Responding to diverse customers' needs

Two and a half million people from other countries have moved to the UK to work since 2002, with most coming from the new EU members from Eastern Europe (BBC, 25th July 2007).   Whilst these new immigrants represent an expansion of the workforce, many astute companies are targeting them as new customers.The spending power of newly-arrived Polish immigrants alone is now estimated to be worth £3 1/2  billion to British industry (3rd August 2007).

The pub chain, J D Wetherspoon has seen profits rise with the introduction of Polish beers, which have seen the highest sales growth out of any bottled beers (BBC, 2nd March 2007).

Welsh television channel S4C now offers Polish subtitles (BBC, 5th June 2007). In April, Lloyds TSB announced the introduction of its Silver account, which offers a money transfer card so that cash can be sent home (BBC, 24th April 2007). The immigrants represent a significant market segment.   In the past year alone, more than 100,000 new bank accounts in the UK have been opened by Polish customers (BBC, 9th May 2007). It also employed dedicated Polish-speaking staff and translated its brochures (BBC, 8th June 2007).

Apart from employing staff to target specific customers groups, Lloyds TSB also actively aims to encourage a diverse workforce.The Times 100 case study identifies the business advantages of diversity recruitment to Lloyds TSB.It states that Lloyds TSB believes that”with a diverse workforce it will be better placed to understand the needs of all its customers”.


UK gets 2.5m new foreign workers – BBC News, 24 July 2007

BBC News Media Player – Demand Grows for Polish Food

Bank offers Poles language option – BBC News, 9 May 2007

Polish beers boosting Wetherspoon – BBC News, 2 March 2007

The Times 100 Case Study – The business benefits of diversity

Suggested Study Questions:

How might firms offering new products and services targeted at new immigrants focus their advertising/marketing efforts to these groups?

For Economists: Using macroeconomic analysis, identify the implications of rising Polish immigration for the UK inflation rate.