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Planning to promote your product among the Polish community in the UK? Well… get ready for a tough opponent. Poles in the UK are quite a specific, but interesting target group. When you approach them skillfully, they will return the favour. If you don’t do it right, don’t count on fruitful cooperation and loyal customers. Today we have a collection of information that you absolutely should know about. Without it, don’t even start ethnic marketing to Polish people in the UK!

Table of contents:

  1. A Pole in the UK has more than one name
  2. Be prepared to compete with Polish brands
  3. Income of Polish expats is on the rise
  4. What do Poles spend their money on?
  5. Don’t touch Polish culture (well, unless you understand it)

1. A Pole in the UK has more than one name

Let’s start with the absolute basics. To start with, you need to get to know your “opponent”. You think the typical Pole in the UK is a 40-year-old manual worker who doesn’t speak English very well and doesn’t like to spend money?

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Polish community in the UK is a group that has been developing very dynamically for years.  The vast majority of Poles living in the UK are representatives of generations X and Y (born between 1966 and 1994). According to UKE’s statistics, the vast majority (over 90%) of Poles in the UK have completed secondary education. Many of them also have higher education. The most popular professions include caretaker, driver, customer service workers and employees in hotel and catering, along with those in the educational, administrative and financial sectors.

More and more Polish expats are also running their own businesses, often aimed specifically at the Polish community. Particularly noteworthy is the group of the youngest Polish emigrants. They no longer resemble those who emigrated to the UK during the communist era. Young Polish millennials in the UK are demanding and aware of their needs. They are also often fussy. Although they still like promotions, they are rather conscious of their needs. It’s better not to push marketing junk on them or they’ll do an “over party” on you.

2. Be prepared to compete with Polish brands

It is not without reason that in the previous paragraph we mentioned the growing number of Poles running their own businesses in the UK. Before Brexit, the number of Polish entrepreneurs in the UK numbered almost 90,000. Polish entrepreneurs are eager to try their hand at business in the UK especially due to the ease of running a company there and clearer tax laws (much more accessible than in Poland). The dominant industries are life and business coaching, transport, beauty, health, as well as cleaning and legal/accounting services.

How does this statistic relate to your potential Polish clients and your ethnic marketing strategy to Poles?

You need to know that Poles, on the whole, simply like to support Polish brands and Polish entrepreneurs. They appreciate Polish language on labels, customer service in their own language, and even social media communication conducted in Polish. So if you want to strike out with your product or service specifically to the Polish Polonia, you need to be aware that you will be competing with Polish companies. A good strategy on how you want to stand out and what USP (unique selling proposition) to give is essential.

3. Income of Polish expats is on the rise

Unlike ‘first wave’ Poles, current Poles living in the UK are not solely focused on saving and living in modest conditions. More and more Poles are settling in the UK permanently, so they do not want to give up decent living conditions. They are willing to not only invest in real estate or land (buying your own flat or building a house – even on credit – is an everyday occurrence and a completely normal matter in Poland), but also in bonds, trusts and ISAs.

Poles in the UK spend over £500 per week (per family) on food, household goods, bills and fuel. When it comes to lifestyle and approach to spending, they are similar to the British. They value high quality, increasingly pay attention to fair trade and ecology, and care about health (their own and the planet’s). Just as the older Poles are more likely to choose stationary shops, the younger ones are much more likely to buy online (therefore, a solid online advertising campaign is an absolute must have for every company that directs its advertising message to the young Polish community in the UK).

4. What do Poles spend their money on?

Here are some basic differences between Polish and native-born UK residents. The vast majority of Poles in the UK – even those born in the UK – adopt Polish consumer behaviour and habits. As statistics show, Poles are far more attentive to the quality of food products. They are able to pay for Polish bread, dairy products or cold cuts and they value Polish food brands (hence the popularity of Polish shops in the UK). Polish mums spend less money on modified milk for babies and more on non-toxic nappies. Polish women are also far more willing to buy natural cosmetics (skincare and makeup), often ordering them directly from Poland. They approach the subject of ecology with responsibility and are interested in solar energy.

Do they sound like perfect people?

Well, that’s not quite the case. Poles like to spend money on alcohol, as well as… medicines and dietary supplements. A lot of the credit for this goes to the commercials that dominate, for example, on Polish television. If your brand produces supplements, Poles will be your loyal customers.

5. Don’t touch Polish culture (well, unless you understand it)

Polish food and Polish holidays are something you should have it at your fingertips if you plan to promote your product or service to Polish expats in the UK. However, there is nothing worse for them than a foreign brand pretending to be a Polish brand. Polish culture is full of “sanctities” that must not be touched, as well as unusual rituals that are cultivated all the time.

Here are some of them:

– Name day – or calendar “name day” is for many Poles (especially the older ones) an event more important than birthdays.

– Easter – this holiday in the Polish tradition is more important than Christmas. The celebrations are rather no different to those in Britain, apart from the food served on the table.

– Pierogi, kiełbasa, schabowy, bigos and barszcz are Polish ‘national goods’. So is Polish vodka – an obligatory part of every celebration.

– 6 December – so called St. Nicholas’ Day (Father Christmas Day). In many Polish homes it is on this day that Father Christmas brings presents to children. Worth remembering!

Ok, you already have a little basic knowledge about Poles in the UK. However, you need to know that this is only a drop in the ocean to what you should pay attention to when targeting them with your marketing messages. If you are looking for a professional Polish advertising agency in London that can take care of ethnic marketing to Polish people in the UK for you, contact us. We will be happy to help.