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How Americans Celebrate the Lunar New Year

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How Americans Celebrate the Lunar New Year
As we enter the Year of the Tiger, learn how Asian American consumers prepare for and celebrate Lunar New Year. Read on for insights curated from our 2021 Holidays & Occasions research.
 

This Lunar New Year begins on February 1st and will say goodbye to the year of the Ox and hello to the year of the Tiger. Lunar New Year marks the beginning of the calendar year for cultures whose months are moon-cycles and notes the transition between different zodiac signs. Celebrations in 2022 will last from February 1st to February 15th. While Lunar New Year is often referred to as Chinese New Year, it is important to note that Non-Chinese cultures that celebrate New Year do not necessarily refer to their holiday as Chinese New Year. For example, South Korean Americans often celebrate Korean New Year and Vietnamese Americans celebrate Tet. Regardless of how they refer to the holiday, almost half of Asian Americans we surveyed told us they celebrate Lunar New Year!

This holiday is really about time with the family and is usually celebrated with having special foods or drinks. Gifting money in red or white envelopes is also a key part of the occasion, generally given from adult to children to pass on a year of good fortune and blessings.

Another key part of this holiday is the climactic ending, through the Lantern Festival. Activities that are part of the Festival include lion and dragon dancing, stilt-walkers, and eating rice balls.

While Asian Americans are split on whether brands should activate on Lunar New Year, very few believe that they should never do it.

If brands do market or advertise about Chinese or Lunar New Year, Asian Americans — especially those who are Chinese and Vietnamese — want them to explain what the holiday is about and why it is important. Sharing stories of people celebrating the holiday, showing how to support Asian Americans and the issues this segment faces, and what people can do to celebrate the holiday also rank quite high.

So what should your brand do if you want to market during the Chinese or Lunar New Year?

  1. Build awareness of what Lunar New Year is and why it is importantPanda Express did just this through an ad campaign in 2021 that taught a young child the important traditions that make up this holiday.
  2. Highlight how your brand supports Lunar New Year through increased representation of the components that make this holiday special (e.g., food, décor). Target offers a great example of this by highlighting Jing Gao on their website. Jing Gao is the Founder and CEO of Fly By Jing and is bringing Chinese flavors to American households. Her brand is now available at Target.
  3. Include Lunar New Year as part of a larger promotion of holidays and occasions celebrated by multicultural consumers. American Girl has done this through their recently released celebration outfits which includes Lunar New Year, Kwanzaa, Diwali, Eid al-Fitr, and Hannukah.

Learn more about our Holidays & Occasions work and contact us via the form below to access deeper insights on our cultural intelligence platforms.

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Most Americans (58%) Want Businesses to Engage in Social and Political Issues

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Most Americans (58%) Want Businesses to Engage in Social and Political Issues

One in Four Gen Z Consumers Will Stop Buying from Brands That Do Not Take a Stance on an Important Issue

November 10th, 2021
Mollie Turner – Senior Director of Marketing

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American consumers are experiencing a second year of unprecedented change, giving 2020 solid competition for an emerging set of challenges for U.S. businesses. Political polarization, COVID-19, race relations, immigration, LGBTQ+ rights and climate change have been top of mind for consumers this year–leading to shifts in consumer expectations of businesses.

“Most Americans want brands to engage in social and political issues,” says David Wellisch, Collage Group CEO and Co-Founder. “The numbers are even more striking when we look by specific issues. For example, 85% of Americans want brands to play a role in ending the COVID-19 pandemic and alleviating its impact. And, then there’s the stick—we see younger Americans, bicultural Hispanics, and Black Americans are much more willing to penalize brands for non-action on issues they see as important.”

These are just a few of the many datapoints on shifts in American consumer behaviors since 2020 available in Collage Group’s America Now: How We Have Changed Since 2020 report. Research led by Chief Product Officer David Evans, Senior Director of Product & Content Bryan Miller, PhD, and Director of Product & Content Jack Mackinnon, unveils changes to diverse consumer attitudes at a key juncture in American history. The results come from a survey fielded in September 2021 of 3,785 Americans, representing Americans across race, ethnicity, generation, sexuality and gender.

Fill out the form to view a recording and download a sample from our research presentation, Multicultural America Now.

