IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Customer Base Analysis: An Industrial Purchase Process Application


  • David C. Schmittlein

    (University of Pennsylvania)

  • Robert A. Peterson

    (University of Texas at Austin)


Customer base analysis is concerned with using the observed past purchase behavior of customers to understand their current and likely future purchase patterns. More specifically, as developed in Schmittlein et al. (1987), customer base analysis uses data on the frequency, timing, and dollar value of each customer's past purchases to infer • the number of customers currently active, • how that number has changed over time, • which individual customers are most likely still active, • how much longer each is likely to remain an active customer, and • how many purchases can be expected from each during any future time period of interest. In this paper we empirically validate the model proposed by Schmittlein et al. In doing so, we provide one of the few applications of stochastic models to industrial purchase processes and industrial marketing decisions. Besides showing that the model does capture key aspects of the purchase process, we also present a more effective parameter estimation method and some results regarding sampling properties of the parameter estimates. Finally, we extend the model to explicitly incorporate dollar volume of past purchases. Our results indicate that this kind of customer base analysis can be both effective in predicting purchase patterns and in generating insights into how key customer groups differ. The link of both these benefits to industrial marketing decision making is also discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • David C. Schmittlein & Robert A. Peterson, 1994. "Customer Base Analysis: An Industrial Purchase Process Application," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 13(1), pages 41-67.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormksc:v:13:y:1994:i:1:p:41-67

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormksc:v:13:y:1994:i:1:p:41-67. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mirko Janc). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.