Ethnic groups as market segments: implications of the demand structure
Ethnic market potential in Britain has not yet been
thoroughly researched. Important recent trends have focused
mainly on the affective and emotional aspects of ethnicity,
and included deliberations on the emergence of a revitalised
neo-ethnic consciousness, its identification, politicisation,
and the impact on it, of a risirg third-world consciousness.
This investigation attempts to take cognizance of the
consumer demand of the ethnic Asian and West Indian groups,
as specific market segments. It discusses the rationale for
ethnic segmentation on the underlying premise, that the
starting point for all product marketing is a response to
perceived market opportunities.
On the basis of this approach; the UK laundry detergent and
automobile markets were investigated; as being representative
of product categories constituting extremes along the
purchase-search-time continuum in consumer decision-making.
Ethnic groups were further analysed for their retail
patronage patterns, media usage, and the differential
effectiveness of alternative advertisirg strategies.
The basic technique of marketing research namely the sample
survey, was used with the aim of applying scientific
techniques in obtaining information on ethnic groups. The
integrated marketing framework utilised allowed, moreover,
for the collection of market research data on the specific
issues of ethnic product penetration dealing with retailing,
advertising and product promotion.
The evidence highlights the fact that the cultural
orientations of ethnic groups are instrunental in providing
for differential demand structures. It points to the answer
that ethnicity is an anchor not only for a deeper sense of
identity, but also serves as a focus for the economic
interests of ethnic groups. On this basis it is argued here,
that since cultural levelling would eventually produce
stagnation; current marketing strategies should utilise
ethnic diversity as an economic artifact, which, per se is
necessary for profitability and growth, especially in
innovative product design and development.