AsianShopper

New BrandSpark study shows how Canadian ethnic buyers shop

It's all about price (with a few exceptions)

Market research and insight firm BrandSpark International has released the results of their 2014 Canadian Ethnic Shopper Study, which gleaned the buying habits of more than 8,800 Canadians of Chinese, South Asian and East Asian backgrounds. The study found that getting the biggest value for their money emerged as the most important factor in purchase decisions, and it revealed differences in the way that ethnic buyers rely on word of mouth and the internet for shopping information.

It also showed ethnic Canadians are big consumers of high-tech gadgets, they’re more likely to eat pre-made frozen meals or take-out, and they shop at Walmart more often than the average Canadian.

How much does it cost?

Price was the most important single factor influencing a purchase for the ethnic Canadian, according to the study. For example, 72% of East Asian Canadians cited it as their most important criterion when it comes to food shopping, along with 68% of Chinese Canadians and 66% of South Asian Canadians, compared with 62% of Canadians overall.

(The results get very granular. For example, in the sub-category of household care, price is the most important factor to 65% of East Asians, but the chief factor for 75% of South Asians.)

The market research company compared the top-line insights from their previously released 2014 BrandSpark Canadian Shopper Study, which examined the shopping preferences of more than 100,000 Canadians with multiple kinds of ethnic lineage.

“BrandSpark has been surveying Canadians about their everyday shopping habits for eleven years,” said Robert Levy, president of BrandSpark International. “We understand what Canadians want, and more importantly, we know exactly what makes them open up their wallets to buy. We are now digging deeper with our research to understand and glean insights about different segments of Canadian shoppers, in this case Canada’s top ethnic groups: Chinese, South Asian and East Asian Canadians.”

The survey revealed a rift between individual ethnic groups on the question of brand-name love. Despite their stated concern for getting a good deal, South Asians and East Asians are far more likely to also say they’ll choose their favourite brands regardless of the price — 21% and 17%, respectively. Only 10% of Chinese Canadians and Canadians overall placed the same importance on brand names.

Consumers from those ethnic groups rely more on word of mouth, the survey showed. They also use the internet slightly differently, relying on web searches more than Canadians overall do for nutritional information. They are more likely to shop at Walmart, especially if they’re South Asian or East Asian, than Canadians overall.

In terms of buying choices, there is a big difference in ethnic consumers’ view of ready-made food. 54% of Chinese respondents said they’d picked up a ready-to-eat meal for dinner from the grocery store in the past week. 48% of South Asians and 46% of East Asians said the same. Only 32% of Canadians overall did so.

Finally, Canadians from all three ethnic groups are significantly more likely to be ahead of the curve on tablet and smartphone ownership than Canadians overall.

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