What is catchment area?

What is Catchment Area Analysis and How to Determine it?

Catchment area is a crucial element used to understand a store’s reach and its market influence. Picture it as a vibrant tapestry woven by location data, seamlessly blending customer behavior, market dynamics, and strategic decision-making.

What is Catchment Area? 

Catchment area refers to the area from which a business or service drives its customers. Therefore, a catchment area is where individuals are willing to travel to access a specific product, service, or facility.

Understanding and identifying the catchment area provides valuable insights into customer behavior, market segmentation, and potential areas for expansion or targeting.  

Example of the trade area of a hypothetical retail store

The above example depicts a fictional retail store’s trade area or the catchment area. The density of colors is directly related to the number of customers present in the catchment area.

Different types of Catchment Area

Geographic catchment areas are defined by natural features such as rivers, lakes, or watersheds. As water or other substances flow into a centralized point. H

Marketing catchment areas refer to the geographic boundaries within which a business or establishment draws its target audience.

Catchment areas in the healthcare sector help determine the percentage of the population serviced by a specific medical facility or service.

The size and boundaries of catchment areas are influenced by various factors. Geographical features, transportation infrastructure, and demographic characteristics all play a role in determining the extent of a catchment area.

Therefore, socio-economic factors, cultural considerations, and industry-specific dynamics can shape the boundaries and characteristics of catchment areas.

Importance of Catchment Area Analysis

  1. Understanding Customer Segmentation: Catchment areas help businesses explore customer profiles, preferences, and demographics within a location. Analysis of the catchment area empowers brands to accurately segment their market, offer tailored offerings, and refine their marketing strategies, yielding optimal outcomes.
    Decoding the Competitive Landscape: Catchment areas analysis provides businesses the ability to access their competition. This analysis provides insights into their competitors’ spheres of influence, helping the brand access the location with low competitor presence.
  2. Determining Cannibalization: Catchment area analysis helps a brand identify the same-brand cannibalization in a given location.
    Unveiling Market Potential and Expansion Avenues: Catchment area analysis can help brands identify demographic data, consumer trends, and socio-economic factors of a given location.

Data Collection for Catchment Area Analysis

An accurate analysis of the catchment area of a brand hinges on the reliability and accuracy of the data source.

  1. Demographic Data: Census data, population surveys, or publicly available demographic information provide essential demographic characteristics of the catchment area, such as age groups, income levels, and household sizes.
  2. Customer Surveys: Conducting surveys among existing customers or visitors can help gather information on their demographics, preferences, travel patterns, and reasons for choosing a particular location or service.
  3. Transaction Records: Analyzing transaction records, such as sales data or usage logs, can offer valuable information about customer or user behavior, frequency of visits, and patterns of consumption.
  4. Location-based Data: Geospatial data, such as GPS coordinates, can be used to track the movement of individuals and understand their spatial behaviors and preferences.

Techniques for Analysing Catchment Area

Once the relevant data is collected, various analytical techniques can be employed to analyze and derive insights about catchment areas. Some common data analysis methods include:

  • Clustering Algorithms: Utilizing clustering algorithms, such as K-means clustering or hierarchical clustering, brands can identify groups or clusters of customers/users based on their geographic proximity, demographics, or behavioral patterns.
  • Regression Analysis: Regression analysis allows for understanding the relationship between independent variables (e.g., demographic characteristics, distance from the location) and the dependent variable (e.g., number of customers, sales volume).

Determining Catchment Areas

Harnessing Geographic Information Systems (GIS): Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are powerful tools for determining catchment areas. They enable businesses to integrate various datasets and analyze spatial relationships to accurately define catchment boundaries. GIS platforms provide geocoding, spatial analysis, and visualization features to determine the measure of catchment areas.

Utilizing Drive-Time Analysis: Drive-time analysis is a widely used technique to determine catchment areas based on realistic travel times and distances. By analyzing road networks, traffic conditions, and transportation modes, businesses can calculate customer travel time to their location. Drive-time polygons can be generated to visualize the catchment area, showing areas reachable within specific travel time thresholds.

Applying Spatial Clustering Techniques: Spatial clustering techniques play a significant role in identifying areas of high customer density helping determine catchment areas. This approach helps determine catchment areas by identifying clusters with a higher concentration of customers.

Analyzing Customer Origins: Analyzing the origins of customers provides valuable insights into catchment areas. Analysing customer origins help brand identify the heatmap footfall of customers in and around the store.

Incorporating POI Data: Point of Interest (POI) data plays a crucial role in determining catchment areas. Therefore, POIs are specific locations that attract customer visits, such as retail stores, restaurants, or entertainment venues. By analyzing the distribution and characteristics of POIs, businesses can identify areas with high POI density, which often coincide with catchment areas.

Importance of POI Data in Analyzing Catchment Area

POI data is obtained from various sources, including public datasets, commercial data providers, and crowdsourced platforms. Analyzing the proximity and relationships between POIs and customer origins provides a deeper understanding of customer preferences, behavior, and the factors that influence catchment areas.


The integration of location data and intelligence empowers organizations to make data-driven decisions, optimize operational efficiency, and gain a competitive edge. By leveraging location-based insights, businesses and public service providers can align their resources.

Brands can leverage the advanced computing ability of AI solutions to determine their catchment areas hassle-free.

What is RetailIQ?
RetailIQ is a cutting-edge AI solution revolutionizing offline expansion for the retail section. It is built on top of extensive location data and brand data to give street-level answers to expansion problems.

RetailIQ is a powerful tool providing site recommendations to maximize success at the store level and minimize the risk of closure.

It also helps identify the total addressable market, conduct competition analysis, better understand your target audience traits and their presence, and perform detailed site analysis and reports, all adding up to a successful expansion strategy.

For more information on our products and services, you can visit www.geoiq.io or get in touch with us at hello@geoiq.io

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