ReferenceUSA Part II – Consumers/Lifestyle

The ReferenceUSA database provides us with two useful tools: the Company Database, which I briefly reviewed in my last post, and the Consumer/Lifestyles Database, which I will look at today.

While the ReferenceUSA Company Database contains over 14 million company records, their Consumer Database claims 262,625,721 records of individuals within the U.S. (The current U.S. population is 315 million so I guess a few people – perhaps the privately held? – are flying under the radar.)

The first thing everyone does in the Consumers / Lifestyles database is look to see if they are listed. That being accomplished, the most obvious use for the Consumer / Lifestyles database is to create a list of consumers that meet your search criteria, and in this database you can search by  a person’s name, phone number, area code, or a variety of geographic terms, such as county, neighborhood, or a map-based polygon. If your prospective consumers would be part of the shrinking middle class, you could narrow your search by estimated home value or household income, and if you have some lifestyle criteria you would like to add into the search there is a list of 19 broad classes, each with more detailed subclasses.
It should be noted that not all people have their lifestyle interests identified. For example, looking at my own record, it’s a clean slate. I apparently have no interests. Thus, because I have no recorded interests, my record will not turn up on any lifestyle searches. (Which is just the way I like it.) So the results of a lifestyle search will probably be smaller than would be an accurate count. In addition, for those people that ReferenceUSA does have information on, they rate lifestyle interests for individuals on a 0-9 scale, but when you search on a lifestyle, you only get back people that scored six or better.

Because the lifestyle search returns a limited result, you would probably want to use it on a large geographic area. For example, a search on the Fulton neighborhood of Minneapolis, (5,591 records), with an estimated household income of $30,000 to $79,999, and found 376 records. Adding the lifestyle option of “sports – baseball”, gave back just 2 records. Marking all sports options came back with just 20 results, which seems pretty small in a neighborhood of 5,591 records. But when I change the geographic criteria from the Fulton neighborhood to the Minneapolis St. Paul Metro area, my results jump up to 85,000.

It might be good to keep in mind that these lifestyle search criteria are linked together with an “or”. For example, if, under purchase behavior, you select “senior-oriented products” and also “Internet Purchaser” you are getting combined results, and not a list of people who purchase senior products on the net. However, when you download this list, you can download all the ratings for the fields, so you could, in a spreadsheet, filter for those high in both categories.

The Hill Library also subscribes to the “Consumer Snapshot” portion of the database, which is a nice tool for visualizing data.  For this, let’s say we are looking for individuals who purchase senior orient products in the 651 area code. Those two factors result in 10578 hits.

Using the “Consumer Snapshot” feature, you can add a number of other, more personal, criteria into the mix, such as age, sex, marital status, or type of occupation. Because this data is a bit more sensitive than other criteria, the database does not provide you with a list of people that meet those criteria, but it does allow you to display a chart or a table illustrating those records, and I find this very useful when paired with some geographic criteria. In this example, for people in the 651 area code who purchase senior products, I wanted to look at where these people in the 50 – 65 year old range lived – thinking that they might be purchasing products for aged parents, and I had this data displayed by five digit zip code. The resulting table then clearly displays the zip codes that are highest in the different age ranges selected, the zip codes I might want to focus on. Mousing over the chart gives you a display of the zip code and the count. This information can also be downloaded in a spreadsheet, for those who like to crunch the numbers.
The ReferenceUSA database provides us with access to some great information on companies along with some useful new ways of constructing our searches. On top of that, we now have access to a great new database of consumer information. The search interfaces are very userfriendly – stop in some time and try it!


Email this to someoneShare on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn0Share on Google+0


Patrons with accessibility needs please access our ground floor elevator entrance via Kellogg Ave at the back of the building. Please ring the doorbell on the right hand side of door and a Hill staff member will assist you. If you have questions or concerns please call 651.265.5500. We look forward to having you visit.