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WPP study: minority ethnic consumer disposable income set to double in coming years


By Sam Bradley, Journalist

November 15, 2022 | 4 min read

A new study from WPP suggests brands need to be more inclusive in their marketing – or be left behind.

paying for something in a shop

WPP’s research suggests that minority ethnic groups will account for a much larger proportion of consumer spend / Unsplash

The spending power of minority ethnic consumers in the UK is set to double over the next 40 years, a study released by British ad agency group WPP has found.

Research carried out by the firm estimates that the total annual disposable income available to minority ethnic groups in Britain will rise to £575bn ($674.79bn).

The report suggests that the cumulative disposable income of minority ethnic groups in the UK over the course of the next four decades could amount to trillions of pounds – a major opportunity, according to Karen Blackett, WPP’s UK president.

“Missed or seemingly small consumer opportunities all add up. Engaging just 1% of minority ethnic groups now will have an immediate effect for brands which multiplies over time to bring medium and long-term commercial growth,“ she said.

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“By taking time to understand the varied and nuanced consumer experiences of people from different ethnic groups, brands have the opportunity to make a positive and lasting impact both on society and their bottom line.”

Critically, the study shows different attitudes among minority ethnic groups compared to white consumers. Seventy-seven percent of people from minority ethnic groups said they made an effort to seek out brands with a social purpose, compared to 56% of white respondents. Meanwhile, 10% more minority ethnic consumers said brands should take part in conversations around climate change than white participants in the survey.

Mark Read, chief executive of WPP, said that the findings should motivate brands to make their brand messaging more inclusive now, not later. “We know that brands who invest come out stronger in times of economic uncertainty. As people look to prioritize their expenditure and change their habits, businesses need to rethink any previous assumptions about minority ethnic spending. The consumer experience – good or bad – directly shapes and influences people’s daily lives, meaning business leaders play a pivotal role in helping to build a more equal and thriving society.”

The study was produced over two years and draws upon data compiled by WPP, GroupM, Ogilvy Consulting; further original research was produced by Kantar, BAV and Choreograph. It surveyed 8,300 people from Black, east and sotuh east Asian, Middle Eastern, south Asian and white ethnic groups in Britain.

Shelina Janmohamed, vice-president of Islamic Marketing at Ogilvy Consulting, and the study's lead author, said the research aimed to improve marketers' understanding of minority ethnic consumers.

“We set out to ask a simple but infrequently asked question that is fundamental to future brand success: what does it mean to stand in the shoes of Minority Ethnic consumers?“

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