Results of a Survey on South Asians – Jan 2010

I conducted an online poll and survey among South Asians using email and the social media, that is, LinkedIn, this blog and Facebook. People from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka were contacted for this survey. The aim was to find out what inspires South Asians more, money or pride. The question posed was what is more important to you, Money or Pride? Please refer to the post below and the poll at for details about the poll question and possible answers to choose from. 

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South Asian Market in Canada – Some Statistics


  • South Asians are the largest visible minority group at 1.27 million people according to 2006 Census results.
  • South Asians group grew by 37.7% from 917,000 in 2001 to 1,262,900 in 2006.
  • They represented 25% of all visible minority and 4% of the total Canadian population in 2006.

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The other side of the picture…

I received an interesting article from a friend, Badar Shamim. It was written by Dr. Yamil Alanso who is working on a project for the Brampton Board of Trade. The article, titled Discrimination or Employers’ Expectations, shows the other side of the  immigrants unemployment / underemployment picture. Dr. Alonso asks if the new Canadians meet employers’ expectations and lists follow-up questions that he thinks need to be answered by new Canadians in order to ascertain if they are “employment ready”.

I believe that working on the areas highlighted by Dr. Alonso will help new Canadians move closer to getting a gainful employment in their fields. However, sincere & consistent focus and efforts on both sides of the picture will get them the suitable employment. Besides new Canadians, the onus is on the government and whos’s who of the immigration and settlement landscape to provide an even playing field to new Canadians for successfully assimilating and leveraging thier potential.

Check out the article by clicking on the link below and let us know your thoughts by posting comments.


Economic Meltdown, Is it

The $700 billion bailout plan by the US government and latest short term interest rates cut by Central Banks of United States, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, England and the European Union have not resulted in the expected positive effect on the world stock markets. Specially in the United States, the real estate market continues to be in doldrums, unemployment rate jumped to 6.1%, stock market is down and car sales shrinking. In  Canada, exports are down, CA$ had a free fall, real estate market has stagnated, stock market performance is listless, and increasing unemployment / layoffs a major threats.

The million dollar question is how to check the impending economic meltdown and recuperate the Canadian economy?

There are 101 ways to skin a cat. My way is to diversify the economy & trade in order to reduce dependence on the US markets. (As Canadian economic fundamentals are better, however we are still badly affected due to over-reliance on south of border). I think trade can be expeditiously diversified by encouraging and facilitating new Canadians to look for business opportunities with their country of origin. This will be a win-win situation for the government and the unemployed & underemployed new Canadians.

Do you agree with the above strategy? Please comment below.

From the “R” word to “D” word

We are paying the price of unabated spending on homes and consumer goods during last few years. Cheap and easily available credit (sub-prime lending), stable consumer goods prices, and technological & productivity gains created excesses and fueled the economy for most of current decade. Thus we got caught up in a housing boom in 2000 and onwards similar to the dot-com boom of 1990s.

Excessive sub-prime lending in the United States has taken its toll with rampant defaults on mortgage payments resulting in write-offs and tightening of credit by commercial banks. This checked the growth of Real Estate market. Simultaneously, oil prices rose to unprecedented level crossing US$140 mark in July 2008, which along with increased staple food prices sparked inflation. This decreased the consumer purchasing power and slowed down the demand for capital goods. Spillover from economic downturn south of border has adversely affected Canadian economy, especially the economy of Ontario, which is heavily dependent on sales to the US markets. In 2007, 83.5% of the total goods exports from Ontario were to the US<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[1]<!–[endif]–>. Furthermore, exports declined due to stronger Canadian dollar, while layoffs in auto industry further contracted the Canadian economy. Read more of this post

The Game of Cricket & Canada

I resumed playing cricket in Toronto after a lapse of two years. From playing in different cities and on various pitches in Pakistan, I knew that I would have to adapt my batting technique to adjust to the new environment. What I was uncertain about was how much of an adaptation would be required. Indeed it was more than I anticipated.

Primarily, the grass on the outfield is left longer than normal on the grounds that I have played on, which stops the ball short of boundary. So one needs to either settle for singles and doubles or resort to hitting over the top of fielders to score runs quickly. Moreover, we play on mat pitches, which facilitates swing bowling more than the flat turf in India and Pakistan. This required to play late and let the ball finish its jugglery before hitting it. On the other hand, the matches start around mid day, so the bowlers are unable to take advantage of morning dew, which is common in Pakistan, as cricket is played in winter. Read more of this post

Canada Calling, Now What!

You have landed in Canada, gone through the initial process of applying for the SIN card, registering for medical care, looking for a place to live and a school for children. The next step is to search for a job, preferably for a career, similar to one you had in your country of origin. In a lighter vein, this step draws a parallel to the popular words by Neil Armstrong after he took the first step on moon. He commented, one small step for a man – one giant leap for mankind. Yes, looking for a livelihood could be another step but getting the right job is a giant leap for you and your family in the new homeland. Read more of this post

Yes, you can

Today a client graciously asked me if he could reprint and use one of my recent posts. I told him to use any of my posts, if he could mention the source.  

I would also like to advise you to feel free to reprint or use any of my posts and articles, as long as you include a credit line.

