South Asian grocery shopping habits receives scrutiny

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Vaughan-based grocery store

By Kireet Sharma

South East Asian grocery market is one of the fastest growing market segments in entire Canada. In 2016, it has managed to reach a staggering $6.88B. As South East Asian immigrant population continues to increase, this market is growing exponentially, catching the attention of various major retailers.

One of the most unique aspects of this market is that, this market is insensitive to customer treatment, as South East Asians unlike traditional Americans, tend to evaluate their foods themselves, rather than seeking help of a customer service rep. While Americans view grocery shopping as a social experience, South East Asians tend to be not as socially concerned while shopping for their groceries.

“Indian customers are more well informed, price sensitive, and also value good fast timely service. They also value extra services like CSR’s helping them carry their groceries to car. It allows retailers to build a positive relationship with their customers” Their switching behavior is very rare, and customer brand loyalty is also very high. Majority of South East Asian customers are very highly brand loyal, and very rarely switch brands,” said Mr. Aamir Mahmood owner of Can Asia grocery store in Vaughan.

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It is also a market in which word of mouth plays a very important role. Since television advertisements, and newspapers have been a traditional marketing tool used in South East Asia, it is considered more trustworthy than internet. Mr. Aamir Mahmood said “ Young South East Asian Canadians are very highly influenced by online reviews, and social media marketing”.

Interestingly servicescape does not play as vital role in buying behavior of South East Asians, as it does in American consumers. South East Asians search behavior is very highly internal, as they tend to trust their memories for information rather than seeking out information from external advertising sources.

Post consumption behavior in this market is also very highly evident. Sushil Dahiya who is a resident of Ottawa, said “My Indian friends often provide feedback to retailers about their merchandise freshness, quality, and their satisfaction with the merchandise, so they can improve upon it next time”.

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Mr. Aamir Mahmood adds, “ Most of the complaints that he receives are with regards to pricing, price matching, cashier complaints, and store comparisons”.

In the near future a major South East Asian grocer would be able to compete with big grocery chains. -CINEWS

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