The growing Asian American population is also growing in buying power, report finds

Its millennial generation is also growing in influence

As the Asian American population continues to boom in the United States, so is their buying power, says a new report. Its young millennial generation is also making big moves.

Released last Tuesday, May 8, a Nielsen report titled “Asian Americans: Digital Lives and Growing Influence” found that as the fastest growing ethnic group in the U.S., Asian Americans have seen their consumer buying power grow up to $986 billion — up 257 percent since 2000, compared to 97 percent for the total U.S.

It’s projected to reach $1.3 trillion by 2022.

This comes as the Asian American population also continues to grow at a faster rate than the general U.S. population, while maintaining education and income rates higher than any other racial ethnic group.

Asians currently represent seven percent of the total U.S. population, with a population of 21.8 million. The Nielsen report cites immigration as having fueled the rapid growth.

Further breaking up consumer spending among Asian Americans, the report found that Asian Americans in California spent the most in 2017 at $323 billion. Following states were New York at $88 billion, and Texas at $78 billion.

It also explored how Asian Americans — differing greatly amongst themselves by country of origin — also differentiate in terms of generation.

The average age of Asian Americans in the U.S. is 35 years old, according to the report. Those aged 18 to 34 are further “very demographically different from their 35 and older counterparts.”

Tech and media savvy millennial generation

More specifically, the report cites the younger generation as being one of the main reasons the ethnic group has evolved into leaders “in everything from technology usage and media consumption, to e-commerce.”

Comparable to the general population, Asian Americans have a “voracious appetite for cutting-edge technology,” wrote the authors. This, they added, makes them attractive to marketers building a digital consumer base.

The report said that Asian Americans are “extremely engaged with technology” and typically over-index against their non-Hispanic White peers, while attributing the engagement to be perhaps enabled by their above average income and education attainment, or influenced by the fact that many Asian countries are technologically advanced. The report referred to the successes of Asian tech companies like Samsung, Sony, and LG.

It also said that the majority (61 percent) of Asian Americans said they preferred products that had the latest in new technology (over-indexing by 17 percent). Thirty-five percent agreed that they were among the first of their friends and colleagues to try new tech products, and like having a lot of gadgets — over-indexing by 37 percent and 26 percent, respectively.

“Asian Americans take pride in finding the latest digital gadgets and showing them off to friends and family,” wrote the authors.

When it comes to consuming media, the report said that Asian Americans are becoming the earliest adopters of new ways to view content, “outpacing the total population with regard to penetration across some of the newest technologies.”

Asian American millennials — the report found — spend most of their digital time (51 percent) on the internet for activities like watching videos, and apps on a smartphone — again more than that of other generations.

Compared to a year earlier, Asian Americans of all age groups were found to be spending less time watching live and DVR TV. They were also spending less time browsing the web on their computers, instead opting for smartphones or using their computer for videos.

And as Asian Americans lead in incorporating digital devices into their daily routines, the report found that most of them also choose to do their shopping online. The average amount spent by Asian Americans on online purchases in the last 12 months was $1,151 — 20 percent higher than that of their non-Hispanic White counterparts.

Asian Americans additionally over-indexed in all dollar categories over $500 and $1,000 or more for online purchases in the last 12 months — up from numbers in 2013.

Top items purchased online from most to least were clothing or accessories, airline tickets, books, other travel reservations, health and beauty items, movie tickets, groceries, and consumer electronics.

Growing influencers

Asian Americans have also increasingly been building their own successful careers — creating their own powerful brands as content creators and social media influencers. This has been in part due to the democratization of media.

“We are seeing Asian Americans rising as trendsetters and leaders in business, sports, fashion, food, and entertainment,” said Mariko Carpenter, vice president of Strategic Community Alliances at Nielsen.

According to the report, Asian Americans have especially had an immense impact of the nation’s food scene, especially in the last 15 years. This is true both in the kitchen and online.

“Asian-American restaurants are booming across the country, with Filipino food, fast-casual Indian and upscale Korean representing the latest dining out trends,” wrote the authors, which tracing the rise back to Korean-American chef David Chang’s Momofuku Noodle Bar which opened in New York in 2004.

Differentiating from that of 1990 Asian fusion cuisines, the report described the newer wave of Asian American contemporary cuisine as being a “new flavor language spoken well only be those fluently ambicultural.”

Online, Asian American food personalities have also found success such as Girl Eat World, NomNom Pale, My Name is Yeh, My Korean Kitchen, Damn Delicious, Kawaling Pinoy, and Angel Wong’s Kitchen — all who the report said are influencing the U.S. food scene.

“Food blogging seems to be a natural fit for the culture,” wrote the authors.

They added that Asian Americans also over-index non-Hispanic Whites by 51 percent for reading restaurant reviews, and by a whopping 124 percent for using Yelp.

They’re also 92 percent more likely than non-Hispanic Whites to read or contribute to blogs.

Many Asian American food bloggers have also brought their influence further with cookbooks, TV shows, product endorsements, and food magazine contributions.

“Authenticity” is what gives Asian Americans big followings, according to the report.

“Their recipes, though influenced by their life and experience as Americans, are in fact authentically Asian — Asian American, that is,” wrote the authors. “U.S. audiences are eating them up, literally.”

But it isn’t just food bloggers rising in influence. The report took note of the rise of social media personalities like YouTube stars Lilly Singh, Ryan Higa, Michelle Phan, Freddie Wong, and Markiplier who have built their own careers and expanded into other media platforms and channels.

The authors also pointed to the changing face of sports and sport fans, highlighting the 14 Asian Americans who competed and caught attention in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Taking notice of its Asian American fan base, the report added that marketers have launched programs like the Golden State Warriors Filipino Heritage Night or the Sacramento Kings Bollywood Night to attract Asian American fans.

But despite the many Asian American actresses and actors gracing mainstream media, the report added that Asian Americans still remain underrepresented — even as the demographic over-index in watching downloaded movies, using TV show subscription services, and going out to movies.

1 Comment
  1. Thank you for this article with great info about our AAPI population. It is well written. Good job Rae Ann.

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