“Catchment area”: definition, method, limits… Understand this key commercial real estate concept in 5 minutes!

If you work in real estate or retail, you may have heard the term ” catchment area ” before. But what’s behind it?

Let’s find out in just 5 minutes!

Catchment area: example, definition and challenges

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The catchment area is the geographical zone from which a sales outlet’s customers come.

Traditionally, there are two categories of catchment area, based on two criteria:

  • isomeric: zones delimited by the distance customers are willing to travel
  • isochrones: areas defined by the time it takes to reach them.

What’s the point of a catchment area?

©2023- Andrea Piacquadio

Companies use this catchment area to understand their audience’s expectations, adapt their marketing strategy, adjust their offer accordingly, and maximize their customer base in this specific zone.

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of the crucial information you need to study:

How do you define your catchment area ?

©2023- Andrea Piacquadio
  • There’s no magic formula for defining a catchment area: it depends on the nature of the business in question. This can be explained simply by an everyday example: people are more inclined to travel far to play tennis than to buy bread.

The construction is therefore segmented into several zones, depending on the level of customer attractiveness. These three zones are calculated theoretically or empirically, on stores of the same type.

They are as follows :

  • The primary zone: this corresponds to the zone of highest attractiveness. This is where you’ll reach the majority of your customers.
  • The secondary zone: in this zone, the attractiveness of your outlet is average, because your prospects have similar offers. An effective communication plan is therefore necessary to win market share.
  • The tertiary zone: the attractiveness of your outlet is low, but it’s still possible that you’ll attract part of the market.

Beyond the tertiary zone, your potential is virtually nil: it’s almost impossible to attract customers.

To define these three zones, ask your customers how far they are willing to travel, depending on where they live!

Help, where to start ? 

In response to your feedback, we have created an offer specifically for this need.

It brings together all the knowledge of the inhabitants of your catchment area, thanks to the best of physical and digital data. To find out more, let’s meet !