The Lay of the Land

Understanding Canada’s Multicultural Opportunity in 2021 and Beyond 

The time has come for marketers to ask themselves whether they can afford to ignore a segment that is equivalent to the entire population of Quebec1 in 5 Canadians are ethnic born and the majority emigrated in the last 10 years. An additional 1.2 million new citizens are expected over the next 3 years.  

At this week’s Community Uninterrupted webinar, we were joined by Howard Lichtman, Partner & Co-Founder, Ethnicity Matters and Rahul Sethi, Director of Insights, Vividata as they described the vibrant Canadian marketplace focusing on the fastest growing segment comprised of newcomers from Chinese and South Asian descent.  

The session featured the latest research from Vividata and was coupled with insights on how COVID has changed marketing to these communities from Ethnicity Matters’ proprietary research. As these communities become an increasingly vital thread in the fabric of Canada, it is more important than ever for brands and marketers to understand what makes them unique. 

Lichtman and Sethi took us beyond the data, giving us an intimate introduction to this marketFollowing are some highlights: 

Brand Awareness is Key – upwards of 80% of Chinese and South Asians in Canada were not born in this country and as a result, are firmly planted in the product and brand discovery phase making them a prime segment to try your product for the first time.  

Culture & Language Matters – these time starved newcomers are still closely connected to their home culture and hold on tightly to their native values, culture and language making it important to know how to speak to their heritage in order to create a connection. 1 in 5 don’t speak English and 19% prefer to speak their own language with research showing that they are much more likely to pay attention to ads and feel closer to brands that do the same 

Connected – when examining media usage, the research showed that the South Asian and Chinese audiences are very active on digital media, particularly social media with 57% of newcomers from South Asia using WhatsApp (3 in 5) and 64% of Chinese Canadians using Facebook and 36% using WeChat.  

During the recent pandemic, both groups overindexed on video and audio streaming, with many watching or listening through a subscription service and on demand, proving that the in-language story is really important.   

Nuanced Category Interests – when looking at popular categories, the Chinese market favours beauty and cosmetics whereas the South Asian was more inclined to be immersed in culture and religion and toys and learning. Both groups showed a keen interest in electronics. 

Overall an important message conveyed throughout the presentation this week is that one never really stops being an immigrant. It’s almost impossible to lose complete connection to one’s heritage in a country that welcomes and celebrates diversityMarketers need to be aware and respectful of this fact as well as find ways to be culturally relevant to both newcomers and secondgeneration Canadians.  

For more information and for access to this research please reach out to