Exploring ethnicity in Australia

According to analysis from the team behind GapMaps, a network analysis and strategy platform, the top three non-English language types spoken across Australia include Indo-Aryan, Mandarin and Arabic. These communities bring with them different tastes, purchasing habits and needs, and in a period of high levels of migration these characteristics are hard for retailers to ignore.

Using 2016 Census data, GapMaps has integrated a layer in its mapping platform that shows the distribution of first generation or recent migrants speaking a language other than English at home. The data presents interesting and highly valuable information for retailers to consider when deciding store networks and product mix.

Research from mid-2017 found that over the years until 2022, ethnic-Australians’ spend is likely to grow at a faster rate than Aussie-born consumers. But the concept of ‘ethnic’ is shifting. While not so long ago the focus was on Europeans, the profile of Australians born outside the country is beginning to change – with the 2016 Census identifying that Asian-born Australians represent around 10% of our overall population.

And with changing demographics come new complexities and opportunities in retail. While Asian-Australians reportedly spend less at traditional supermarkets, 75 per cent would shop at these brands if there was a greater international selection. Forty-four per cent said they are willing to pay more for brands that understand international needs.

“When an understanding of localities with high concentrations of particular languages is considered alongside cultural preferences, retailers can target their offer or store sites, service-related industries can identify the locations they should focus on and employers generally can hire people with relevant language or cultural skills,” Tony Dimasi, GapMaps General Manager Global Business Development, said.

“It’s another way to personalise your offering and experience, which is becoming more and more important in today’s retail landscape. Through the GapMaps platform, businesses can use data to identify these opportunities and substantiate their decision-making.”

The language insights complement other data available in the GapMaps platform, such as newly-introduced population growth projections. Drawing on official ABS Estimated Resident Population estimates for each small area, the company has independently compiled annual population projections from 2018 through to 2031. These insights are available for all cities, towns and store trading catchments and paint a picture of the growth expected over that period.

Another unique dataset in GapMaps called Marketinfo enables retailers to better understand the spending abilities and preferences of customers, by drawing on individual household records of the Household Expenditure Surveys conducted by the ABS.

Together, an understanding of language, population and expenditure capability enables retailers to make fact-based decisions on site location, product mix, marketing, advertising and store experience.

To find out more about GapMaps and languages data, e-mail [email protected]  .


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