New Report Paints Detailed Portrait of U.S. Residential Energy Consumers -- and What Motivates Them

SGCC's Consumer Pulse and Market Segmentation Study finds five distinct segments based on nationally representative survey of beliefs, behaviors, demographics

Nov 13, 2011, 00:01 ET from Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative

ATLANTA, Nov. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Residential U.S. electric consumers fall into five distinct segments that influence their willingness to participate in energy management programs, according to the SGCC's Consumer Pulse and Market Segmentation Study, a national research project conducted for the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative (SGCC) by Market Strategies International.

Unlike other segmentation studies to date, SGCC's Consumer Pulse and Market Segmentation Study is a nationally representative telephone survey that has been used to create a richer, more actionable segmentation framework. The study spent more than twenty minutes per phone call, delving deeply into beliefs, attitudes, behaviors and demographics. The results were then combined with specific energy data to create meaningful insight into consumer lifestyles, attitudes, values, motivations and communication preferences.

SGCC's Consumer Pulse and Market Segmentation Study was conducted by telephone from August 15 to September 6, 2011. A national RDD (random digit dialed) landline and cell phone sample was used. To qualify, a respondent had to be over the age of 18 and a head of household. Targeted RDD sample was also used when needed to assure appropriate representation of key ethnic and age groups, and the data were weighted by age, ethnicity, gender and region to align with national population parameters. The margin of error for the total sample size of 1,200 is +/- 3.2 percentage points at a confidence level of 95%.

The study presents five distinct profiles of U.S. residential electric consumers:

  • Concerned Greens (31%) are most protective of the environment and supportive of smart grid initiatives. They are highly likely to participate in energy management programs.
  • Young America (23%) doesn't know much about smart grid but is interested in learning about its potential for environmental benefits and cost savings.
  • Easy Street (20%) consumers have the highest income of any segment and are reluctant to change their personal behaviors.
  • DIY & Save (16%) consumers are frugal and have a do-it-yourself lifestyle. Their biggest concern is providing for their family, not global environmental issues.
  • Traditionals (11%)* are set in their ways and do not see the need for energy reform.

"Utilities that take the time to understand each segment's characteristics, attitudes, values and motivations can engage their consumers successfully and provide the most appealing smart grid-enabled products and services," said Patty Durand, SGCC executive director. "The results from this study have the power to change the relationship between utilities and their customers. The day of the faceless 'rate payer' gives way to a portrait of a real human being with a unique personality and distinct characteristics."

SGCC's Consumer Pulse and Market Segmentation Study marks the first of three waves of research to help utilities understand consumer perspectives toward Smart Grid issues. Download a report summary on SGCC's website. For the detailed report, contact In addition, SGCC is providing its members with a set of 12 survey questions that they can use to classify their own customers into the SGCC segments with high accuracy.

About SGCC

The SGCC is a consumer-focused nonprofit organization aiming to promote the understanding and benefits of modernized electrical systems among all stakeholders in the United States. Membership is open to all consumer and environmental advocates, technology vendors, research scientists and electric utilities for sharing in research, best practices and collaborative efforts of the group. Learn more at

About Market Strategies International

Market Strategies International is a market research consultancy with deep expertise in the energy industry, among others.

* Segments total 101% due to rounding.

Media Contact:

Nancy Broe
The McDonnell Group, Inc.

SOURCE Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative