Understanding Consumers and Communities

Knowing who and where your consumers are is crucial for effective targeting and involves intelligent customer analysis and consumer segmentation.

Acorn is used to understand consumers' lifestyle, behaviour and attitudes, together with the needs of communities and is important to both private sector and public service organisations. It is used to analyse customers, identify profitable prospects, evaluate local markets and focus on the specific needs of each catchment and neighbourhood.

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  • Find the Acorn type of any UK postcode
  • Investigate any Acorn type from the list
  • Pick an Acorn type by lifestyle characteristics
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Acorn segments postcodes and neighbourhoods into 6 Categories, 18 Groups and 62 types, three of which are not private households. By analysing significant social factors and population behaviour, it provides precise information and in-depth understanding of the different types of people. Household Acorn segments households to provide more refined targeting.

How is acorn built?

CACI has created a unique and radically different approach to geodemographics. This takes advantage of the new data environment created by government policies on Open Data.

To keep Acorn fully up to date we take advantage of new data immediately, as it becomes available.

Check out our Acorn infographic to see how we are using this data to describe communities.

Show our Acorn methodology

Our Acorn Methodology

CACI has pioneered a radical departure from the traditional... Read more

CACI has pioneered a radical departure from the traditional approach to building geodemographic segmentations.

The traditional approach is to build the structure of the segmentation and assign postcodes or households to the types by always using the same data and the same single algorithm.

Our new approach to geodemographics rejects a 'one size fits all' approach in favour of using the best method appropriate to the circumstances. We use different data and statistical models, if we can demonstrate the results are better. This makes Acorn more accurate.

Our alternatives were to reject all information that was not perfect across the whole of the UK, or to create different algorithms according to the available data. We chose to make use of all data that gave a measurably better Acorn.

More details of our methodologies can be found in our Acorn technical download.

Show what data goes into Acorn

What data goes into Acorn?

Acorn takes advantage of the new data environment... Read more

Acorn takes advantage of the new data environment created by the Public Data Group, Open Data and similar initiatives. We have followed the lead of the ONS Beyond 2011 project to investigate how to replace the census with alternative sources of information.

The advantage of this approach is the use of public registers and large private sector permissioned databases to build up comprehensive data for households and families across the country. Data such as house type, housing tenure, family structure and age, have been the core of all geodemographic segmentations. Having this information for nearly every household provides a base for Acorn and Household Acorn.

Many of the inputs are government registers or data sets available as Open Data, through freedom of information, or purchased under licence. CACI has also made extensive use of data from the private sector, for example housing adverts placed on a number of online property portals.

Where useful information is not readily available we have compiled the data ourselves.

Details of the data inputs into Acorn can be found in our Acorn videos.

Show how is Acorn kept up to date

How is Acorn kept up to date?

People and neighbourhoods change, people move house and we track... Read more

People and neighbourhoods change, people move house and we track these changes so that the Acorn code is an accurate description. CACI's new approach to geodemographics builds in future-proofing because it allows Acorn to use new data even if it was not part of the original segmentation.

Show how Acorn monitors changing consumer behaviour

How Acorn monitors changing consumer behaviour

CACI has relationships with a variety of research... Read more

CACI has relationships with a variety of research organisations specialising in shopping, incomes, assets, leisure activity, online behaviour, crime, health and attitudes.

We know when an Acorn type is making more use of social media, has more debt than before, or is spending money in different ways on different goods.

Specialist acorns

We also recognise the specialist needs of some business sectors and public policy areas and have developed segmentations covering, for example, health, retail and leisure activities as well as Acorn for countries outside the UK.

We provide bespoke segmentations to meet the specific needs of clients. my.Acorn provides client specific segmentations where the client holds substantial information on their customers at individual, household and/or postcode level.

These segmentations range from using client data to providing a more relevant set of Acorn descriptions, to fully bespoke my.Acorn segmentations. For example, using a client's customer transaction and service data by channel, a segmentation of customers can be built and overlaid onto prospects showing purchasing potential and channel preferences.

my.Acorn can be supplied with an interactive website for use on an organisation's intranet.

Useful downloads

We have a range of useful documents you may wish to download and read at your leisure or keep for future reference.