Essentials of Asian Marketing Part I: Demographics, Purchasing Power & Media

While millennials and Hispanics are currently the most coveted consumer segments, Asian consumers shouldn’t be overlooked. They represent a growing opportunity for marketers and brands, due to their fast growth and purchasing power. What does the U.S. Asian segment look like?  Our latest research explores four key areas to help brands gain a better understanding of these important consumers. 

Rapid Growth

Due to immigration restrictions, the Asian population in the U.S. grew very slowly for over a century. It wasn’t until the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 that large-scale Asian immigration to the U.S. started. Despite the slow start, the Asian segment is not only outpacing all the ethnic groups in terms of population growth, it’s growing about 1.5 times faster than the Hispanic segment!

About 90% trace their roots to just five countries—China, India, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Korea. Among U.S. Asians, Chinese are the most numerous and Koreans the least, as shown below.

As part of this study we looked at the origin of immigrants over the last decade.  Most new immigrants now come from Asian countries, namely China and India, which have replaced Mexico as the top country for sending immigrants to the US.

Huge Economic Opportunity

Asians are the fastest-growing population and have higher median incomes than non-Asians. They are also the segment with the fastest-rising purchasing power. To put their economic force into context, their purchasing power is roughly equivalent to Indonesia’s GDP, the 16th largest economy in the world.

While Asians are only about 6% of the U.S. population, they accounted for about 19% of the real total expenditures growth between 2005 and 2015.

Marketers and brands should pay close attention on how to best cater to these consumers in the years to come.


Over 40% of Asians live in just six metro areas.  The highest concentrations of Chinese and Indians live in New York City. While the majority of Filipinos, Korean, and Vietnamese reside in Los Angeles.

Due to the shift in immigration flow to the US, the contribution of immigration to the overall population growth is greater for Asians than it is for Hispanics. About 66% of non-Hispanic Asians are foreign born. This holds true across the five different Asian sub-segments where the majority are foreign born.

The median age of US Asians is 38, five years lower than that of non-Asians. When you look at age by Asian origin, the differences become even starker. The median age for Indians is 33 – that’s 10 years younger than the median age for non-Asians.

While the top five Asian segments are highly concentrated in a select number of metro areas, are mostly foreign born and skew younger, it is crucial for marketers to understand the ethnic origin differences across Chinese, Indian, Filipino, Korean, and Vietnamese consumers.

Media Landscape

The difference between the share of Asians who consume TV versus streaming services is much smaller than for non-Hispanic white consumers, across Asian origin. This means that brands are almost equally likely to reach Asians with ads shown on regular TV, as they are in streaming channels.

Roughly a quarter of Vietnamese, Indian, and Korean consumers report that they choose to watch online videos over TV programming because it’s easier to find Asian content online. However, 45% of Indians consider it important to be able to watch Asian-themed content, regardless of platform.

Between a quarter and a third of Asians go to YouTube to research potential purchases. Asians are significantly more likely than non-Hispanic White consumers to go to YouTube. Chinese, Indian, and Vietnamese consumers are more likely to research future purchases on YouTube than on Facebook.

Brands must optimize marking efforts for digital video platforms and consider the devices Asian consumers use to stream content.

Media brands can get ahead of the curve and separate themselves from the crowd by offering the Asian-themed content craved by U.S. Asians.

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