Canada’s population is growing significantly, and it’s becoming even more diverse. There were 1M newcomers welcomed to the country in 2022,1 and more than 1M newcomers were expected for 2023.2 With 37% of Canadians being either settled immigrants or their children,3 reaching multicultural Canadians and newcomers is key to modern marketing in this country.
According to YouGov, 37% of Canadians say they don’t see their lifestyle represented enough in advertising4. Despite best intentions, brands have a long way to go to connect with newcomers.
New research commissioned by Google provides fresh insights to show how marketers can connect with newcomers to Canada, and why it’s so important to prioritize a marketing strategy that reaches them effectively and authentically.
Preparing for arrival
Brands know it’s important to be as helpful as possible for newcomers on their journeys to Canada, especially when they first arrive. But the reality is that newcomers are preparing for their arrival in Canada before they get here, and setting up what they need right away.
When it comes to their functional needs to set up their lives in a new country, more than half of newcomers have a bank account and a phone plan by the end of their first week.5 And by the end of their first month, 65% of newcomers have a credit card, 62% have home internet, and 32% have bought or leased a new car.6
Showing up when it matters most is essential, which means Canadian marketers need to get even further ahead of this newcomer pre-arrival research.
Newcomers are also more likely to switch from brand to brand. In fact, they’re more likely to switch banks in the next 12 months and have changed banks shortly after arrival, compared to acclimated Canadians. This signals that earning their loyalty is just as crucial as connecting with them authentically. Earning loyalty is especially true for newcomers, where 75% are more likely to shop somewhere with a loyalty or points program versus 54% of acclimated Canadians.7
Showing up when it matters most is essential, which means Canadian marketers need to get even further ahead of this newcomer pre-arrival research. Start by personalizing marketing messages to align with their lifestyles, being present in the pre-arrival stages to help guide newcomers before purchasing decisions are made, and staying present — especially during the first three influential months after they arrive.
Newcomers are arriving more digitally savvy
Newcomers are no strangers to learning through digital means. Having an online presence isn’t only fundamental, it’s critical in order to reach the newcomer audience. In fact, 66% of newcomers say Search is their No. 1 source of information when navigating their new lives in Canada, followed by social media and online video.8 And newcomers have shown that they are more open to digital channels — for example, newcomers are 1.9 times more likely to open their bank account through an app compared to acclimated Canadians.
As customers, newcomers are valuable to your business. Our research shows that they’re spending 50% more in key areas like home and furnishings than acclimated Canadians.9 Additionally, they’re choosing comparable brands that are familiar to those back in their home country over other brands,10 so showing up in ways that bridge the gap is crucial to be chosen by them.
Reconnecting with home online
Understandably, adapting to an influx of change in a new country can leave newcomers wishing for reminders of home. Many find ways to maintain strong ties to their home country and language is a key factor in seeking familiarity after arriving in Canada. In fact, 69% of newcomers say that they pay attention to ads in their own language, and 68% say they feel a sense of belonging to brands who have ads in their own language.11 For Canadian brands, applying this to your business can work across channels and platforms, including websites, store signage, and ads. Even showing up in searches that are in a newcomer’s native language is important to stay top of mind and build a sense of belonging to your brand.
When it comes to holidays, businesses have to think wider than standard Canadian holiday moments. Multicultural celebrations are year-round, and it’s a major opportunity to show up for the people who are here now. For example, search interest is two times higher for “kurta” in Canada than “men’s dress shirt.” And over the past five years, YouTube search interest for Diwali has been steadily rising each year. Seventy-three percent of newcomers say they like it when brands celebrate holidays from their own and other cultures.12 As well, 80% of newcomers say they appreciate emails acknowledging the cultural holiday and celebration in their home country.13
Multicultural marketing is important everywhere, but particularly in Canada, diversity is a part of the country’s identity — and its growth shows no sign of stopping.
This presents Canadian marketers with the unique opportunity to reconsider all aspects of their marketing with regards to newcomers' behaviours and growing interests. Fostering deeper connections will come from the development of custom strategies that engage newcomers to Canada in ways that are creative, relevant, and meaningful.