British Advertisers Neglect £32bn Ethnic Minority Markets

06 December 2004

British advertisers are effectively ignoring a massive £32 billion ($62bn; €46.3bn) market by turning a blind eye to the media consumption habits of the nation's ethnic minorities.

Ethnic minorities now account for 31% of Londoners and 13% of all 16-34 year-olds. Across the UK as a whole, they account for 8% of the population.

According to the London office of Publicis Groupe's media network Starcom MediaVest, advertisers [and by inference their media agencies] have so far neglected this lucrative market.

The agency has analysed nine TV ad drives targeting the 16-34 age group and discovered the campaigns had a significantly lower recall rate among young black and Asian viewers.

Says the study: "Ethnic minorities have historically made up only a relatively small proportion of the UK population, and so advertisers have developed their targeting around broader factors such as age, sex and disposable income, believing these to be more significant differentiators of both product and media consumption.

"However, as increased immigration is likely to become necessary to stave off the economic effects of an ageing population, advertisers can no longer continue with this approach if they wish to successfully tap into a market which is currently worth £32bn in the UK."

It seems that although young Asians as a group watch more TV than the average viewer, they were the least likely to be reached by the campaigns in question - primarily because of their predisposition to watch BBC or Asian-specific channels.

Young blacks, on the other hand, view twice as much multichannel TV than other viewers. Both ethnic groups watched more TV movies than drama; while the viewing of TV music channels by the 16-34 black demographic was over twice that of the average young adult.

Starcom accuses advertisers of a "lack of sensitivity" toward the programme preferences of ethnic minorities.

Presumably excluding its own clientele (among them BT, Cadbury and Procter & Gamble - all of whom will naturally have seen the light), the agency urges other advertisers to reassess their channel mix and programme selection to reflect both groups' viewing selections more accurately.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff