Der Goldstandard der Zielgruppensegmentation

The gold standard for
target group segmentation

What are Sinus-Milieus®?

The Sinus-Milieus are a social model. They were developed by SINUS over 40 years ago and are considered the gold standard for psychographic target group segmentation in the German-speaking market. The Sinus-Milieus arrange people with similar values, a similar lifestyle and a comparable social situation into groups of “like-minded people”. The transitions between the milieus are fluid. We call this the “uncertainty principle” of everyday reality.

The Sinus models all have a very similar graphic structure. The vertical axis shows the social situation (ranging from low to high) and the horizontal axis shows the value orientation (ranging from traditional to postmodern). The higher a milieu is located in this graph, the more upscale its education, income and occupational group; the further to the right it extends, the more modern in a sociocultural sense the basic orientation of the respective milieu.

Basic Values Tradition Modernisation Re-orientation Social Status Upper class / Upper middle-class Middle middle-class Lower middle-class /Lower class PerformerMilieu10% ExpeditiveMilieu10% Consumer-HedonisticMilieu8% Precarious Milieu9% ConservativeUpscale Milieu11% TraditionalMilieu10% Adaptive-PragmaticMiddle ClassMilieu12% Post-MaterialistMilieu12% Neo-EcologicalMilieu8% NostalgicMiddle ClassMilieu11%
Sinus-Milieus in Germany

The Sinus-Milieus illustrate the motivations behind the various lifestyles in our society (values, life goals, lifestyles) and how they can be swayed (media use, communication preferences). They therefore offer marketing more information and better decision-making tools than conventional target group approaches. Products, brands, political parties, media etc. can be positioned on the Milieu Map.

Sinus-Milieu models are available for Germany, Austria, Switzerland and a further 45 countries. The models are continuously adapted to the socio-cultural changes in the respective societies.

Extensive information from the creators, developers and users of the Sinus-Milieu model can be found in our basic manual “Practice of Sinus Milieus”. Our information packages provide a comprehensive introduction to working with the Sinus-Milieus. Do you want to get to know the Sinus-Milieus in more detail? Then let us train you up to become a Milieu expert.

Questions and Answers

What are Meta-Milieus, Milieus in Microgeography and Digital Milieus?

The Sinus-Milieu model has been extended for various areas:

  • Sinus Meta Milieus: The Meta Milieus provide a cross-national target group model based on milieus for international marketing. The Meta Milieus are currently available for 48 countries. They can be developed for other countries at any time. We distinguish between the developed markets (established markets) and the emerging countries (emerging markets). For each of these economic spheres, there is an independent model with nine milieus each. They describe the lifeworlds of people in a holistic and cross-nationally comparable way – without ignoring local characteristics.
  • Milieus in Microgeography: By linking the Sinus-Milieus with microgeographic data, the milieus have been transferred into space, for example into city districts or zip code areas, and can thus be used for spatial planning and direct marketing. The Sinus-Milieus can be projected – in Germany, Austria and Switzerland – both onto customer address databases and onto any area breakdown, down to the street or house as the smallest spatial unit.
  • Digital Sinus-Milieus: The Digital Sinus-Milieus translate the Sinus-Milieus into the Internet. This means that strategic target groups can also be identified and addressed online with pinpoint accuracy, for example in website traffic analyses, for content provision according to Sinus-Milieus or online ad campaigns according to milieu affiliation. The transfer of the Milieus to the digital communication channels is a decisive advantage in the cross-media address of target groups.

What are the benefits of the Sinus-Milieu concept?


The Sinus-Milieus are under constant development. The basis for this is the trend research of SINUS-Institut along with various SINUS studies on people’s lifeworlds.


The Sinus-Milieus are therefore not a ’one-off typology’ like many other models but rather an approach that has been established for decades, with great market penetration.


This is evidenced by the integration of the Sinus Milieus into the most important market media studies, consumer and TV audience panels in Germany.

Data integration

The Sinus-Milieus are a hub for linking information on different topics from different sources, because the milieus tick the same way, whatever the research design. For example, the media behavior of the Expeditives from a representative survey can be combined with the basic travel orientations of this future milieu, which were researched in focus groups.


The approach is used by leading brand manufacturers and service companies for strategic marketing, product development and communications, and by political parties, ministries, trade unions, churches and associations (see Customers). Large media companies have been working with it for years, as have advertising and media agencies.

Economic efficiency

As Sinus-Milieu studies are published continuously, you learn more and more about your target groups. This wealth of experience can therefore be built on – often cost-neutrally. In other words, the existence of many pre-existing verified findings dispenses with the need to collect and analyze data from scratch, especially with regard to communication strategies and media usage (Milieu-specific touchpoints).


The Sinus Milieus approach allows our customers to better understand the modern sets of values, and the relevant trends of today and tomorrow, and to target their target groups even more precisely – not only in German-speaking countries, but now in over 40 countries.

What are typical areas of application for the Sinus-Milieus®?

The areas of application for the Sinus-Milieus are wide-ranging. In addition to applications in politics, the Church, journalism or education, there is hardly a market category in classic marketing research for which the Sinus-Milieus have not been used. They enable a differentiated description of customer and buyer groups, the targeted positioning of products and services, the definition of market segments for new products and relaunches, the detection of market niches, the efficient addressing of buyer potential, and, last but not least, the early detection and localization of new motivations and constitutions.

The Sinus-Milieus can be used in many ways:

  • In qualitative and quantitative ad hoc research – take a look at our offering for representative short surveys.
  • Research at international level – the Sinus-Meta Milieus exist for more than 40 countries and group together people who are similar in their outlook on life across national borders.
  • As a basis for customized target group solutions (also for the empirical location of personas).
  • For classic media planning, e.g. via various market media studies (best4planning or TGI Weltweit) and TV panels in Germany and Austria.
  • Sinus-Milieus in Microgeography allows the enrichment of customer databases and can be used for direct marketing and spatial planning.
  • Digital-Sinus-Milieus – the link for targeting, website analysis and branding – is the key to successful cross-media targeting.
  • With Sinus-Milieus you get concrete insights into the values, attitudes, and consumer/brand preferences of your target groups – the prerequisite for successful image work, brand positioning and communication planning.

How can you obtain information and data regarding the Sinus-Milieus®?

An introduction to working with the Sinus-Milieus is provided by our information packages, which are updated annually with the latest statistics.

We have access to various population-representative market media studies and can therefore carry out individual counts and market-describing analyses for you – if you wish, according to demographic subgroups pre-defined by you and/or according to Sinus-Milieus.

You can also have us collect new and targeted target group data at any time. If you need quick answers to a few questions, we recommend a representative short survey. Of course, we also offer more extensive customized market and social research studies.

SINUS:akademie offers lectures and workshops on the Sinus-Milieus. You can also acquire an official Sinus-Milieu certification as part of a continuing education program.

For more information on the Sinus-Milieus, we recommend the handbook “Praxis der Sinus-Milieus” (“Sinus-Milieus in Practice”) and/or taking a look at our publications.

Have SINUS-Institut train you up to become an officially certified milieu expert

SINUS-Institut offers a compact, cross-industry basic seminar on the Sinus-Milieus – the gold standard for target group segmentation for 40 years.

Sinus-Milieu certification

Sinus-Milieus® simply explained (with English subtitles)

This explanatory video shows how the Sinus-Milieus work (incl. examples) and what they can be used for (marketing, strategic target groups, personas / individuals, products, brands and ideas, touchpoints, topics, addressing, growth potentials).

To the video


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