Canada’s Ethnic Minorities Represent A Major Opportunity

Canada’s Ethnic Minorities Represent A Major Opportunity

Canada’s consumer makeup isn’t what it used to be, and this represents a major opportunity for marketers. Today, Canada is home to 6.8 million foreign-born residents, and that shift is worth noting for any marketer interested in ways to make products and services that cater to Canada’s evolving demographic landscape.

More than one in five Canadians is a foreign-born resident, which is the highest proportion of all G8 countries (the Group of Eight Countries is a forum for the governments of eight of the world’s largest national economies). Before 1971, immigrants from visible minorities made up about 12 percent of the country’s population. Following the last documented wave of new immigrants between 2006 and 2011, almost 80 percent were visible minorities.

Despite this growth in multiculturalism throughout the country, brands and companies have often ignored the opportunity because there’s a perception that it is difficult to reach multicultural consumers. The sheer variety of languages, dialects, consumption patterns, shopping behaviours, brand and product loyalties are seen as a barrier to attracting and engaging with these valuable consumer segments. However, the growing size and potential of these groups means that companies can no longer afford to ignore the upswell.

There are multigenerational differences within each cultural group, and many factors can affect consumer behaviour. For members of ethnic markets, their home country traditions, culture and language are top marketing considerations. Here are some key trends that marketers need to tap into when engaging with visible minorities.

  • The Philippines, China and India were the top sources of new immigration between 2006 and 2011. These three nations account for 34 percent of new immigrants. By 2031, Canada’s South Asian (3.6 million projected), Chinese (2.7 million) and Filipino (1 million) communities could total 7.3 million.
  • Minorities are becoming the majority. Almost 20 percent of Canadians now belong to a visible minority group. Nielsen forecasts that by 2031, visible minorities will account for one-third of Canada’s population.
  • Just over 90% of the foreign-born population lives in Canada’s metropolitan areas, with almost two-thirds in the Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver regions.
  • Newcomers (median age of 31.7 years) tend to be younger than the Canadian-born population (median age of 37.3 years). Overall, 18 percent of Canadians aged 65 or older are visible minorities, compared with 36 percent of people under age 15.

The increase in Canada’s ethnic communities is having, and will continue to have, a significant impact on the country’s economy. Between 2013 and 2017, Canada will see an influx of 800,000 additional visible minority consumers. That will bring an additional $5 billion to manufacturers over that four-year period.

The size and continued expansion of these markets offers huge growth prospects for manufacturers and retailers. By better understanding and focusing on these markets, across categories and brands, companies can capture an increasing share of business.

For additional insights, download the full Ethnic Canadian report here.