Australia’s foreign-born demographic, and why to market for them

Australia has a predominantly white population, with over 90% of its residents classed as Caucasian and is the 52nd most populous country in the world. Around 89% of the country's population is based in urban areas, and recent immigration figures have shown that European residents are decreasing in numbers as immigration alters the demographic of Australia. Most non-European immigrants fall into three distinct groups, Filipino, Chinese and Indian, and smart businesses are taking a closer look at niche target audiences and capitalizing on cultural differences in a unique way.

Multicultural marketing in Australia today

Multicultural marketing isn't a new concept and has been used successfully in the US and other parts of the world for some time. As Australia's population undergoes further change, it's worth exploring how targeting specific ethnic consumers can increase profits and boost the country's economy.

So what is the ethnic make up of Australia?

It's not only supermarkets who can benefit from locating their niche target audiences, businesses such as banks, solicitors, financial institutions and eduction and training providers can all take advantage of the multicultural approach to increase interest in their product or service. Traditionally most immigrants came to Australia from the United Kingdom and New Zealand. The estimated population of the country as of March 2015 is 23,793,100, a massive increase from the approximately 350,000 people who lived in Australia at the time of British settlement in 1788. Excluding white Europeans and New Zealanders, immigrants from China, The Philippines and India account for the largest number of the country's foreign born population.

Approximate immigration figures in Australia

Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics dated 30th June 2014 put the number of Australian residents born elsewhere at approximately 6.6 million or 28% of the total population. Many of these immigrants hail from China - around 447,400 according to the same set of statistics, and most retain a strong sense of Chinese identity. The same is true of the 397,200 immigrants from India and the 225,100 people born in the Philippines who now call Australia home.

Why target certain ethnic groups?

Retailers and service providers are aware of several points that make it worthwhile to concentrate on niche target audiences. For example, immigrants from China don't generally speak English as their first language. Don't underestimate the value of approaching a target group in the language they prefer. It's not just written language that can be used to target specific groups, semiotics also plays its part and colors, shapes and cultural references can all be used to good effect. Products and services that 'speak' to foreign born residents are more likely to see a dramatic surge of interest. Whether it's the use of the color red to denote luck or good fortune in packaging for the Oriental market, or marketing literature in both English and Cantonese, Tagalog or Indian languages, products that recognize cultural differences tend to be well received.

Catch the attention of a niche audience

Nothing could be more typically Australian than barbecues on the beach, but a range of Indian or Chinese inspired marinades is a product that catches the attention of all cultural groups. Immigrants from the Philippines are well versed in multi-culturalism and cuisine from their native land is a mix of Malay, Chinese, Spanish, American, Asian and Latin influences. Exciting information in marketing terms, and many businesses are highlighting the way that ethnic foods evolve from a trend to a national institution. Stores and marketing professionals can take a look at what times of the year are traditionally busier, and of course Christmas, New Year and Easter are all high on the list when dealing with a white target audience. However, it's well worth actively setting out to increase interest within ethnic groups. Stores that have special campaigns for holidays like Philippine Independence Day, Chinese New Year or Diwali are certain to be looked upon more favorably by foreign born immigrants at other times of year.

Tips to increase your reach

Most immigrants are just as keen on social media like Facebook and Twitter as those born and bred in Australia. These sites are the perfect way to discover new trends and developments that help business to take an in depth approach with marketing strategies. The importance of reaching out to ethnic groups, whether Chinese, Indian or Filipino can't be underestimated in today's economy, and smart businesses all over the Australia are taking a multicultural approach. We've written a more technical post with tips for launching a multicultural campaign in Australia, go check it out!
Written by Joinville

Joinville is a trading desk and SaaS ad platform that powers digital multicultural campaigns via direct and programmatic media buying.