural change has been recognized. Ongoing social and cultural changes, both in purchasing dynamics, in the behavior of the group in question, and in lifestyle decision making, are highlighted not only by lifestyle research but also as an important source of information for strategic planning within the company and for the continued development of a successful business strategy.
The links between lifestyle research and successful marketing strategies are currently being discussed in academic literature, both from a management perspective and from a social science perspective. Developing a growing understanding of the diversity of research that contributes to this area of study is the key to the continued development of successful and strategic business development. In general, research in this area is mainly based on the concept of lifestyle and relates it to different aspects of a person’s or a group’s lifestyle. The main issues that can affect lifestyle are activities/behaviors, values and attitudes, individuals versus groups, group interaction, cohesion, recognition, and choice.
In this definition, lifestyle research can focus either on the impact of belonging to a particular group or on the impact of certain lifestyles, including areas such as lifestyle role in managing clinical conditions or the impact of a voluntary lifestyle on other areas of a person’s life. Commercially, lifestyle research is used to categorize consumers in terms of patterns of behavior, shopping, etc., and as a way of seeing lifestyle as a key factor in the generation of new products and services, etc. There is an important distinction between research trying to identify the causal relationships between lifestyle and the development of certain health and behavioral models and another lifestyle research model that assesses the impact of lifestyle change.
Each has important implications for companies, as it is directly linked to the development and promotion of goods and services. Evaluated lifestyles can be mandatory, and much of the research in this area is based on health or broader changes that reflect the development of society, the economy, and the workplace.
Answering these questions is unlikely to be straightforward and, in this example, the continued development of skills within the consumer group would play a contributing role, but this example illustrates the complexity of the cause, effect, and factors contributing to lifestyle research. Lifestyle retailing is another important area of study, with the promotion of a “lifestyle set” brand or a range of products or services that are part of many companies’ marketing strategies.