Census statistics can help businesses to understand customers and answer important decisions including, depending on the type of commercial activity. Where are the best places for new retail outlets? What products and services should be offered in stores? Where is the best place to advertise? Which areas and people should be surveyed?

Major business decisions invariably carry an element of risk, so anything that increases confidence and minimises risk is to be welcomed. Census statistics can inform growth plans and provide management, board and investors with reliable evidence and the confidence to enable them to make those important decisions. The data can also help to identify where your business might benefit from more detailed market research to address specific business development issues. Examples include:

Supermarkets use census statistics

Census statistics are used by businesses like Sainsbury’s to make decisions about where to locate superstores, which products to sell, and how many car parking spaces to provide for customers.

Clean and wastewater facilities are based on census statistics

Census statistics have a real impact on people’s lives. For example companies, such as Yorkshire Water, base their long-term planning on census statistics in terms of the number of people who will be using both clean and wastewater facilities. This has a direct impact on working out how much the company needs to invest in its infrastructure.

Small businesses researching local markets

Census statistics describe areas. This means that local small businesses can use free demographic information for market research. This helps to set up small businesses, to support advertising campaigns, and to work out where to provide new services, like childcare centres, to support the people who live locally.

Marketing to older people

The 2011 Census revealed that one in six people in England and Wales are now over 65 and this has implications for businesses. The census offers useful insights for businesses providing goods or services to older people, for instance domiciliary care, mobility aids, specialist holidays or tailored financial products.

Tailored customer services

By looking at census statistics for local areas, businesses such as banks can make assumptions about the type of advice that will be required in branches or the languages staff need to be able to speak.

Examples of the impact of census data:

Census statistics help to understand today’s consumers - an article from the Marketing Magazine website about the biggest trends from the 2011 Census data and how the insight they provide will influence the country’s marketers in 2013 and beyond.


The Value of Census Information in Location Planning at Sainsbury’s - Presentation on the Marketing Research Society's website about how census data is used to inform location and resource decisions for new Sainsbury’s stores.


Argos use census statistics to support business strategy - Article on ComputerWeekly.com explaining how 2011 Census data will enable the way Argos uses its Geographic Iinformation System (GIS) tool to refine its models and look at ways to serve customers in the future.


How the energy sector can use census data on heating and housing - an article from the Centre of Sustainable Energy website on how they have used household characteristics, such as central heating and number of bedrooms, along with energy useage for targeting energy saving schemes.