Asian Americans Emerging as Economic Powerhouse

The rapidly growing Asian American population is emerging as a powerful economic force that is expected to have a collective buying power of $1 trillion by 2017.  According to new research from Nielsen, Asian Americans earn more than overall U.S. households and have a median household income of $63,400 versus $49,600.  Currently, 19 million Asian Americans live in the U.S., comprising approximately six percent of the country’s overall population. Asian American


Asian Americans’ increasing buying power and unique purchasing behaviors make this group attractive to marketers. Asian Americans tend to shop more than the average consumer in four key categories including food, transportation, housing, insurance and apparel. When asked about shopping style, 35% said they were “swayable shopaholics,” meaning they enjoy the act of buying and can be impulsive and willing to pay extra for products. Brands are also important to Asian Americans, who on average are more likely to say that they’ll spend more for name brands.

Asian Americans lead the way when it comes to e‑commerce purchases. Seventy-​seven percent of Asian Americans have made an online purchase in the past year, compared with 61% of the general population. Asian Americans are twice as likely as the general population to spend at least $2,500 or more per year on Internet shopping.


Asian Americans are heavy influencers in the digital and media spaces, with higher rates of smartphone usage, online video consumption, and internet connectivity than any other segment. In addition, many enjoy multi-​platform lifestyles. Traditional TV viewing is still the dominant medium that the group watches based on time spent. However, Asian Americans spend an average of 12 hours and 23 minutes a month watching videos on the internet, which is twice as much as the general population. Also, 29% own a smartphone and a tablet and use both simultaneously while watching TV.

As digital users, 77% of Asian Americans made an Internet purchase in the past year, with books, clothing, airfare, computer hardware and software at the top of the shopping list. Nearly three-​quarters of those surveyed said they have smartphones, and 85% said they had used the device to shop, most often making purchases based on multigenerational family needs over their own.

Marketers should continue to offer culturally relevant materials and services, as nearly 70% of the Asian American population speaks a language other than English at home.  Chinese ranks as the second-​most frequently used foreign language in the U.S., after Spanish, with 2.6 million speakers.

To learn more about Asian Americans, check out the AudienceSCAN report available on the Research Store at ad​-ology​.com.

[Source:  "Significant, Sophisticated and Savvy: the Asian American Consumer 2013 Report."  Nielsen.  3 Dec. 2013.  Web.  15 Dec. 2013.]