By Ed Diokno
From food to technology to entertainment, Asian American influence continues to rise in the U.S. and is spanning across the country.
Members of this diverse segment are starting businesses, creating jobs and contributing to the U.S. economy, with a current $825 billion in consumer buying power—which is expected to rise to $1.1 trillion by 2020, according to Asian Americans: Culturally Diverse and Expanding Their Footprint from Nielsen.
As the fastest-growing U.S. population segment with an expanding geographic footprint in the Midwest and South –Asian Americans are expanding beyond traditional immigrant enclaves in the West and Northeast. The Asian American impact on consumer preferences is rippling across mainstream America, with far-reaching implications for brands and marketers. Asian Americans are about 20.5 million strong and represent 6 percent of the U.S. population.
From 2009-2014, the Asian American population grew 25 percent. With immigration from Asian countries continuing to boost the American population, U.S. Census projections show the Asian American population will reach 25.7 million by 2019.
Asian Americans are a very diverse group, representing more than 40 countries of origin. Asians of Chinese ancestry are the largest group, comprising 20 percent of the Asian American population in the U.S. South Asian Indians (17 percent), Filipinos (16 percent), Vietnamese (9 percent), Koreans (9 percent) and Japanese (6 percent) are the next-largest ethnic groups. Multiracial groups are also among the most rapidly expanding segments of Asian Americans, making up 18% of the total Asian American population in 2014.
If current birth rates and immigration rates continue, Asian Americans will outnumber U.S. Latinos by 2055, according to U.S. Census Bureau projections.
“If marketers and companies want to be successful, it is imperative they develop growth strategies that account for Asian Americans’ diverse ethnicities to better resonate with the cultural nuances of this unique multicultural community,” said Betty Lo, vice president, Community Alliances & Consumer Engagement, Nielsen.”This segment not only has culturally specific tastes and preferences, but also buying behaviors that are unique to geographic regions. In addition, U.S. Census projections show that Asian Americans are on track to become the largest immigrant group in the nation by 2055. As entrepreneurs, tech titans and digital content consumers, Asian Americans’ cultural identities will play a unique role in impacting the U.S. economy and marketplace.
- The majority of recent Asian immigrants migrated to large cities; 63 percent live in 15 U.S. cities. The top five destination metro areas for recent Asian immigrants are New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA; Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA; San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA; Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-VA-MD; and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA.
- Between 2009 and 2014, immigration, relocations, and new births have led to a population increase of 33 percent (over 1.1 million) in the South and 29 percent (538,000) in the Midwest.
- The South saw the highest growth in Asian-American buying power (43 percent) between 2010 and 2015 and is projected to continue to see the highest growth in the next five year
- Of the 87 U.S. startup companies valued at over $1 billion with the potential to become publicly traded on the stock market, 19 were founded by Asian American immigrants.
- In the U.S. Census’ recently released Survey of Business Owners, the number of Asian American-owned businesses grew by 24 percent between 2007 and 2012 and claimed the highest percent sales increase (38 percent) of any racial or ethnic group.
- Of the 11.6 million Asian Americans in the workforce, about 70 percent are employees of for-profit businesses, 12 percent are government employees, 7 percent work for nonprofits, and 9 percent are self-employed, while 1 percent are unemployed.
- Seventy-nine percent of Asian Americans agree they prefer cooking with fresh food rather than canned or frozen food. On average, Asian Americans purchase 69 percent more fresh seafood, 72 percent purchase more fresh vegetables, and 29 percent purchase more fresh fruits than the general population. Asian American shoppers say they are more likely to buy and pay more for recyclable and eco-friendly products than the general population
- More and more consumers of other races and ethnicities are adopting Asian American cooking styles and habits. Items such as soy milk, seaweed, Asian curries and many others are entering mainstream markets.
- Nearly half of Asian Americans watching English TV also watch TV in an Asian language (dual-language viewers)
- Asian Americans outpace the general population in ownership of all three major Internet personal devices: smartphones, household computers and tablets. Online purchasing sentiment outpaces the general market, as well.
- Asian Americans take the lead in using multimedia devices, averaging almost twice the minutes per day of the general population; they spend half the time on live TV as the general population. Additionally, Asian American households have a much lower rate of DVR usage (43 percent) than the general population (62 percent). Sixty-eight percent of Asian American households have subscription video on demand (SVOD) services, a 21 percent higher rate than the general population.
“Nielsen has been a longtime partner to Asian American and Pacific Islander-serving organizations by providing culturally sensitive data about our multifaceted community,” said Nita Song, co-chair, Nielsen Asian Pacific American External Advisory Council and President, IW Group.
Producers in Hollywood who are resistant to casting Asian Americans in significant roles should take note of the report. The market for movies and television programs featuring more diverse casts is obviously there if the decision-makers in the entertainment industry could overcome their inherent biases.
“Without these diverse insights, we would not be aware of the tremendous buying power and cultural influence that Asian Americans have on the mainstream market.”
Ed Diokno writes a blog :Views From The Edge: news and analysis from an Asian American perspective.