Second opinion: Great time to realise value of Asian pound
The South Asian community now make up a gigantic 10 per cent of the nation's Gross National Product, writes Chloe Malik.
You only need to look at The Sunday Times Rich List to see how many British Indians are featured, from steel magnates to families who have created food empires.
British Indians have a vast disposable income which they enjoy spending, especially around the time of festivals such as Diwali, celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs.
Diwali is the "festival of lights".
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It extends over five days and this year falls on November 13. The UK hosts some of the biggest Diwali celebrations outside India. Leicester has become synonymous with the festivities, where Melton Road is closed for an evening of cheer and fireworks.
It is staggering that South Asians now account for more than half of all new UK millionaires, so it is essential that companies do research, look at buying habits and the effect of culture, language, religion, westernisation and acculturation. When could be a better time than during Diwali?
The grocery multiples have all woken to the value of the Asian pound, whether it's the 20kg bags of rice in world food aisles, products aimed at the ethnic shopper or genuine specialist foods.
There is also the new age of truly Asian supermarkets offering a complete shop at great prices, making it a one-stop shop.
Another area that should also be promoted during key festivals is items such as cleaning products and soft drinks such as Coke. Just think how much sales of such items increase around Christmas – and Diwali is no different. So why are retailers still blind to such opportunities? A family celebration equals visiting relatives and friends, which means frenzied cleaning and bigger sales of party things such as soft drinks and snacks. There could be Diwali candle calendars available for the countdown to the festival. Grocers all know that the sale of sweets is heightened during Christmas and the same is for Diwali, although Asian methi sweets are the delights of choice. They are a staple gift during this period and Asian sweet shops can't sell enough. Surely here is an opportunity for grocers to cross-sell these celebrations, too. Everyone in the UK loves fireworks and Indian food so why not suggest everyone gives Diwali cards, has a celebratory curry because celebrating and embracing the cultures and religions that make up the UK is something we can all be part of.
Chloe Malik is director of Hot Marketing, in Leicester, which specialises in reaching ethnic audiences.