Asian American buying power topped $1 trillion in 2018, Nielsen report finds

Asian American and Pacific Islander spending power in the U.S. topped $1 trillion in 2018 and is expected to break $1.3 trillion by 2023.
Image: Hudson Yards
The purchasing power of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders will be an area of opportunity for businesses over the next decade, according to a new Nielsen consumer report.Spencer Platt / Getty Images file

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By Charles Lam

Asian American and Pacific Islander spending power in the U.S. topped $1 trillion in 2018 and is expected to break $1.3 trillion by 2023 as the community’s younger spenders mature, a new Nielsen report has found.

The report, titled “Informed Influencers and Powerful Purchasers: The Asian American Consumer Journey” and released Thursday, is based on several of Nielsen’s surveys and consumer panels. The data came from those who reported their race as Asian American or Pacific Islander alone or in combination with other racial groups.

Last year’s report pegged Asian American buying power at about $986 billion. This year’s report is Nielsen’s seventh annual report on Asian Americans.

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Asian American and Pacific Islander purchasing will be an area of opportunity for businesses over the next decade, the report said, given the population’s quick growth and youth as well as its influence online.

Asian Americans are the fastest growing population in the U.S., according to a 2017 Asian Americans Advancing-Los Angeles analysis of census data. In the six years after the 2010 census, the Asian American population grew 21 percent to about 21.4 million, the analysis found. The total U.S. population grew less than 5 percent during the same time period.

And Nielsen noted that the average age for Asian Americans (35.4 years) was younger than that of the total population (38.7 years), while life expectancy for Asian Americans (86.7 years) is higher than average (78.9 years).

“Brands interested in ‘what’s next’ need to take a serious look at this burgeoning and predictive segment,” Mariko Carpenter, Nielsen’s vice president of strategic alliances, said in a statement.

Among the report’s findings were that Asian Americans owned smart phones and computers at higher than average rates; preferred to consume content digitally; shopped online more than average; and liked recommending products to the people they knew more than the average American.

Asian Americans were also more likely than average to agree that their family played a role in their purchasing choices, Nielsen found.

“Insightful marketers who understand the thriving influence of Asian Americans can activate strategies to meet their unique needs and will be the first to benefit from this prime opportunity to drive relevance and future growth,” the report read. “Given the outsized influence of Asian Americans in the U.S. path to purchase, these strategies will allow marketers to remain on the forefront of meeting the needs of the new American mainstream — a younger mainstream that is increasingly diverse and multicultural.”

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