Surveys Capture Lifestyles of Asians in Canada - New Canadian Media
South Asian Canadian smiles at the camera

Surveys Capture Lifestyles of Asians in Canada

Series of surveys focused on capturing the consumer habits and mindsets of various ethnic groups living in Canada

Ethnic news sources reach over 6 out of 10 South Asian adults, with the reach highest among those not born in Canada and here for less than 5 years says a new study that analyzed the mindset and behaviours of Canadians with roots in South Asia.

The Vivintel study also reveals that of the over 1 million Canadians in the areas of Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton with South Asian origins, 91 per cent were not born in Canada, with 53 per cent arriving within the last 10 years.

“This is the first syndicated study we feel will give our clients essential knowledge into the emerging South Asian consumer in Canada,” said Lilian Lo, Vice President Media, Dyversity Communications Inc. 

“It’s size, scope, and depth into the community’s media preferences, shopping behaviour, overall attitudes and more, will be a tremendous benefit to our strategic planning efforts as we look to connect with South Asian Canadians in ever more real and relevant ways.”

Surveying over 3,400 participants in areas of Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton that identified as having South Asian origins, ‘Insights into the South Asian Consumer’, delves into the community’s demographic profiles, media habits, shopping behaviour, opinions and more, helping to shed light on how this vibrant community is quickly becoming an ever more vital thread in the fabric of Canada.

The sample for the study consisted not just of those born in Canada or holding Canadian citizenship, but also surveyed South Asian international students, those on an international co-op or internship, permanent residents, and those residing in Canada on a temporary work permit. The survey excludes South Asian visitors to Canada.

“One of the many key insights we found in our new study is how South Asian consumer behaviour evolves – from the time new Canadians arrive, to getting settled, to starting and raising families,” said Pat Pellegrini, President and CEO of Vividata noted.

“Each phase tells its own unique story, and seeing that come to life through the data was not only inspirational but a testament to its quality and the industry-wide support that made this study a reality.”

Findings from the study include:

Key Demographics

  • Compared to the average adult in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton, South Asians in Canada are 2.2 times more likely to hold a degree higher than a Bachelors.
  • Nearly 6 in 10 South Asian households have children, and those here 5 to 10 years are 37 per cent more likely to have children at home.

Key Shopping Behaviours

  • South Asian Canadians not born in Canada shop up to 21 per cent more for Diwali than other shopping events like Cyber Monday, Mother or Father’s Day, Back to School, Valentine’s Day, or Amazon Prime Day.
  • South Asians are up to 55 per cent more likely to agree with the statement, “Online shopping makes my life easier,” than the average adult in the Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton CMAs.

Key Media Behaviours

  • 45 per cent of South Asians new to Canada (less than 5 years) agree with the statement “I pay more attention to advertising that is in my own ethnic language”.
  • Ethnic news sources reach over 6 out of 10 South Asian adults, with reach highest among those not born in Canada and here for less than 5 years (75 per cent), and lowest among those in Canada for 20 or more (49 per cent).

This is the second installment Vivintel’s series of surveys focused on capturing the consumer habits and mindsets of various ethnic groups living in Canada.

An earlier ethnic study highlighted the Chinese consumer in Canada.

That study showed that nearly 1.2 million Chinese consumers (aged 18 and over) in Canada account for $61 billion in self-reported consumer spending.

Findings from the Chinese study include:

  • 1 in 3 Chinese consumers in Canada agree with the statement, ‘I buy luxury brands to feel different from the rest of society’. This is even more so the case with Chinese international students, of which there are nearly 70,000 in Canada, who indicate an even greater affinity to luxury brands than the general Chinese population.
  • 40 per cent of Chinese consumers in Canada report that they “prefer to drive a luxury vehicle”. This is most noticeably the case among those in Canada on a temporary work permit; 52 per cent of those on a temporary work permit prefer the same.
  • There are roughly 490,000 Chinese consumers in Canada that are not Canadian citizens and were not born in Canada. 53 per cent of this consumer segment report that they pay more attention to advertising in their own ethnic language.
  • Chinese consumers are generally more tech-savvy than the average Canadian adult. They are more likely to own any smart device and nearly 2 times more likely to own a smartwatch or smart speaker.
  • At 3 hours a day, Chinese consumers spend nearly an hour more online via a mobile device than the average Canadian; with Facebook, WeChat and Instagram as their top 3 social media platforms.

“We often fall into a hole when talking about the Chinese Canadian Consumer,” said Sonny Wong, President & Creative Director of Hamazaki Wong Marketing Group. 

“We tend to lump the Chinese government and Chinese consumers into the same pile, preventing us from making the rational marketing decisions we make for other consumer segments.”

About the author

Fabian Dawson is a multiple-award winning journalist, an internationally acclaimed author, filmmaker and media expert. Born and raised in Malaysia, Dawson is of Indian origin. He migrated to Vancouver in 1988.  As a journalist, Dawson’s work has taken him all over Asia, Europe, North and Central America.  He has been cited for excellence in journalism multiple times since 2002 by the Jack Webster Foundation while many of the stories he has directed have won national and international journalism awards.Dawson was named the 2019 recipient of the Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award at Jack Webster Awards.

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