What Every Good Marketer Knows About South Asian–Canadians

Inspired by Seth Godin’s “What Every Good Marketer Knows” I have come up with my list of What Every Good Marketer Knows about South Asian-Canadians:  

  • South Asian-Canadians are the biggest visible minority in Canada at 1.26 million
  • Ontario has the largest South Asians-Canadians population – 794,170 people
  •  British Columbia has second largest South Asians population – 262,290 people
  •  More than 80% of South Asian-Canadians live in the provinces of Ontario & British Columbia making it an easily accessible market segment
  • South Asians population constitutes 25% of the visible minority group 
  •  By  2017, the South Asians population will increase by 50% to 1.8 million 
  • South Asians Canadians families spend 23% more on groceries than other households in Canada 
  • South Asian population is younger than overall Canadians. On average, 73% are between the ages 25 – 49 years versus 46% of overall population 
  • South Asian-Canadians have an estimated spending power of $12 billion and 80% of this could be targeted by focusing on Toronto and Vancouver markets
  • Family and family values are the most important considerations for South Asians 
  • Relationship (both family & social) is the second most important consideration 
  • They like watching and playing cricket, watching movies and eating spicy food 
  • South Asians like to live in community, move in groups and most of their family gatherings are food-centric 
  •  Beyond the skin color, habits and cultural differences, they have similar emotions as others. For example; desire for social approval, friendships, a need for social gossip, and feeling of guilt, love, selfishness, grief and altruism. 
  •  It is prudent to leverage the similarities and common grounds between various market segments including the South Asians to effectively market to them for an optimum ROMI 
  • Buying a house is very important for South Asians and gives them a sense of pride 
  • South Asians who emigrate from the Middle East purchase a house sooner 
  • Owning a house and a good car (German or Japanese make) is the status symbol for South Asians 
  • South Asians do not show emotions easily. Especially they would not reveal if they are upset. 
  •  Immigrants from the metropolitan cities adjust and settle sooner in Canada 
  • It requires more than a translation of English caption and taglines to strike a chord with South Asians. A combination of marketing acumen, cultural know-how and creativity delivers the best results for marketing campaigns 
  • Use of “Minglish”, that is, Hindi, Punjabi or Urdu written in Roman helps in connecting with the second generation South Asians. 
  • South Asian media is highly fragmented making it difficult to reach the target market efficiently 
  •  More research is required for understanding the aspirations and buying habits of South Asians 
  • Measuring the effectiveness of advertising campaigns and media remains a challenge. 
  • Internal control and innovative monitoring tools are needed for effectively measuring market response and the ROI. 
  • It is wise to hire a South Asian origin person for understanding the market nuances and hitting the bulls-eye with the target market.

Finaly, I quote my favorite point from Seth Godin’s list as follows:

“Obviously, knowing what to do is very, very different than actually doing it.”


About Fazal Siddiqi
Fazal Siddiqi Writes on current marketing, branding, communications, diversity and socio-economic opportunities & challenges. He lives in Canada and works for OPAL Marketing Group.

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