New migrants are an immediate source of potential consumers for your brand. Brenda Leung, Identity Communications Insights and Production Manager writes about some of the potential.

Australia has been a “nation of settlers” since the European settlements in the late 18th century. Since then, migration has been continuously a major contribution to the annual population growth of the country, resulting in a mix of various cultural and linguistic backgrounds in its population. In the past 5 years, there has been a significant change in the migration regarding the number of new arrivals and the origins of these settlers.

Apart from getting themselves familiar with and enrolled in various systems in Australia, what do our CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) consumers need? Do they need the same products as everybody else in Australia? Does every single product in the market suit the multicultural consumers? If not, what products are the most desirable in the multicultural market?

REAL ESTATE:  No matter how different the settlement plans are from individual to individual, searching for places to rent or purchase is one of the most significant steps of all migrants once they set their feet on the ground of a new country. Migrants from the same cultural backgrounds tend to cluster in the same areas creating a familiar environment. They also place high regards on peer-to-peer endorsement of services in their own language, which has created a niche industry of influencers. It is not surprising when you find out the Chinese speaking estate agents actually outnumber the English speaking in suburbs like Hurstville.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS: migrants want to stay in regular contact with family and friends back in home. Naturally, migrants over-index for international calls (landline and/or with mobiles), SMS and various interactive and social media channels. Being heavy users of the telecom products could mean the multicultural consumers have to be price savvy. Coupling with the desire to retain the existing customers, bundled telecom products at special price offered by the service providers have become the focus to cater to the need of the multicultural segments.

CALD consumers are always on the lookout for new mobile phones with new features and functions. Changing handsets to keep up with the latest is common among the young age group. Key CALD communities that over-index in their intention to purchase or upgrade their mobile phones include Arabic (ix 145), Greek (ix 160), Mandarin (ix 120) and Punjabi (ix 112)1.

BANKING AND INSURANCE: While migrants stay in contact with their original homeland, they also look for a bright future with a sense of security in the new country. There is a desire for a well established and reliable financial institution that can help them to plan and grow their wealth, providing a brighter, more secure future for their family.

Young skilled migrants with a high education level and self-funded middle-class specialists have provided Australia strong skilled human capital and resources. Sound financial management and growing wealth are important for this CALD segment.

Banking products that help manage their financial needs along the settlement process will certainly be popular, including credit or debit cards, daily transaction accounts, wealth creation/investment products.

ANZ lunar new year 2018

ANZ Lunar New Year Campaign, 2018.


Buying property as the first home or investment with home loans offered from the bank to secure a financial future, or for the next generation, is not uncommon amongst CALD communities, so investment loans and packaged products are appealing to their “palate”.

New migrants show a greater propensity to setting up new businesses of their own. According to the 2018 CGU Report, on thrid of small and medium business owners in Australia are from a multicultural background2. Business loans products would be of interest to this entrepreneurial group.

Online money transfer is also one of the high demand services as it is common for the migrants to continue sending money back to support their parents/family back in their home country.

FMCG: With such diversity in the cultural backgrounds of the Australian population, it is important for retailers to cater for the need of the lucrative multicultural consumers. It is not uncommon to see special sections with various Asian, Indian, Halal and Kosher products on the shelves in the big supermarkets, or individual community grocery shops with focus put on unique cultural merchandise. With different cultural festivals or celebrations like Chinese New Year, Passover, Diwali, and more happening during the year, shop managers can see increases in sales for specific food products related to the cultural festivals at certain times. Brands are getting into the festive spirit with decoration and stocking popular items for the occasion such as watermelons (below).

Woolworths Cabramatta Lunar New Year 2018

Lunar New Year Woolworths Cabramatta

Spend on FMCG retailing amongst the CALD consumers displays a faster growth rate than the Australian born group. In the next 5 years, the Asian-born consumers will play an important role in the sales in the grocery sector, accounting for 57% of the total growth, with distinctive differences in food preferences. 32% of Asian CALD consumers’ grocery spend is allocated to fresh food when compared with 26% amongst the Australian-born consumers. They are also keen on the options of seafood, fresh herbs and healthier food in general. So meeting the needs of the Asian-born consumers is essential in developing new business opportunities. Brands that are in play and being able to connect with the Asian consumers through strategic communications will make their mark early on this growing group and obtain advantages over their competitors in enjoying the benefit of these lucrative and savvy consumers3

AUTO: Just like the FMCG sector, with the change in the demographic regarding the cultural backgrounds in the population mix of Australia, being aware of the need to reach out and engage with the CALD consumers is crucial to thriving vehicle sales. Different CALD groups have their own preferences when it comes to the choice of vehicles and brand preference from the home country. Different communities have different priorities when it comes to value, safety, performance and reliability. A recommendation through “word of mouth” from friends can often cut-through, so building brand awareness and preference with existing migrant groups can help. 
1 Roy Morgan data, December 2017
2 CGU Migrant Small Business report, 2018
3 Asian-Born Australians Driving New Opportunities in Food Retailing, Nielsen Ethnic-Australian Consumer Report, June 2017