Multicultural America Now

Key insights illuminated in the research include:

  1. Most Americans (58%) Want Brands to Engage in Social and Political Issues
      • Stopping COVID-19, improving race relations and halting climate change are the top three social and political issues consumers want brands to support.
      • The majority (85%) of Americans want brands to play a role in ending the COVID-19 pandemic and alleviating its impact.
      • The majority (59%) of Americans believe corporations bear the responsibility of fighting climate change – not individuals.
      • The majority (55%) of consumers across all generations acknowledge the urgency of taking action on climate change.
  2. Race and Ethnicity is the #1 Way Multicultural Americans Self-Identify, Regardless of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, or Sexuality­
      • Race and Hispanic ethnicity are the most common self-descriptors for multicultural Americans, ranking higher than personality, age/life stage, country of origin, being American, sexuality, gender and more.
      • Multicultural Americans report an increased interest in buying from brands that support people of their racial and ethnic background—an ~11% increase on average in 2021 comes on top of a 2020 baseline of ~52% of consumers.
  3. Empathetic Gen Z Support Black and LGBTQ+ Americans Much More Than Older Generations (+15%)
      • The majority of Gen Z consumers wants brands to support women (56%) and Black Americans (55%).
      • Inaction is risky for brands with younger consumers, as 26% of Gen Z would stop using or buying a brand if it did not take a stance on an important issue.
  4. COVID-19 Worries Remain for Two-Thirds of Americans, and Their Concern Is Tied Primarily to Economic Factors (64%)
      • Nearly two-thirds of Americans are still concerned about COVID-19, with Asian Americans feeling the most concern at 72%, up 4% since 2020.
      • Most Americans (64%) are concerned they may not have enough money to keep up with monthly expenses; Hispanic Americans are the most concerned with 3 in 4 (74%) citing the concern.
  5. Many Multicultural Americans Have Reprioritized What Matters Most to Them vs. One Year Ago
      • Multicultural Americans say being happy and healthy (41%), saving money (33%) and supporting family and community (27%) are now their top priorities.
      • The majority (54%) of Hispanic Americans say being healthy and happy is much more important to them today than it was one year ago.

“Engaging authentically with an increasingly diverse America can be hard, and missteps are easy,” says David Wellisch. “But our research illustrates that not engaging is not an option, especially during challenging times. This is consumer expectation.”

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Mollie Turner

Mollie Turner
Senior Director of Marketing

Mollie Turner is the Senior Director of Marketing at Collage Group where she leads growth, engagement and brand initiatives. She is a seasoned marketing and communications executive, with 20 years of experience spanning B2B, non-profit and agency roles across various industries.

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Diwali 2021: What Should My Brand Do?

Diwali 2021: What Should My Brand Do?

It’s not too late to activate! With two thirds of Indian Americans celebrating Diwali, brands will want to make their mark on this important holiday. Keep reading to learn what Asian consumers expect from brands like yours on this festival of lights.

Diwali is one of the major festivals celebrated among Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and many Buddhists. The holiday lasts five days, and it coincides with the Hindu New Year according to their lunisolar calendar. Though it falls on November 4 this year, Diwali has some similarities to other winter and New Year’s celebrations, and comes with distinct cultural traditions.

Read on for key facts about the holiday, insights on how Asian American consumers celebrate, and ideas for how your brand can get involved.

What is Diwali?

Diwali honors the conclusion of the Ramayana, a key Hindu text and one of two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India. It celebrates the triumphant return of Prince Rama after a 14-year exile, the rescue of his wife Sita, and his coronation as king. Rejoicing in Rama’s victories, Diwali celebrants honor light itself amidst the darkness of coming winter.  And for many Asian Americans, Diwali is an explicitly religious holiday, with the Goddess Lakshmi – symbolizing wealth and purity – a key focus.

Traditions of Diwali​

    • Candles and firecrackers are popular in Diwali celebrations, with diya oil lamps one of the more traditional means of proving light in the darkness
    • Rangoli is an art form common in Diwali preparations, where colored sand, flower petals, rocks, and powdered stone are arranged in colorful, patterned designs on a flat surface
    • Sweet foods are a traditional component of Diwali celebrations, with many preparing malpua pancakes, laddu balls, and other fare to eat and share
    • Puja is a worship ritual common among Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains. On Diwali, offerings of light, flowers, sustenance, or song accompany these rituals, largely directed towards the Goddess Lakshmi

Among Indian Americans, having special food and drink is the most common way to celebrate Diwali. Eating and gifting sweets is therefore a key component of American Diwali, but many other customs – including fireworks, clothing, decorations, and religious ceremonies – are also popular.

