The Sonar Geo-Demographic System

SONAR is a truly unique segmentation system that divides the population of Great Britain into 80 mutually exclusive groups according to the types of neighbourhood in which they live. By enhancing your customer and prospect records with SONAR, we can build up an accurate picture of your customer types and create profiles of your “best” customers. Click here for examples

To create SONAR, a number of different data sources were used and these include:

• Census data
• Land Registry data on house prices and sales activity
• Council Tax Bands
• Occupation
• Social Class
• Detached Properties
• Properties that are Owned Outright
• Large Properties
• Educational Qualifications
• House Prices

These sources were carefully examined and key variables that would provide maximum discrimination were chosen to build the classification. A number of different statistical techniques were tested and a huge number of different cluster solutions were built and compared before the final preferred solution was chosen. SONAR is the final result.

The 80 SONAR codes are organized into 6 broad lifestage groups, which are identified by the first character of the SONAR code:

• Group A – Young Singles
• Group B – Young Families
• Group C – Families
• Group D – Mature Families
• Group E – Empty Nesters
• Group F – Retired

These segments are also organized into 4 quartiles representing wealth. This is the second character of the three-character SONAR code.

• Group 1 – Affluent
• Group 2 – Comfortable
• Group 3 – Less Comfortable
• Group 4 – Struggling

The third character of the code is the overall wealth ranking of the respective cluster.

Thus, from the first two characters it is possible to identify the lifestage group and the wealth quartile. As an example, in the SONAR code A11 – “Metropolitan Young Professionals”. The A represents ‘Young Singles’, and the second digit is the wealth quartile 1 (the most affluent 25% of the country). The third digit is the wealth ranking of this cluster compared to the other clusters in the A1 grouping. Metropolitan Young Professionals has a wealth ranking of 2, which makes it the top A1 ranking, therefore the third digit is a 1, giving an overall segment code of A11. Another example would be SONAR code F44 – “Elderly Struggling Council Tenants” where F represents the elderly lifestage and the first 4 shows the least affluent 25%. The third 4 represents the wealth ranking within the F4 cluster – it is the fourth wealthiest rank.

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