Most South Asian-Canadians Shop at No Frills

We conducted a market research in May 2011 on Grocery Shopping Habits of South Asian-Canadians. It was done through an online survey for a CPG brand. Composition of the target groups mirrored 2006 Census data on key demographics; gender, ethnicity and place of residence.  Target respondents were Canadians of South Asian origin, age 21 and older, principal grocery shoppers, living in the GTA. 289 responses were collected.

I share few non-proprietary top-line findings and insights below.

Grocery Shopping:  57% South Asians usually buy groceries at No Frills and 36% at Food Basics, based on the responses we receivedGrocery Shopping for this survey. Wal-Mart is a close third at 33% and Freshco fourth at 24%. Wal-Mart improved its ranking, as only 27%  respondents mentioned that they shop for groceries at Wal-Mart in a similar survey done earlier. Please see the table for data on other grocery stores in the GTA.

Principal Grocery Shopper (PGS): Overall, 35% responded that they are the PGS, while 60% respondents share the grocery shopping responsibility with someone else in their household. Anecdotally, many South Asian women are housewives and / or do not drive. They depend on their family members for taking them for shopping. Thus more respondents mentioned that they share grocery shopping responsibility with other family members.

Family Size:  40% have four family members and 36% have more than four family members in their households. Overall, about 75% respondents had 4 or more people in their households. As per 2006 Census, the average family size for South Asian households is 3.4 people per household. The result of this survey showed more people per household in the GTA. This could be because of increase in multiple-family households, estimated at 9% of South Asian households. (Source: Region of Peel Immigration Discussion Paper, S.K Agrawal)

Household Income:  56% respondents reported less than $48,000 annual household income, which is below Ontario’s $59,700 average annual household income. These findings reflect the prevailing unemployment and under-employment among new immigrants and South Asian Canadians. Moreover, lower household income result in price elasticity of demand in this market segment. Most South Asian-Canadian shoppers look for price discounts and bargain prices.

Relationship with Canada:  57% respondents were first-generation Canadians and 34% were new to Canada, immigrated less than five years ago. Being new to Canada, most South Asians have preferences, wants and brand loyalties that they bring along with them from their country of origin. Thus in-depth understanding of the target market segment is critical for success in this market. Moreover, most immigrants go through the grind in getting settled in their new homeland, that is, facing challenges in assimilation, being under-paid and more, which explains further why their reported annual income is below average. 


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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