How to reach ethnic shoppers in your community

Canada is home to a growing number of diverse visible minorities. But which ones are moving into your area?

Over the last three decades we’ve seen a phenomenal change to immigration patterns in Canada. The majority of immigrants now come from Asia, and within the next 20 years, three in every 10 people in Canada will be a visible minority. Keep in mind, however, that grocery shopping is a local activity and what matters most is which of these visible minorities are moving into your neighbourhood. How can you find out?

A good place to begin is online. Statistics Canada has localized Census data on visible minorities at statcan. (search for Community Profiles). Unfortunately, the numbers can be several years old. So do your own re- search, starting here:

Places of worship. Wherever people go, their religious customs follow. New mosques will show an increase in the Muslim population, and temples or gurdwaras will indicate an influx of Hindus or Sikhs.

Local schools. Drive by nearby schools when kids are outside. If a growing number of your consumer base is made up of visible minorities, you’ll notice it here first.

Your  job applicants. Newcomers are more likely to seek work within their community. So make a mental note if you’re seeing more visual minorities asking you to hire them.

Small ethnic stores. If there’s a new ethnic mom-and-pop grocer in the area, there is a customer base to serve this market. Make sure you visit them and figure out the sorts of products they’re buying.

Walk the local malls. More visible minorities working at shopping centres (especially at the checkouts) can be used as a sign of changes in the neighbourhood.

Follow these steps and you’ll learn something about your market you didn’t already know. Plus, what you find today will likely be validated by researchers…in two or three years.