Despite $509B in Annual Buying Power, Asian Pacific Americans Often Overlooked By Marketers

Asian Pacific Americans (APAs) are among the most influential and important sectors of U.S. society often overlooked by marketers and major corporations, business leaders and experts, according to new research.  Even with annual "purchasing power of $509 billion," Asian Americans don't always get consideration by marketers, said Saul Gitlin, Executive Vice President of Strategic Services at Kang & Lee Advertising, which was ranked the #1 Asian Multicultural Agency by Advertising Age in April 2012. 

"They're amongst the most attractive 'kids in the house' who for some reason aren't getting invited out," Gitlin told a packed crowd. "We're constantly trying to shine a spotlight on the Asian-​American demographic."

The comments were reiterated by actor Sendhil Ramamurthy of Heroes fame, who said a tendency to ignore Asian-​Americans permeates into the entertainment industry. The general lack of Asian faces in popular culture highlights their invisibility in all aspects of society beyond certain stereotypical roles, he said.

"Asians play certain characters," Ramamurthy said. "They play the doctor, or they play the smart guy. That's very much still the case."

Asia Society's 2012 Asian Pacific Americans Corporate Survey, picked up on similar issues in the workplace.  Just 49% of APA employees feel they "belong" in the companies that employ them. Coupled with the lack of APA senior leaders and role models, this indicates that companies are overlooking APAs both inside and outside their corporate walls.

[Source:  "2012 Asian Pacific Americans Corporate Survey."  Asia Society.  13 June 2012.  Web.  27 June 2012.]