of those newcomers that came to Canada only 1 year ago, a staggering 94% already own either a mobile phone or tablet


As our Cultural Markets team has noted time and again, Canadian newcomers are a lucrative, untapped market for many brands. By understanding the ethnocultural differences between groups of newcomers, brand managers can create communications that speak directly to specific cultural segments. Sadly, even the most well-crafted communication won’t resonate with your audience if it isn’t reaching them in the right space—and today, more often than not, that space is a digital one.


With digital ad buys increasing every year in Canada, and making up a larger and larger percentage of marketing budgets, understanding the right placement for your marketing communications means understanding how your target audience is interacting with technology.


The Cultural Markets team at Environics Research has studied the newcomer population in Canada extensively for over a decade. In our annual study regarding newcomer financial services usage and affinity, we surveyed 1,148 new Canadians who had moved here within the past 10 years. To better understand technological savviness, we asked about mobile/tablet ownership in our 2016 study, as well as use of social media tools, and found that newcomers are a much more tech-savvy population than many might have thought. For starters, our research shows that, of those newcomers who came to Canada only one year ago, a staggering 94% already own either a mobile phone or tablet.


By breaking that number down by the specific device being used across three wealth segments, we note that, of the wealthiest segment of newcomers (those with over $75,000 in investable assets), over half report owning an Android smartphone.

Proportion Of Mobile Device Ownership Among Canadian Newcomers By Investable Assets

Looking at tablet ownership among the same group of wealthy newcomers, we see that Apple’s iPad tops the list, with Samsung’s Galaxy Tablet coming in a close second.

Proportion Of Tablet Ownership Among Canadian Newcomers By Investable Assets

While the type of device owned by this wealthy group of newcomers may not seem like immediately relevant information for your marketing team, remember that a digital ad buy will need to be optimized for a particular screen resolution and web browser. Understanding the differences in these devices, and knowing which device your target audience is most likely using, can be the difference between a legible and illegible marketing communication.

Further to seeing the adoption of new technologies, our study also found a high degree of social media usage among Canadian newcomers. We asked respondents which social networking sites or apps they used and found that 63% of all newcomers had used Facebook that very day. Breaking that number down, again by amount of investable assets, we can see that Facebook is unquestionably the most popular network among all groups, but preferences for apps such as Google+ can vary significantly between demographics. Thirty-eight percent of the wealthiest newcomers reported using Google+ the day they were surveyed; but among newcomers with no investable assets, that usage dropped to 20%.

Same Day Social Network Usage Among Canadian Newcomers By Investable Assets

Compare that to those same social networks across usage by country of origin and we begin to see how varied the cross-section of social networks can be. Of newcomers from South Asia, for example, 62% had used WhatsApp that day; among Filipino newcomers, that figure drops to only 27%.

Same Day Social Network Usage Among Canadian Newcomers By Country Of Origin

All of this highlights a very important point for brand managers—not all newcomers are found in the same digital space. While newcomers as whole are relatively tech-savvy, their technological preferences are quite varied. Delivering the appropriately optimized message in the correct space requires a full understanding of your target audience. Of course, like all things digital, these preferences can change quickly. A popular new app can pop up overnight and there is a steady stream of new devices arriving on the market every day. Companies that want to generate effective marketing communications need to keep up with the latest data.

If your brand is leveraging this lucrative market, our upcoming 2017 Financial Services Among New Canadians Syndicated Study is the most effective way to get the latest data and understanding of this important segment of the population.


Contact VP of Cultural Markets and Financial Services, Bernice Cheung for more information.

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