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Consumer Data

Marketers need both deep customer understanding and fresh customer insights that are based on fact not simple intuition or very small samples. VALS grounds its work in consumer data. Accurate research and insightful analysis make VALS consultants' recommendations actionable.

Custom Surveys

Creating the rich and textured consumer profiles or personas that VALS is known for is a two-step process. The first step is to identify consumers' VALS types or mindsets in order to understand motivations and psychological traits. Step two is to discover the specific consumer behaviors and additional attitudes and demographics critical to accomplishing specific business goals.

These two steps occur simultaneously in survey research. The VALS Survey questionnaire in use to identify consumers' VALS types integrates into client-specific surveys as well as into large syndicated research surveys such as MRI's Survey of the American Consumer or Scarborough's local-market research studies. VALS types, behaviors, additional demographics and attitudes are collected at the same time. VALS consultants work with clients throughout the process.

Focus Groups

In focus groups, the steps are distinct; the VALS Survey questionnaire is in use in the screening process to recruit focus-group participants so that each group is made up of just one VALS type. Attitudes, behaviors, and preferences turn up during the focus-group discussions. Benefits of integrating VALS into screeners include:

  • Reducing the "noise" of traditional focus groups—the conflicting views—of traditional focus groups that make it difficult to summarize and make sense of the findings in a conclusive way. Groups of people with the same VALS type or mindset are more likely to share similar views.
  • Reducing the likelihood that one or two people will either dominate or be intimidated in the focus group discussions. Individuals with the same VALS-type tend to feel comfortable with each other and are therefore more open in expressing their views.
  • Increasing the user's ability to understand the focus group findings beyond the specific issues explored in the focus groups. The 20 years of VALS experience in consumer psychology and behavior enables interpretation of focus-group findings in a larger, more meaningful life context than would otherwise be possible.

Data Partners


GfK MRI collects data about consumer demographics, lifestyle activities, product purchase, brand use, and exposure to all forms of advertising-supported media. VALS™ partners with MRI by including the VALS™ Survey questionnaire in the Survey of the American Consumer. Beginning with Wave 43 in fall 2000, SBI can analyze all data by VALS type. VALS™/MRI data are available to companies that are current subscribers of both MRI and VALS and have paid MRI's access fee.


The MacroMonitor is the largest comprehensive retail financial-services database and marketing program that has measured, analyzed, and interpreted consumer attitudes, behaviors, and motivations continuously since 1978. Produced by SBI's Consumer Financial Decisions, VALS has been an integral component of the MacroMonitor since 1990, allowing subscribers to both programs to understand the motivations underlying consumer choice and attitudes about finances.

Scarborough Research

Scarborough Research surveys adults in 80 U.S. markets to produce the most comprehensive local-market studies available. The annual studies measure lifestyles, shopping patterns, media behaviors, and demographics. Local television stations and newspapers that subscribe to Scarborough can choose to access VALS™ data for their market, garnering insights into viewing-audience dynamics and providing advertisers with valuable insight about retail shopping behavior.

SRI International

SRI International is one of the world's leading independent research and technology-development organizations. Founded as the Stanford Research Institute in 1946, SRI is committed to discovering and applying science and technology. SRI is well known for its innovations in information technology, telecommunications, engineering, pharmaceuticals, chemistry, physics, and the public-policy areas of education, health, and economic development. In addition to conducting contract R&D, SRI licenses its technologies, forms strategic partnerships, and creates spin-off companies. SRI's decades of achievements include the invention of the computer mouse, the birth of the Internet, and development of the HDTV standard for the United States.