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Grocery sector failing to keep up with demographic shift

The profile of the average Australian consumer is rapidly changing, with Asian-born Australians now making up 10 per cent of the overall population, new research from Nielsen shows.

“Asian-born Australians are the biggest growing demographic in Australia today and represent more than 10 per cent of the overall population – more than doubling in 20 years and showing no signs of slowing,” Justin Sargent, CEO Pacific at Nielsen, said.

“This is a great opportunity for brands and retailers. Asian-born consumers are growing in importance and engaging with them requires a change in focus. Very few companies in Australia have embraced this to date.

“For example, Asians’ food preferences are very different compared to the rest of the consumer population – they want more fresh produce, more seafood and healthier food options,” he added.

Nielsen’s Ethnic-Australian Consumer Report shows that grocery spend for overseas-born Australians is growing at a faster rate then their Australian-born counterparts.

Overseas-born Australians will spend a total of $18.7 billion (or 28 per cent) on grocery items in the next five years. This represents an increase of $4.4 billion in incremental revenue, with Asian-born consumers making up 57 per cent of this growth.

These consumers devote almost a third of their grocery spend to fresh food and importantly three-quarters would shop more at mainstream supermarkets if there was a greater international selection.

Asian-born Australian consumers tend to be well informed with almost half being influenced by retailer catalogues and brochures. This group are highly price sensitive and are most likely to compare prices online before purchasing.

They are more likely to read product labels, are influenced by comments and reviews online and are willing to pay extra for well-known brands. They are also twice as likely to be influenced by their children when shopping.

“Meeting the needs of Asian born Australians is key to maximising these growth opportunities. Marketers need to re-examine their short and longer-term strategies to engage with this growing consumer group,” Sargent said.

“Brands and retailers may consider more in-store product variations, increased nutritional information and more focused promotional events.

“Importantly, the changing Australian demographic impacts on the whole population. Australians as a whole are buying more international foods and flavours,” hes said.

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