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Most Chinese residents in Metro Vancouver heavily use digital media; both English and Chinese-language media are often used by this growing target market.

Vancouver, BC – A brief look at media habits reveals that Metro Vancouverites who either speak or understand Chinese are using both English and Chinese language media. While many of the sources they rely on are similar to those of other adults in the region, there are some key differences.

According to Census Canada, in 2011, over 432,000, or nearly one-in-five residents of the Vancouver CMA, were of Chinese heritage. Continuing immigration means that the ethnic Chinese population in the region has grown since then, and by all accounts, it is anticipated to continue to grow further. This makes Chinese Canadians a market of growing importance to many organizations.

Insights West, in partnership with Social Insights, undertook some research that measures media habits in Metro Vancouver in January. This study found that Chinese residents differ from the general population in several key ways.

While both groups spend a similar amount of time with various media sources, the degree to which they use many of them is different. Those who speak or understand a Chinese language are significantly more reliant on digital media (including video online, digital magazines as well as any online source in general). They also are more likely to read print magazines. In contrast, they watch far less traditional (non-Internet) TV, and spend significantly less time listening to the radio.


“Findings suggest that organizations who want to market to the Chinese community might need to use a different approach when it comes to the media they use,” says Catherine Dawson, Senior VP at Insights West. “Digital media will be important to include in any outreach plan.”

The results also revealed that few Chinese adults in the region are relying entirely on news and information either in English or in a Chinese language and in fact, that media consumption is split fairly equally between the two. Only 3% of residents do not consume any news or information in English and just one-quarter (26%) relies entirely on English-language media. The majority of the Chinese population is actually using both English and Chinese-language sources, with the average being about half and half in each language.


“Marketers will likely need to communicate to their Chinese customers and potential customers in both languages in order to ensure they are effectively reaching their target,” continues Dawson.

The differences also extend into social media sites used. While Facebook is among the most popular sites for both the general population and Chinese adults in Metro Vancouver, the Chinese community is far less likely to use it (47% weekly versus 66% for the general population). The same is true for Twitter (15% of Chinese use it weekly versus 25% of the general population).

Instead, among those who speak or understand Chinese, many use WeChat, with half of them (48%) relying on it weekly.


About Insights West

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary.

About Social Insights

Social Insights is an innovative market research firm that uses digital media to reach new Chinese consumer in North America, especially the ones that are more affluent and difficult to reach through traditional media and research methodology. More than a market research platform, Social Insights is also an engagement tool, allowing for a fast and ongoing way to gather intelligence at any stage of your marketing, product, or company’s development.

About this Release:

The survey, designed and hosted by Insights West, was conducted online. A sample of 308 ethnic Chinese respondents in Metro Vancouver who understand or speak one or more Chinese languages were collected from Insights Wests’ and Social Insights’ Metro Vancouver panels between January 19 and 26, 2015. The Chinese sample was weighted by age, gender and birth country to ensure the sample matches known population proportions from Census Canada data for Chinese British Columbians. A sample of 735 general population respondents In Metro Vancouver was collected using Insights West’s Your Insights panel between January 5 and 14, 2015. The general population sample was weighted by age and gender to ensure the sample matches known population proportions from Census Canada data for BC.

For further information, please contact:

Catherine Dawson
Senior Vice President, Insights West

Barton Li
Partner, Social Insights