Thank you,

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 Read more of this post

Family is most important for South Asians

Earlier this month I asked South Asians what they like. I used e-mails & social media (Facebook, Linkedin and Blog) to pose this questions. Mostly Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis living in Canada, the USA, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the UAE and Saudi Arabia responded. Many non-Asians also commented. Altogether, I received about 100 comments. Two interesting and distinct findings of the survey are; (i) the family came out as the major consideration by majority of the respondents of South Asian origin, (ii) comments from non-Asian respondents were very different from the preferences shown by the South Asian respondents highlighting a lack of understanding of South Asian culture by the non-Asian respondents.

Further detail and analysis of the outcome of the survey are as follows: 

(i) Majority of the respondents mentioned that family is most important to them followed by relations (relatives or relationships). It shows that marketing communication leveraging family, family values and relationship themes would have an “emotional connect” with South Asians with a greater possibility of striking a chord with them. Based on this survey, as South Asians are family oriented, they would mostly move together and could be reached at family events and melas in large numbers. Furthermore, it could be safely deducted that word-of mouth publicity will be effective in South Asian market segment. Read more of this post

Why this Blog?

Several times I have been asked the reason for starting this blog. Though I had alluded to it in the About page of this blog, I think it will be useful to provide additional perspective here.

When I started marketing integrated media (print, direct & online) for South Asian market segment, I observed that many corporate clients were deliberating on the What, Why, Where, How and When of the emerging market segment. I thought the best way to facilitate clients and add value to their marketing efforts is to share with them the information, research and analysis on the multicultural markets, advertising and other relevant topics. Hence this blog was initiated with the objective of adding value to clients by keeping them informed about latest marketing information, trends, developments and ideas.

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What do South Asians Like!

Personality traits (habits, likes and dislikes) are influenced by external environment and conditioning. These traits vary from region to region (East & West). For example, South Asians living in the East think, feel and act differently than South Asians living in the West (North America & Europe). I think the difference in their paradigm, likes and dislikes varies from one end of the continuum to another.

It would be interesting to know what South Asians like.

I invite South Asians to list three things that they like most in their personal, social and professional life. Just post (mention) the country where you live and three things in each aspect of your life. You can choose to be anonymous. I will share the findings of this on-line survey.

Hope it would be fun and interesting.


South Asian & Chinese Canadians – A Market To Grow With

Statistics Canada recently published the findings of the 2006 Census. It showed that visible minority population surpasses the 5 million mark in 2006 with an estimated 5,068,100 people, representing 16% of the total population of the country. In 2001 census, the visible minority population was estimated at 3.98 million or 13.4% of the total population. Thus between 2001 and 2006, the visible minority population increased by 27.24%; five times faster than the growth in total population, which grew by 5.4% during the same period. Moreover, according to Statistics Canada projections, visible minority could account for 20% of the total population in next ten years, that is, by 2017.

South Asian and Chinese-Canadians (termed SACHIN for convenience) comprise of about 50% of the total visible minority population. First time in 2006, the South Asian Canadians population estimated at 1,262,865 exceeded the Chinese-Canadian population estimated at 1,216,570. Ontario has the highest number of South Asian and Chinese-Canadians, 794,170 and 576,980 respectively. British Columbia has second highest numbers, 262,290 South Asians and 407,225 Chinese. Read more of this post

Lifestyle Difference in East & West

Western lifestyle is shown in Blue – Eastern in Red

This was desinged by Liu Yung and forwarded to me by Dr. Haroon Siddiqi

The New Canadian Experience

The Royal Bank published a research report on aspiration and experiences of new Canadians. This research was conducted by Ipsos Reid in 2007. A representative randomly selected sample of 1,000 new Canadians was interviewed on the telephone. New immigrants who landed in Canada after the age of 18 years and have been in Canada for less than 10 years were classified as new Canadians for this survey. The partial findings of the research, as published by the RBC, provide good insights for organizations and marketers interested in the new Canadians market segment. I have highlighted and interpreted significant findings of the survey from a marketing perspective, primarily focusing on new Canadians from South Asian countries.

The study revealed that the majority of new Canadians of South Asian origin are young and well educated. 73% new Canadians were between 25 and 49 years of age compared to 46% Canadians overall. Based on estimated 265,000 new immigrants in 2007, about 70,000 new Canadians emigrating from South Asians countries were between 25 and 49 years. Moreover, 62% new Canadians have some university education and 51% came to Canada in “skilled workers” classification. Being young, educated and skilled, the new Canadians could be early adopters for many Canadian brands new to them. This presents highly promising profile for businesses and particularly for the marketing world. If the marketers can understand and cater for the needs of new Canadians and win their hearts and minds, they can acquire loyal customers and retain them for long. These potential customers come with adequate funds (estimated to be more than $20,000 per family of four, as mandated by the immigration policy) and have various urgent economic needs. For example, buying house, cars, home electronics, education savings plans, long distance calls, opening bank accounts and last but not the least securing employment. New Canadians, being young with children, will possibly be interested in outdoor activities, sports and fun and could enhance the demand for products and services related to these activities. Read more of this post

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