Key Consumer Insights

According to Collage Group’s 2021 Holidays and Occasions study, 13% of the Asian American population celebrates Diwali, with 67% of Indian Americans making up the bulk of celebrants. Diwali therefore has a niche, but dedicated market.

Which means many brands may be wondering if they have permission to play.

Among Indian Americans, brands largely have a green light to focus on education. Most Indian Americans say brands should use their Diwali activations to explain what the holiday is and why it’s important, given that half of Americans – and 42% of Asian Americans – are not familiar with the festival at all. And Many Indian Americans also support brands sharing stories of people observing the holiday, as well as showing others what they can do to help celebrate.

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Four Group Traits That Best Characterize Asian American Consumers

Four Cultural Traits That Best Characterize Asian American Consumers
Collage Group’s latest consumer report on Asian Cultural Traits provides powerful new insights into this critically important demographic. Fill out the form to download an excerpt specific to the expertise-seeking cultural trait.
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The Asian American segment is the fastest-growing racial/ethnic segment in the United States today. By 2060, Collage Group projects the Asian segment will almost double in size to 36 million people—roughly 9% of the total U.S. population. To capture this growth, brands and marketers must deepen their understanding of the Asian consumer segment.

Fill out the form to view a sample from our research on consumer attitudes and behaviors around Unique Asian American Cutural Traits.

Which Cultural Traits best characterize Asian Consumers?

The four Group Traits that best characterize the Asian segment areCultural Duality, Conventionality, Reservedness, and Expertise-Seeking.

1. Cultural Duality

Cultural Duality captures the feeling of being both “American” and simultaneously identifying with another culture or heritage.

Individuals exhibiting this Group Trait constantly find new ways to both keep old traditions alive and redefine American culture in their own image. Both Asian and Hispanic Americans strongly exhibit this group trait.

While Asian Americans strongly believe in upholding the traditions of their countries of origin, they also feel a connection with American culture. This embrace of multiple aspects of their backgrounds leads to cultural fluidity – the ability to seamlessly navigate multiple cultural spheres – and a unique Asian American identity.

For Asian Americans, Cultural Duality is more than a feeling, it’s an active commitment to continue their traditions. Through food, holidays, religion, family connection, and more, Asian Americans are significantly more likely than non-Asians to report they still actively practice the traditions of their family’s heritage.

2. Conventionality

People sharing the Group Trait of Conventionality tend to aspire to tried-and-true lifestyles and ideas of what people should be doing in their general situations.

Concepts like “living the American Dream” will likely hold more sway with these individuals than anything positioned as part of an “alternative lifestyle.”

Asian Americans desire and pursue conventional lives marked by advanced education, stable jobs, marriage, and children. While this desire is weaker in younger Asian Americans, it continues to set the segment apart and manifest as an interest in traditional forms of success. The drive for conventionality comes from the desires to make one’s family proud and fit in with others.

Asians are significantly more likely than non-Asians to agree with the statement, “the way I live my life is mainly in line with what’s normal and expected for most people.” Asian Americans are also significantly less likely than other segments to report wanting to live unconventionally. This doesn’t mean they don’t aspire to success, but rather that they aspire to traditional successes like higher education and home ownership.

3. Reservedness

People exhibiting the Group Trait of Reservedness tend to be more private, and less likely to express what makes them unique, special, or otherwise interesting.

This does not mean they have nothing to say or lead boring lives; rather, they are simply content keeping these things to themselves.

Asian Americans are less likely than other segments to share their inner selves, including their thoughts, opinions, and feelings. This attitude stems from the emphasis on humility and self-effacement common in collectivist societies. However, younger Asian Americans, especially those raised in the United States, are embracing the outgoing and gregarious character often associated with Americans.

The instinct to go with the flow and keep thoughts to themselves can be linked to the collectivist tendencies of many Asian cultures. Asian Americans’ collectivism, which values the good of the many over the individual, sometimes manifests in a reluctance to say or do potentially inflammatory things with the goal to preserve peace in a situation.

4. Expertise-Seeking

People sharing this Group Trait look to experts – or sources of expertise – for advice.

Whether from certified professionals or the people they know who are more experienced on a subject, these individuals are more likely to seek out external sources of information before making important decisions.

Asian Americans, across country of origin, are focused on making sound decisions to ensure promising futures. This includes openness to both input from actual experts (physicians, financial advisors, etc.), as well as input from peers on topics of interest. Members of the segment often seek peer input to stay abreast of the latest trends.

