Measuring customer needs and product usage


Can a product create sufficient experience, identification and thus loyalty? How can previous non-users be activated? We determine the needs and interests of users and non-users, their perception of brands and products in the market.


The objective of a Usage & Attitude study (U&A for short) is to gather the most comprehensive information possible on consumer needs and attitudes, as well as on knowledge and use of specific products and brands in a product category. In doing so, we not only look at the conventional use of a product, but also uncover any “creative misuse” recognizable only in the context of usage, i.e. an improvised use, which can provide information about alternative uses through to ideas for product improvements and new developments.


Usage & Attitude studies supplement the pure purchase data from a consumer panel by referring to the use of products and brands. They are used for market analysis, market segmentation and the identification of so-called “white spots,” market areas that have been little served to date.


U&A helps understand market mechanisms under which products are selected by consumers and clarifies the main influencing factors that determine the purchase of brands and products.


As baseline studies, these investigations provide valuable insights for product developments, for identifying niches and for developing targeted communication approaches.

Classic questions of a U&A

  • For which areas and purposes is a product or brand used?
  • Is a product/brand used in different ways
  • Is a product/brand used more or less often or typically by different consumer groups?
  • Is it used in conjunction with certain competitor brands or additional products, but not with certain others?

Relevant measuring criteria of a U&A

  • Brand/product awareness and advertising recall
  • Usage and frequency of use
  • Images/satisfaction with products/brands
  • Optimization wishes/trends from the consumer’s point of view

Qualitative and quantitative U&A studies

A qualitative approach is generally chosen when the motivations and backgrounds underlying the market mechanism and the purchase decision are to be illuminated in greater depth or – e.g. in a new market – are unknown. Here, it is particularly important to be able to understand the criteria for the purchase or use of certain products and brands in as differentiated a manner as possible and, to a certain extent, with an open mind.


In a quantitative U&A study, on the other hand, a representative and valid overview of consumer needs and attitudes, their product and brand knowledge is obtained and the relevant market segment is presented in a more descriptive way.


The information on the background of certain usage and purchasing behavior is usually not as deep and exhaustive as in a qualitative approach. However, the advantage of a quantitative U&A lies in the representative number base, which allows cluster analyses and segmentations and accordingly provides more information about the structure and composition of the target groups.


In order to take both qualitative and quantitative aspects into account, the classic approach is to conduct a Usage & Attitude study in two steps:


  1. Group discussions or workshops to generate qualitative insights and hypotheses
  2. Personal interviews (on or offline) with a structured questionnaire for validation with a representative sample


MWResearch has many years of experience in Usage & Attitude studies in various industries and product fields. Mostly, these studies are conducted in conjunction with SWOT analyses, segmentations and multivariate methods such as mappings (MDS, multidimensional scaling), factor and regression analyses.


A U&A study is a valuable tool for understanding the appeal of a product and the sales potential within a target group in a market.