Reaching the Early Adopters: Trends in Canada’s South Asian Market

Are you trying to reach the early adopters? More colloquially known as trendsetters, these are the people who tend to be early customers of a given product, particularly when it comes to technology. If this is a market you hope to tap into, research suggests you should be looking towards Canadians of South Asian descent.

According to a recent survey released by Marketing, South Asians in Canada tend to over-index when it comes to technology and online shopping. This is a tech-savvy population that likes to be on the cutting edge. For example, in 2013 there were 51 million mobile smartphone users in Urban India—an 89% increase over the previous year, according to Nielsen. In Canada, Environ Analytics calculated that smartphone ownership among South Asians was 23% higher compared to the mainstream population—a significant statistic both for the people who build hardware as well as those who provide mobile, Internet, and other related services.

South Asians also tend to over-index when it comes to mobile coupon downloads. Nearly 71% have made a purchase of over $100 online—compared to only 55% of the mainstream Canadian population. Additionally, 67% of South Asian consumers tend to review or rate products online at least once a month—they are valuable customers who provide generous and candid feedback to vendors who want to know how to improve their products.

As smart comparison shoppers, South Asian Canadians are almost twice as likely to consult sites like Amazon when making a purchase decision. Just a few examples of where they tend to outspend the mainstream population online include:

  • Financial products and services, 39% compared to 22%
  • Electronics and Computers, 44% compared to 32%
  • Household Appliances and Furniture, 29% compared to 16%
  • Beauty and Cosmetics, 24% compared to 13%
  • Health & Pharmacy Products, 21%  compared to 111%
  • Clothing, 30% compared to 22%

Most South Asians in Canada come from comfortable middle- to upper-class families. Although they often have to start at the bottom of the ladder when they first arrive, they often climb back up rapidly thanks to advanced education and training. When making purchases, they rely on ads and marketing to learn about products before asking friends and family for referrals and recommendations.