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Nielsen Report: Informed Influencers and Powerful Purchasers: The Asian American Consumer Journey

New report examines the consumer journey and online shopping influence of the $1 trillion Asian American market

Originally Published by Nielsen.

Asian Americans hold a unique and powerful position as both financial drivers and influencers in today’s digitally powered path to purchase. Nielsen’s newly published Diverse Intelligence Series consumer report, Informed Influencers and Powerful Purchasers: The Asian American Consumer Journey, examines Asian Americans’ dynamic role in today’s digitally and socially driven retail economy. With internet access available in 99% of Asian American households (versus 93% of the total U.S. population), tech-savvy Asian Americans are not only making online purchases at a 34% higher rate, but are also voicing their opinions and posting influential reviews at a market-changing pace. For example, 24% more Asian Americans agree that rating and reviewing is an important reason for social media.

Featuring all-new research, data and insights, this year’s report—the seventh in Nielsen’s Diverse Intelligence Series on Asian Americans—traces the non-linear sequence of events that guide this affluent and fast-growing segment, which surpassed $1 trillion in buying power in 2018, to make purchases. Frequently, Asian Americans’ consumer journeys begin with a recommendation or review from a friend or family member. In fact, Asian Americans are 50% more likely to use the internet/apps for consumer reviews. Additionally, Asian Americans are adept users of emerging technology, and are much more likely to view content via digital platforms like subscription video on-demand (SVOD) and to make online purchases. Companies looking to drive growth with Asian American consumers must have a robust digital outreach strategy that also speaks to the diverse cultural experiences of these consumers that, in tandem, drive their unique consumer journeys. Further, companies seeking growth of any kind within a rapidly diversifying U.S. population can only reach their goals by reaching multicultural consumers, who constitute some of the fastest-growing demographic groups in the U.S.

“The Asian American path to purchase is a unique journey that’s informed by a rich cultural heritage as well as the latest advancements in technology,” stated Mariko Carpenter, Nielsen’s Vice President of Strategic Alliances. “Globally and digitally connected Asian Americans are playing integral roles, both as consumers and influencers, in shaping the next generation of retail and e-commerce trends in the U.S. and beyond. Brands interested in ‘what’s next’ need to take a serious look at this burgeoning and predictive segment.”

For Asian Americans, the consumer journey is a circular model that begins with scouring product reviews during the discovery phase and providing feedback after the purchase. Due to Asian Americans’ proclivity for reviewing the products they purchase, a favorable experience can turn these consumers into brand loyalists with the power to influence their friends, families and entire consumer groups and product categories. This influence can be seen in the fact that products like sushi, Asian dumpling appetizers and naan bread have experienced at least 11% revenue growth over the past three years alone. The Asian American path to purchase is affected by a myriad of influences that are heavily rooted in cultural traditions as well as their cross-cultural identity. Understanding these drivers of behavior is essential for marketers to exercise empathy and establish real connections with Asian American consumers.


The Asian American Path to Purchase Begins with Family and Friend

  • 53% of Asian Americans agree with the statement “My spouse has a significant impact on the brands I choose” while 42% cite the influence of their children.
  • 29% of Asian Americans agree with “I prefer to buy things my friends or neighbors would approve of” (over-indexing by 15%).

Asian Americans Prefer to Consume Content Digitally

  • 97% of Asian American households have a smartphone, over-indexing against the total population by 6%, and 89% have a computer, over-indexing by 13%.
  • The reach of social networking on a computer, and video on a computer are where Asian Americans over-index most against the total population. Overall, the reach of internet-connected devices is 22% higher among Asian Americans—with video on a computer, social networking on a computer, and internet on a computer over-indexing by 21%, 24% and 15%, respectively.

Social Media’s Role in the Interactive Consumer Journey

  • Asian Americans exceed the total population in their use of social media for product research and engagement. Twenty-six percent of Asian Americans agree that finding out about products and services is an important reason for using social media (over-indexing by 14%).
  • Asian Americans agree that gaining access to VIP or members-only events is an important reason to use social media (14%, over-indexing by 31%).

Asian Americans Are Leaders in Online Shopping

  • <87% of Asian Americans have made an online purchase in the last 12 months (over-indexing by 22%).
  • Online grocery shopping is gaining acceptance faster with Asian Americans than the total population. In the last 12 months, 23% of Asian Americans bought groceries online (over-indexing by 66%).

Asian Americans As Shopping Influencers

  • 32% of Asian Americans agree that they “like to share my opinions about products and services by posting reviews and ratings online.”
  • 71% of Asian Americans recommend food products, 68% recommend automobiles and 43% are eager to share their technology opinions (over-indexing the general population by 29%).

“Nielsen has been a pioneer in evangelizing the growth potential for brands that are able to connect authentically with Asian American consumers,” said Frank Washington, CEO of Crossings TV and member of Nielsen’s Asian Pacific American Advisory Council. “In today’s social media- and technology-driven communications and retail landscape, this segment is vital to any brand’s holistic marketing and growth strategies.”

For more details and insights, download Informed Influencers and Powerful Purchasers: The Asian American Consumer Journey. Please visit http://nielsen.com/asianamericans to learn more. Join the discussion on Facebook (Nielsen Community) and follow us on Twitter (@NielsenKnows).

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