A recent Nielsen report reveals that the buying power of the Asian American population has increased 523% since 1990 and is expected to reach over $1 trillion within the next five years. In fact, Asian Americans are such a powerful consumer base that if they were their own country, they would be the 18th largest economy in the world.

Nielsen analysts describe the Asian American consumer demographic as “growing, affluent, well-educated, geographically concentrated, technologically savvy” with “tremendous buying power that continues to soar.” According to Frank Piotrowski, Nielsen’s senior vice president of measurement science, “the Asian-American consumer group is one that marketers simply cannot ignore.”

US Census statistics show that there are currently 18.2 million Asian Americans, with that number expected to increase to 20.9 million by 2017. The demographic comprises a number of countries of origin but 86% of the Asian American population come from China, India, Philippines, Vietnam, Korea or Japan. The Chinese make up the bulk of the Asian American population with 22%, followed by Asian Indians at 19% and Filipinos at 18%.

The Nielsen report also analyzes the habits and buying behavior of Asian American consumers, finding that they like to shop more often than other demographics and are less likely to use shopping lists and coupons. For business owners, this means that Asian American consumers are likely to be influenced by product assortment, signage and deals in stores.

Businesses hoping to attract Asian American consumers should consider using a multilingual approach. Though 61% of Asian Americans say they speak English very well, more than three-quarters use another language at home, indicating that their language of preference is likely not English.

The report advises that to effectively reach this market, “it is imperative for marketers to utilize the Asian-language and/or Asian-culture media to convey culturally tailored messages that can resonate with the Asian American audience.” For example, studies indicate that placing in-language coupons or placing coupons in Asian newspapers increases their redemption rate.

Because Asian Americans live mostly on the coasts, they are easy to target with geographically specific ads, products and services. They also have a strong sense of cultural identity which businesses and marketers would be well advised to take into consideration.


Hsu, Tiffany. “Asian American consumers: Nearing $1 trillion in buying power.” LA Times.

State of the Asian American Consumer. Nielsen.

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