Canada’s multicultural landscape is vibrant and expanding. Two striking ethnicities by population size form a major part of this landscape – South Asians account for 2.6 million, and Chinese are 1.8 million of the total Canadian population. According to Environics Analytics, the immigrant population is projected to increase by 27% in the next 10 years.

For brands, it is important to know their multicultural audiences well, and in these times, it is also critical to understand the impact of COVID-19 on their purchase behaviours.

Maple Diversity Communications and Environics Analytics recently co-presented the ‘2020 Webinar’ that covered the multicultural landscape in Canada along with insights, psychographics, and changing consumer behaviours and media consumption habits during COVID-19.

During this pandemic, diverse multicultural families have shown significant behavioural changes compared to mature couples and singles and younger couples and singles. According to Environics and Nielsen Homescan Panel, both average online basket size and online food delivery for these diverse families have increased by 20%.

Average Basket Size of Multicultural consumers in Canada

An independent survey was conducted by Maple Diversity Communications with the help of its exclusive multicultural marketing panel to learn about the impact of COVID-19 on multicultural consumers. The survey results showed a significant impact of COVID-19 on media consumption habits of multicultural audiences.

These COVID-19 times have revived the slowly declining television viewership as people are spending more time at home, which has led to a significant increase in average minutes spent watching TV by multicultural viewers.

Stay-at-home requirements and physical distancing restrictions have negatively impacted other out-of-home (OOH) media such as billboards, Cinemas, and events.

Increase in Digital and Social Media channels for Multicultural consumers during COVID-19 in Canada

From our multicultural marketing panel survey results, it was also found that digital footprints have increased during this pandemic, and more brand, as well as social, interactions are happening on various digital platforms across screens, with desktop witnessing an increased usage along with laptop and smartphone. Interestingly, multiple devices are being used in the consumer journey. Entertainment, news (especially COVID-19 related), food, health, and fitness are the most consumed content. Digital media engagement in terms of views and minutes spent are at record high levels.

There is an extensive usage of social media channels to connect with families and friends within and outside Canada. Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and WeChat video calls are very popular among the multicultural audience. Social media content consumptions have also increased. WeChat and Weibo are very popular social media channels for Mandarin-speaking Chinese Canadians, while Facebook and Instagram are the go-to social media channels for South Asian and Cantonese-speaking Chinese Canadians.

Emerging Media habits of Multicultural consumers in Canada

The multicultural audiences have shown a significant shift from in-store shopping to online shopping, giving a boost to the E-commerce sector during this COVID-19 situation.

eCommerce Shopping habits of Multicultural consumer

Amazon is the platform of choice for Chinese, while Walmart is for South Asians. Multicultural shoppers prefer deals and coupons accessed via digital flyers, retailer/loyalty app, and third-party apps.

Digital Flyers for Multicultural consumers in Canada

Over-the-top media platforms are engaging the multicultural audiences through in-language content streamed via audio and video. With Cinema halls closed and TV shows paused, new Bollywood movies and web series are releasing on OTT video platforms. Theme-based audio playlists are on the rise, with cooking and workout audios being most preferred.

Streaming platforms media habits of Multicultural consumer

Effective targeting through digital and social media advertising can unlock the buying potential of multicultural consumers during these times, particularly by mapping their consumer journey and connecting with them in their language whenever possible. Geomarketing is another effective way to connect with multicultural shoppers.

Digital and Social Media consumption of Multicultural audience during COVID-19

As the economy slowly reopens, the second half of the third quarter and the fourth quarter of this year will witness some positive consumer sentiments and an increase in spending as a result of easing restrictions. This period will also coincide with major cultural festivals. Celebrations, social gatherings, feasting, shopping, and exchanging gifts are integral part of all multicultural festivities. Therefore, these forthcoming festivals are great opportunities for brands to connect with their multicultural audiences.

Multicultural Marketing Opportunities in 2020

In these unusual times, a brand’s messaging must adapt to its multicultural audiences’ needs and concerns, evolve to humanize the brand, and connect to build stronger bonds with the target groups. Consistent messaging during these uncertain times is paramount.

At Maple Diversity Communications, we provide a customized evaluation of multicultural opportunities for your brand. Contact us for more information on how our multicultural markets experts can share specific insights and strategies relevant to you.