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By Newsdesk

Friday, November 23, 2012.

It’s not true that Britain’s ethnic minorities don’t spend, behave the same as whites and are too hard to target. This is according to the latest findings of advertising trade body, the IPA, whose recently published study on ethnic diversity examines the rapidly expanding multicultural landscape of the UK, and highlights common misconceptions.

Based on a compilation of academic and third-party research over the last five years, including the first findings of the ONS Census, as well as interviews, case studies and contributory chapters from ad agency heads, 2012 Multicultural Britain examines the growing influence of the black and ethnic minority (BME) population. They now account for 12 per cent of the whole; their purchasing power is £300 billion and rising; mixed race Britons are becoming the fastest growing ethnic category in the UK; and the average British Indian man is now on a higher income than his white British counterpart.

The report includes updated research conducted by Clearcast that found only one in twenty ads made in 2011 featured ethnic minority actors, although the cuts in public sector advertising and the winding up of the Government’s Central Office of Information (COI) was a big contributory factor. Yet ethnic media has yet to make consistent inroads into mainstream marketing strategies. However there are signs that businesses and the marketing industry are starting to take notice as the report cites examples including TK Maxx launching a range of gift cards to tie in with the Hindu festival of Diwali after discovering that over one in five of their customers were Asian, or Swarovski who launched a range of crystals designed specifically to be worn with the abbaya cloaks on Middle Eastern women.

Says Saad Saraf, Founder and CEO of Mediareach and Chairman of the IPA Ethnic Diversity Forum and IPA Council: ‘We want this report to highlight what makes ethnic minority consumers such an interesting market. We are gradually seeing a cultural change in terms of recruitment and portrayal which I find encouraging, as is the IPA programme to monitor ethnic representation in the industry and attract talent from people regardless of their ethnic or educational background. However this is still much more to be done and this report helps to make a strong case for marketers to take ethnic minority consumers more seriously.”

The report authors believe that talk of a ‘brown pound’ has helped raised awareness but that the term can obscure more than it clarifies. As ethnic minorities do have different spending patterns and consumer needs from their white counterparts there is still the need to embrace different ethnic pounds. Says Debarshi Pandit, head of OMG Ethnic: “A good chunk of second-or-third generation ethnic minorities who are well integrated into British society, still want a link to their ‘own’ culture.”

The report gives key facts on today’s ethnic minorities, offers advice and opportunities for marketers going forwards, and how to reach them.

Highlights include:

·         By 2016 half of the (BME) population will be under the age of 12 whereas half of the white population will be under 40.

·         By 2051 England and Wales will be as diverse as London is now.

·         Indian households are most likely to own multiple cars or vans with 80% owning at least one.

·         Half of Bangladeshis live in households with four or more people.

·         South Asian and African Caribbeans still represent the largest ethnic groups.

·         Black British women spend six times more on hair products than their white counterparts.

·         Britain’s ethnic minorities make up 7% of all car owners and are three times more likely to own a BMW.

·         Britain’s ethnic minorities are more likely to be early adopters of, and spend proportionally more on, new technology.

·         Food and non-alcoholic drink has become the third spending priority for mixed Asian and black groups. ‘Ethnic’ food is a growing market in the UK, accounting for more than half of the market share in Europe.

And on the media landscape:
·         Lack of accountability - ethnic media is underrepresented in mainstream desktop research with audiences understated by main industry measurement platforms such as RAJAR and BARB.
·         Ethnic media is evolving and splintering into different segments.
·         Digital switchover has led to the number of ethnic TV channels increasing. For example with the Chinese community accounting for 0.8% of the population, Oriental media is growing significantly.
·         Eastern Europeans continue to be a prevalent audience segment, with one third of a million arriving between 2008 and 2011.
·         Cinema is rising in popularity especially for Asians and Africans. Nollywood (Nigerian film industry) now follows Bollywood as the world’s second largest producer of movies.
·         The advent of highly credible digital ad networks, and ethnic media owners broadening and diversifying into multimedia.
·         Growing popularity in Asian community for large scale events attracting tens of thousands, as well as a rise in events serving Asian affluent business community.
·         After approx. 30 years in publishing The Voice is still the most established newspaper for black media.

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