Asian-Americans spend more than US average, survey shows

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Asian-Americans have emerged as the most prolific and impulsive buyers in the nation, according to a Nielsen survey released this month.

They prefer Costco over Wal-Mart, brand names over generics and lead the nation as a demographic in online buying. As a group, their spending power outpaces the coveted millennials — those in their 20s and early 30s, according to Nielsen’s “Significant, Sophisticated and Savvy: the Asian-American Consumer 2013.”

Asian-American households, on average, boast incomes of $100,000 or more — earning more than general U.S. households and representing the highest among multicultural groups, according to the findings.

Asian-Americans are the fastest-growing multicultural segment in the nation, with a population of nearly 19 million, and with an increase expanding beyond the traditional hubs of the West Coast and New York City. Asian-Americans continue to swarm to urban areas, with all states except Hawaii experiencing 33 percent or more growth in the last year.

The survey also concluded that:

—Asian-American households spent 19 percent more than overall households in 2012, with much of the spending focused on food, transportation, housing, clothing and insurance.

—Asian-Americans tend to live with multiple generations under one roof, making shopping decisions based on culture, value, efficiency and convenience. This population, compared with the general population, recorded more trips to warehouse clubs, mass merchandisers and drugstores.

—Asian-Americans lead in online buying, with 77 percent making an Internet purchase in the past year, compared with 61 percent of the general population. Moreover, they are digital pioneers, adopting technology faster than any other segment and showing higher rates of smartphone use, online video consumption and Internet connectivity.

By 2017, Asian-Americans are expected to surpass $1 trillion in consumer buying power, “showing their influence and reach and the need for marketers to continue to offer culturally relevant materials,” said Betty Lo, vice president of public affairs for Nielsen, which conducted the survey.

Its first report on the consumer habits of the population emerged last year, and since then, “people have been telling us they’re hungry for a serious, thorough compilation,” leading to the current survey.

In-language and culturally sensitive programming and services are more crucial, she said, with nearly 70 percent of Asian-Americans speaking a language other than English. Chinese ranks as the second-most popular foreign language in the U.S., after Spanish.


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