Ethnic Consumers: Attitudes towards sustainability

Ethnic Consumers: Attitudes towards sustainability

Ethnic Consumers: Attitudes towards sustainability

Among the visible minorities in Canada, the Chinese and the South Asians, who are the most prominent ethnicities, have a positive outlook towards sustainable products and brands. They are willing to change their habits to reduce the negative impact on the environment, especially the younger consumers. While for the first generation, the primary reason for this acceptance of a sustainable world, is from their experience of the impact of degrading environment back home, for example – polluted air, overflowing dumping grounds, which leads to poor health and substandard living. 


We conducted a study among our multicultural panel to know this consumer’s attitude towards sustainable choices. Our findings revealed that their attitude and action towards sustainability depends upon many factors, primarily – stage of acculturation, stage of settlement, financial stability, and employment. Based on these factors, the ethnic consumers can be segmented into 4 groups:


Conservative consumers are new immigrants who have been in Canada between 0-3 years, are price-sensitive, experimental, and easily swayed by discounts/flyers. For this group, product cost outweighs sustainability. New country, new beginnings cause them to be financially cautious. 68% of these consumers are aware about the need for sustainable living but they restrain themselves from paying towards improved practices.  


 Matured consumers are accultured and settled immigrants, living in Canada for more than 5 years. To this cohort, the product quality and usability is of prime importance irrespective of price. Financial stability and awareness about sustainable choices influence their willingness to adopt eco-friendly and single-use products. Approx. 45-50% of these settled immigrants are committed to sustainable products.  


Receptive consumers are the second generation Chinese and South Asian consumers, born in Canada are sustainability-conscious and environmentally responsible cohort. They are open to spending on brands that align with their eco-friendly way of life.The last but quickly growing segment are the Transformed consumers. Their perspective about personal needs have changed during COVID-19. Our study reveals that more than 90% consumers in this segment are willing to pay more and switch loyalty in favour of brands that are local, eco-friendly and have supported the society during the pandemic. These consumers are increasingly embracing sustainability. Also, consumers in this segment include those who are willing to adjust their buying behaviour and consumption habits if it leads to societal improvements.  


The pandemic has affected the financial situation for many leading to an ongoing conflict – intent to buy sustainable product versus intent to pay.  


To make this impact, firstly, brands need to strike a balance between their sustainable offering and pricing as affordability is seen as one of the key drivers in influencing their sustainable choices. 60-65% of the multicultural population in Canada believe that price is the top factor considered during purchase decisions. Secondly, awareness about eco-friendly, single-use products and environmental impact causes a shift in consumer sentiments with respect to the brands they buy from.  


To learn more about your multicultural consumer and to get actionable insights for your ethnic brand strategy, contact Maple Diversity Communications. Our team at Research HQ, our research arm, will be happy to discuss insights and findings relevant to your business objectives.

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