In marketing, VALS stands for "values, attitudes and lifestyles" and is a type of research methodology used for market segmentation. The concept is based on the idea attitudes, psychological needs and behaviors change as a person progresses through the various stages of his or her life.
The VALS system helps to pinpoint consumer behavior patterns. Arnold Mitchell and some of his colleagues developed this system in 1978. There are two main parts to this system, the horizontal division and the vertical division. The horizontal division is comprised of three main types of primary motivation for consumers. These are ideals, achievement and self expression. The vertical division is made up of the resources consumers have available, such as income, health, education and confidence.
In 1998, the VALS system was re-vamped which resulted in VALS-2. It showcases a new viewpoint, stating that the most important factor in consumer behavior is psychographic. This is a classification of consumers according to psychological variables like fears, values or attitudes. This is in direct contrast to the original VALS system, which concentrated on activities and interests. VALS-2 is useful in predicting the buying behavior of consumers. There are a few different profiles of buying behavior including consumers involved in the purchase decision, routine purchase behaviors and those who make impulse purchases without doing much, if any, research.