Developing a Market Segmentation Process Based on the Salient Correlates of Exercise Behaviour

Paul Morrissey

Research output: Types of ThesisDoctoral Thesis


Study Rationale and Purpose: An examination of exercise correlate literature reveals multi-faceted influences on physical activity, with motivation being a primary driver of exercise behaviour. However, this understanding of exercise correlates has not translated into more effective exercise interventions. An area that has received inadequate attention in the exercise domain is market segmentation. The primary goal of this research is to create a market segmentation process that integrates salient exercise correlates to produce a differentiated, clearly outlined, and actionable segment outcome. Research Approach: Preliminary discussion group interviews confirmed the importance of motivational variables in determining exercise behaviour, as well as highlighting numerous other potential exercise correlates. The differentiated Exercise Motivations Inventory 2 (EMI-2) is selected as the core basis for segmentation, while the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) emerges as an effective means of capturing salient exercise correlates. A preliminary belief elicitation study establishes the modal salient beliefs of the target audience for inclusion in the final survey. The problematic young adult in tertiary education market is targeted and 775 students completed the survey integrating the EMI-2 scale and TPB beliefs, while 480 of these respondents took part in the behavioural follow-up survey four weeks later. Findings: Two-step cluster analysis reveals a four-segment optimal outcome. The segmentation procedure using the EMI-2 constructs illustrates reasonably strong viability. Differentiation in motivational constructs across segments is pronounced and presents a segment solution that is of practical significance. Segment validity and stability outcomes are reasonably strong, but not without potential issues. Demographic, behavioural, and belief based comparisons between segments are used to enhance understanding and profiling of the segments. Strong support emerges for the profiling worth of gender and recent exercise status. Individual TPB behavioural and normative beliefs also emerge as valuable profiling agents, although control beliefs exhibit minimal differentiation across segments. Summated behavioural, normative, and control belief correlations with exercise behaviour illustrate differences across segments in line with expectations. Practical and Academic Contributions: The core contribution is the development of a segmentation process that is unique in its integration of salient exercise behaviour correlates. This facilitates focused and customised exercise interventions. The segmentation process also has the capacity to be employed in many behavioural domains. It contributes as the first academic study to use the EMI-2 scale as the basis for segmentation, and to employ elicited TPB beliefs in a segment profiling capacity. Study Limitations and Future Directions: The segment outcome emerged in a solution that demonstrates weak evidence of cluster structure, necessitating further validation of the segments. Future studies should incorporate formal measures of self-determination to strengthen the theoretical underpinning of the identified segments. The process of segment profiling using salient TPB needs to be repeated in future studies to further validate the approach. Application of the proposed segmentation process in action research is also advisable. Finally, the segmentation process should be tested in other behavioural domains.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Publication statusUnpublished - 2013


  • Market segmentation


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