Understanding Consumers and Communities

Knowing who and where your consumers are is crucial for effective targeting and involves intelligent customer analysis and consumer segmentation.

Acorn is used to understand consumers' lifestyle, behaviour and attitudes, together with the needs of communities and is important to both private sector and public service organisations. It is used to analyse customers, identify profitable prospects, evaluate local markets and focus on the specific needs of each catchment and neighbourhood.

Try acorn now

  • Find the Acorn type of any UK postcode
  • Investigate any Acorn type from the list
  • Pick an Acorn type by lifestyle characteristics
Try acorn



Acorn categorise postcodes into one of 6 Categories, 18 Groups and 62 types. By analysing significant social factors and population behaviours, it provides precise information and in-depth understanding of the different types of people living in a neighbourhood. Acorn can also be used to understand larger geographic areas and is often used with Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to understand the make-up of an area.

How is acorn built?

CACI has created a unique and radically different approach to geodemographics. This takes advantage of the new data environment created by government policies on Open Data.

To keep Acorn fully up to date we take advantage of new data, as soon it becomes available.

Show our Acorn methodology

Our Acorn Methodology

CACI has pioneered a radical departure from the traditional... Read more

CACI has pioneered a radical departure from the traditional approach to building geodemographic segmentations.

The traditional approach is to build the structure of the segmentation and assign postcodes or households to the types by always using the same data and the same single algorithm.

Our new approach to geodemographics rejects a 'one size fits all' approach in favour of using the best method appropriate to the circumstances. We use different data and statistical models, if we can demonstrate the results are better. This makes Acorn more accurate.

Our alternatives were to reject all information that was not perfect across the whole of the UK, or to create different algorithms according to the available data. We chose to make use of all data that gave a measurably better Acorn.

Show what data goes into Acorn?

What data goes into Acorn?

Acorn takes advantage of the new data environment... Read more

Acorn was completely rebuilt to reflect the demographic, social and economic changes in the UK and to take maximum benefit of the changing data landscape both now and in the future. Many new data sources are available that allow greater precision and geographical detail than has ever been possible with census data.

CACI makes use of a great many data sets to build Acorn. We use Open Data, Government Data, commercial data and our own proprietary datasets in the build process. Geographically detailed data about house sales, rental properties, care homes, new build housing, accommodation for the elderly and students are now available from non-census sources and used to define the Acorn Types. Many of these data sources provide substantial information for addresses, households or larger geographic areas.

Our build approach allows us to update Acorn as new data, particularly Open Data, is published.

For more information about how Acorn has been built please get in touch with us using the contact form.

Show how is Acorn kept up to date

How is Acorn kept up to date?

People and neighbourhoods change, people move house and we track... Read more

People and neighbourhoods change, people move house and we track these changes so that the Acorn code is an accurate description of the neighbourhood. CACI's new approach to geodemographics builds in future-proofing because it allows Acorn to use new data even if it was not part of the original segmentation.

Acorn use cases

Acorn is used by brands operating across most B2C industries and the use cases are endless. Here are a just a few ways Acorn is currently being used:

  • In the utility sector our water clients use Acorn to predict water consumption and our energy customers might assess demand for electric vehicles based on Acorn type
  • Retailers use Acorn to understand the demographic catchment of their stores to optimise ranging across their network and find locations with a high proportion of their best customers
  • Public sector organisations use Acorn to assess the demographic, lifestyle and behavioural and health characteristics of the communities they serve to prioritise and deliver essential services based on need
  • For media agencies Acorn is a common language between research panels and media buying tools, driving consistent messaging through the funnel
  • Private healthcare providers use Acorn to assess services, personalise communications and drive cost efficiencies across media activity
  • Charities use Acorn to identify those who most need support, understand where resources should be prioritised, and better communicate with supporters.

Useful downloads

We have a range of useful documents you may wish to download and read at your leisure or keep for future reference.