Consumer Trends: Adapting to Multiculturalism – Diversity in Retail

consumer-trendsEarlier in 2016, Toronto was named the most culturally diverse city in the world. That’s a pretty impressive title that we are happy to embrace. This multiculturalism is presenting big opportunity for not only the city’s, but the nation’s, grocers. This week, we talk consumer trends with regard to multicultural consumer behaviour.

Canada’s three largest ethnic groups – Chinese, South Asian and Filipino – are forecast to make up a massive 7.3 million of this country’s total population by 2031. The fact that 20% of Canada’s population is ethnically diverse means that it is easy to conclude that the economic impact of these 6.8 million New Canadians is sizeable. For example, Chinese Canadians spend $34.6 billion and South Asians spend $32.1 billion every year – that’s a lot of money, and retailers are standing up and taking notice, adapting to the needs of every group.

Retail businesses offering familiar goods and services, especially when offered in numerous languages, often help immigrants retain their cultures and languages. This can be a major draw for both New Canadians and those long-settled from other areas around the world. The ability to get items and ingredients perhaps not ‘typical’ on all grocery store shelves means people from all over the globe don’t have to search high and low to make dishes which remain culturally important. Finding authentic ingredients is a top priority for many.

And they are willing to pay more for them. Of course, many of these items are not available from your top manufacturers – and sometimes they carry a higher price tag, but adapting can present big opportunity.

Additionally, with the rise in recent years of applications such as Pinterest, previously meat-and-potato chefs are turning to their tablets and mobile phones for recipes previously unknown to them. Many of these recipes involve ingredients that may or may not be in their pantries, and many of those items could be considered ethnic. This means that it is not only ethnic diversity pushing sales, but also an interest in cultural difference.

This is not just speculation. A Canadian Grocer article from 2013 remains highly relevant today. It highlighted some important trends for multicultural consumer trends, trends that remain important, most notably the fact that ethnic shoppers prefer home-cooked meals which are viewed as healthier than packaged foods. Dinner remains the most important meal of the day, and meal planning is common – far fewer will cook on the fly compared to planning ahead and preparing meals in advance.

While the article may be a few years old, it deserves a second look. Most of the information contained within it is still highly relevant to today’s shoppers, and retailers can gain a lot by adapting.

Find the article here:

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