Similar to the previous Group Trait of Reservedness, the collectivist attitudes of Asian Americans influence their tendency to trust experts. Collectivism requires self-effacement and humility, which results in the belief that you alone do not know what’s best and that you should seek advice before making big or small decisions.

Fill out the form below to learn how we can help your brand win with Asian consumers.

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Four Things You Need to Know About Asian American Marketing

Four Things You Need to Know about Asian-American Consumers

Asian American consumers are one of the fastest growing segments in the U.S. Here are four cultural facts your brand needs to know in order to win their marketshare.

1. Almost two-thirds of Asian Americans are foreign-born, and roughly 80% speak a language other than English at home.

But this doesn’t mean you have to use targeted language-specific advertising to reach the segment. After all, more than 74% of each major Asian sub-group (Indian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Filipino, Korean, Japanese) is either bilingual or English dominant.

2. Roughly half of all Asian Americans cite China or India as their country of origin.

And these two groups were responsible for 71% of the Asian segment’s population growth between 2012 and 2017—1.8 million people!

3. Marriage is extremely important for Asian Americans.

They are the most likely to be married and the least likely to be divorced.  Among origin groups, Indian Asians are the most likely to be married, while Asian women are the most likely of any group to be in an interracial marriage.

4. While Asian Americans take pride in their Asian ethnicity, they tend to identify more by their country of origin.

This is likely tied to the segment’s desire to maintain a strong connection with their cultural heritage, something many Asians—roughly 48%—fear future generations may lose.

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Marketers Need to Rethink How to Mix Multicultural Themes and American Cues in Advertising

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As advertising approaches a tipping point in the need to appeal across multiple demographics, marketers are asking “what really works across the wide spectrum of identity that is America today?” Our analysis of ads unpacks the conundrum and reveals some startling insights.

“Family Values” allows marketers to better target multicultural consumers

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It’s a common assumption in messaging research that multicultural consumers are liberal, but when brands and advertisements try to put this idea into practice, their efforts often fall flat. It is therefore important to investigate the appeal of specific messages on individual cultural segments.

Collage Group has sought to explain these differential outcomes, making them a core focus of our Ad Rating Survey. As part of the survey, we asked respondents to take an unambiguous stance on 13 selected social trends, in four categories:

  • Non-Traditional Family
  • Race
  • Youth
  • Activism

After analyzing the results we found several interesting takeaways:

Rather than featuring a strict divide between liberals and conservatives on all issues, multicultural values breakdown into three categories.

The largest group is Social Liberal (44% of the population), which tends to approve of trends across all four categories, followed by Social Conservative, with 29% of the population tending to disapprove of all the mentioned trends. A third group, however, responded positively to trends regarding race, youth, and activism, but negatively on non-traditional family trends.

Multicultural consumers are substantially more likely to feature Family Values than Social Conservatism.

For White panelists, Social Conservatives outnumbered Family Values consumers, but for all other categories the opposite was true.

This was especially the case for African-American panelists, whose proportion of Family Values consumers was very close to its proportion of Social Liberal consumer. Over a third of Hispanic and Asian respondents were also in the Family Values segment.

Hispanic acculturation corresponds with a shift from Family Values to Social Conservatism

Comparing unacculturated against acculturated Hispanics reveals a shift away from the Family Values segment and towards Social Conservatism, while Social Liberalism remains relatively unchanged. This trend suggests that acculturated Hispanics divide themselves on social issues in ways that are similar to Non-Hispanic Whites.

Understanding how Family Values shapes multicultural social views is essential for marketers eager to appeal to these fast growing and influential consumer segments. To learn more about how you can leverage these preferences to produce valuable brand outcomes, please complete the form below.

What Culturally Competent Health Care Means for Asian Consumers

According to the Big Shift, multicultural patients have contributed $47.1 billion to the health care industry growth since 2006; Asians alone contributed $11.8 billion. This number will rise as Asian populations continue to grow – but how can marketers ensure that they are reaching and engaging them in the best ways?

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Essentials of Asian Marketing Part 2: Values and Passion Points

Due to the growing interest in U.S. Asian consumers, brands and marketers are asking: Is there a pan-Asian identity or culture? What are their values and passions? Do Asian consumers need or even want in-language or in-culture services? Who influences their purchasing decisions? Should we target the Asian segment as a whole, or only specific Asian-origin sub-segments?  To answer the pressing questions from clients, we developed a two-part series on the essentials of Asian American marketing (Asian Marketing – Part 1).  In this second installment, we delve into culture, values, and passions to better understand the Asian consumer as a whole.

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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.

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