Megan Chronis unpacks data from SAARF AMPS, RAMS and TAMS to paint a picture of South Africa’s LSM 7-10 consumers.
They enjoy the best standards of living, earn the highest salaries, consume the most media and are most likely to appear as the target audience on many a marketing plan. Meet the top third of South African society, the folk whose high standard of living sets the standard – LSM 7-10.
Over the past decade, the LSM 7-10 supergroup has undergone substantial change. As a whole, this segment of the population has grown by almost 60%, its ranks swelling from 6 394 million in AMPS 2001 to 12 206 million by the end of 2011 (AMPS Dec 2011, Jan-Dec 2011). Back in 2001, LSM 7-10 accounted for 22% of all adults aged 16+ (AMPS 2001). Now, 34.9% of adults (aged 15+) have a standard of living enjoyed only on the higher rungs of the LSM ladder.
And with its change in size, there has also been a change in its makeup. In particular, since AMPS 2001, LSM 7-10 has become younger and its racial profile has shifted markedly.
HOW OLD ARE THEY?
A greater proportion of young people now make up this supergroup. The 15-to-24 age bracket in LSM 7-10 has grown by 26% over the past decade (bearing in mind that AMPS 2001 measured those aged 16-24, while AMPS Dec 2011 measured 15-24). The 25-34 age group has declined by 11%, while LSM 7-10’s 35-49 age bracket is up 4%, with the 50+ bracket declining by 5%.
Despite the growth of the 15-to-24 age bracket however, LSM 7-10 remains a supergroup skewed towards the older set, with proportionately more people aged 35+ than is seen in the general population. Intuitively, this stands to reason, considering that living standards generally rise as people acquire possessions and have better access to services over the course of their lives.
WHAT IS THEIR RACE?
The most marked demographic change to LSM 7-10 over the past decade has been in its racial makeup. There are 149% more black people in the upper LSMs today than there were 10 years ago, while whites have declined by 45%, Indians by 20% and coloureds by 3%.
Today, there are 5 789-million blacks in this supergroup, 3 923-million whites, 1 681-million coloureds and 812 000 Indians.
WHERE DO THEY LIVE?
Proportionately, Gauteng and the Western Cape are the dominant LSM 7-10 provinces. Just less than 39% of LSM 7-10 lives in Gauteng, where almost six out of 10 people fall into this LSM supergroup. In the Western Cape you’ll find a further 18.5% of the LSM 7-10 supergroup, which makes up 63.6% of the population down south. While 16.7% of LSM 7-10s live in KwaZulu-Natal, they’re less prevalent, accounting for only 28.6% of the province’s population.
In comparison to the three biggest provinces (Gauteng, Western Cape, KZN), Limpopo’s population consists of only 11.5% of LSM 7-10, and the Eastern Cape’s of 20.2%.
WHAT IS THEIR WORK STATUS?
The majority of LSM 7-10s are employed, either full-time or part-time (46.5%). Just over half of all South Africa’s full-time employees come from this LSM supergroup, as do 27.2% of all part-time workers. Just over half of all those who are self-employed, are in LSM 7-10.
WHAT’S THEIR INCOME?
On top of their high standard of living, the vast majority of LSM 7-10s also come from households with a higher average monthly income than your average South African household. A third of all LSM 7-10 households have a monthly income of over R20 000. Indeed, 96.9% of all households in this income bracket fall into LSM 7-10, although wealth is concentrated towards the top end of this supergroup. Only 9.4% of households in LSM 7 have an income of over R20 000 a month at their disposal, compared to 22.1% of
LSM 8, 43.8% of LSM 9 and 77% of LSM 10. (It is worth noting however, that LSM 7 accounts for 32.9% of the entire LSM 7-10 supergroup, making up in numbers what it might lack on the bottom line.)
A further 26.6% of households in this supergroup have a monthly household income of between R11 000 and R19 999, with another 16.8% bringing in between R8 000 and R10 999 a month.
HOW EDUCATED ARE THEY?
LSM 7-10s are twice as likely to have technikon or post-matric qualifications than the nation as a whole, and are two-and-a-half times more likely to have a university degree. Almost 90% of all university graduates are in LSM 7-10, with 7.5% of this LSM supergroup holding degrees. When it comes to technikon, 12.1% of LSM 7-10 has a technikon degree or diploma, with this group accounting for 75.9% of all tech grads.
Tertiary education however, is more the preserve of the topmost LSM groups. For example, only 2.7% of LSM 7s have a university degree, compared to 17.3% of those in LSM 10.
WHO ARE THEY?
The majority of LSM 7-10 falls into SAARF’s ‘At-Home Singles’ lifestage group (24.2%), with ‘Young Families’ (19.3%) and ‘Mature Couples’ (12.9%) the next two biggest lifestage segments.
The biggest attitudinal group in LSM 7-10 is ‘Rooted’, the dominant attitude type of 27.8% of the upper LSMs. People from this attitudinal group are concerned about social issues such as crime (taking a dim view of criminal activity and worrying about their personal safety), the environment, education, employment, gender roles and poverty. They’re group-orientated, concerned about their health, and value language, country, family and religion. In general, they’re older, and have the highest level of employment among the SAARF Attitude groups (despite this, however, they’re very cautious about spending money).
The ‘Established’ group (which is the top end – LSM 6-10 – of the ‘Distants’ attitudinal group) accounts for 20% of LSM 7-10. The Establisheds are marginalised from mainstream society, hold old-fashioned attitudes about gender, are materialistic and brand/status-conscious, and are keen shoppers who often exhibit a high degree of financial indiscretion. They’re often lonely and so seek out entertainment.
Finally, 18.7% of LSM 7-10s are classified as ‘Global Citizens’, who, unlike their Established counterparts, are at the forefront of change. They’re pro gender equality, embrace technology and innovation, and like to try new things. While status conscious, being original and different are also key. They love sport and enjoy shopping and entertainment. Full-time employment is above average, with most Global Citizens being fortunate enough to be in jobs that interest them and that are more than just a way to pay the bills.
Three SAARF Lifestyle groups come up highest for LSM 7-10: 17.4% are ‘Good Living’ (who enjoy the finer things in life, are the best educated, have a high incidence of full-time employment, and are married or living together), 16.4% are ‘Avid Readers’ (who keep a low profile, are mature/elderly, metro dwellers, with reading a major feature of their lifestyle) and 14.9% are ‘Cell Sophisticates’ (who are younger, mainly metro, use cellphones extensively, and are well-educated).
HOW DO I REACH THEM?
IMAGE: Metro FM is LSM 7-10 top radio station.
This story was first published in the November 2012 issue of The Media magazine.