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Fashion (FASN)

Fashion Design & Technology

Liaison Librarian

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Sigrid Kargut

Researching: Your Customer (Demographics and Psycho-demographics)

"Show me the numbers!"

You may have already have an idea about who is your customer or target market, where they live, and why they might buy your product. But what evidence do you have? You will need to do some research to find facts and data to support, or possibly tweak, your ideas. You need demographic and psycho(demo)graphic information.

Demographics - Who is buying? - You will want to collect some facts about age, gender, education, or population group that your customer might belong to (e.g. Baby Boomer? Generation X? Millennials or Generation Y? Tweens?) etc.

Psychographics - What people buy? Why they buy? You will also want to collect some information about the personality behind the facts, or psychographic information about your customer. What are their values, ethics, attitudes, taste, hobbies, interests? What is their lifestyle? What characteristics will help predict what or why people behave or purchase in a certain way. Does your customer belong to a population group or generational group (as above, Baby Boomer? General X? Millennials of Generation Y? Tweens?)

Geographics - Where does your customer live? You will need to research geographic information such as how many of your customers live within your geographic area (local, regional, national, worldwide)

Governments are a good source of statistical information at national, provincial/state, or local levels. Statistics Canada, for example, "produces statistics that help Canadians better understand their country—its population, resources, economy, society and culture" so it would be likely be a great source to consult.

Associations may also gather information about their members, populations they serve, or target markets.

Library books and databases may also contain the information you need.


Start here!:

FP Markets - Canadian Demographics - This book is a great place to start! Contains population data and characteristics (e.g. income levels, education levels) for Canada, each province, and major cities. Also provides psycho-demographic descriptions and numbers! (Please note this annual volume ceased in 2012 but it is still a great place to start!)


Statistics Canada :
"Statistics Canada produces statistics that help Canadians better understand their country—its population, resources, economy, society and culture."



Check local government sites as well (e.g. Vancouver, Richmond, Surrey, etc.) for information about the people that live and work in particular communities. A simple way to zero in on information is to do a web search for the city/community with terms such as "demographics" or "population"  or "statistics".

For example: Richmond statistics

See also our Library Guide for Statistics

Search for articles using the term "psychographics"  or "characteristics" as an added descriptor, or search on a group name (e.g. Seniors, Baby Boomers, Generation X). You may find that group name definitions are "fluid". Have a look at these sites and compare! From WJS Generations X, Y, Z and others; From Knoema Population by age and generation; From Pew Research Millennials Overtake BabyBoomers...

Start with articles indexes like:

Researching: Industry Information

There are a variety of sources to consult for information about an industry (industry overviews, outlook, trends). These will include library databases and government sites.

Start your searches with keywords that describe the industry you are researching, but be on the look out for mention of NAICs codes!

Look up your NAICs code here

Start with these library databases:

Journals (print and online)

Performance Apparel Markets 
Print and Online access available. For print copies please ask for it at the Checkout Desk at Richmond Campus

Canadian Apparel Insight 

B Magazine

Also try Associations and organizations

Look for Company Websites

Is the Company you're researching Public? or Private?

  • Public - look for annual reports and investor relations publications
  • Private - look for newspaper and magazine articles

Other Sources

Cite Your Sources

The Design Programs at KPU use APA style to document sources.

KPU APA Citation Guide


When writing a research paper, you must always cite any sources that you have consulted. You must acknowledge when you are using the ideas, information, arguments, phrases or any other intellectual or creative output by another person. Not to do so is referred to as plagiarism.  Plagiarism is a serious offense that carries with it severe academic consequences, but that can largely be avoided by always citing your resources.

We cite:

  • to distinguish previous from new thought
  • to give credit to the person whose ideas you used
  • to respect intellectual property
  • to help a reader locate the source(s) you used
  • to show that you have investigated your topic well
  • to avoid plagiarism

Common examples of plagiarism:

  • Copying sentences, paragraphs, data or visuals without citing their source
  • Quoting material without proper use of quotation marks (even if otherwise cited appropriately)
  • Paraphrasing or summarizing information from a source without acknowledgement;
  • Paying someone for writing the assignment
  • Listing a source in the bibliography/reference list that was not cited in the assignment

Find out more about Plagiarism