The Asian American consumer: prudent shopper but willing to splurge on foreign travels, hybrid cars


Asian Americans are advertisers’ favorite market because as consumers we are said to be well educated, tech savvy and affluent. Meaning, we know what we want and we are likely to have the cash to buy them.

We are also a fast-growing population with a rapidly expanding income.

The FilAm is reproducing below excerpts from Nielsen’s 2013 report, “Significant, Sophisticated and Savvy: The Asian American Consumer.” The study reveals, among other information, that the typical Asian American may be a penny pincher, but can also be persuaded to splurge for purchases worthy of his hard-earned cash, such as foreign travels or hybrid cars.

Nielsen illustrates in the report how the Asian Americans’ “purchasing behaviors and viewing patterns are different and unique from the total population.”

When making big-ticket purchases, Asian Americans are often willing to pay more, spending money where they think it counts the most. Getting a good value goes beyond price to other factors such as brand name, quality, environmental concerns, and social values.

When buying clothing and accessories, Asian Americans are looking for quality and premium brand names, which typically carry higher price points. At the same time, their value consciousness is illustrated by shopping at discount retailers that offer designer labels. They over-index at higher-end stores versus the total U.S. population, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, and Neiman Marcus, and under-index at many stores with lower price points. However, discount retailers that offer designer brands, such as Marshalls and Nordstrom Rack, are very popular with Asian Americans.

About 23 percent of Asian Americans bought cars priced over $30,000, compared to 19 percent of the general population. That higher price point is reflected in the vehicle features that they prefer. Asian Americans were 13 percent more likely to pick “luxury and style” and “green and trendy” as the description of their ideal car vs. total U.S. population.

Nearly 17 percent of Asian American households own either a hybrid or electric plug-in vehicle, twice the rate of the general population. Although these cars are often sold at a higher price point than other models, they use less gasoline and offer long-term savings. Asian Americans are twice as likely as the general population to say that within the next 12 months, they want to buy or lease a hybrid or electric plug-in vehicle.

In their leisure time over the next year, Asian Americans are 43 percent more likely than the general population to travel abroad. Seventy-five percent feel that traveling is a great way to learn about other cultures.

About 57 percent of Asian Americans have taken a trip outside the continental United States during the past three years and are 46 percent more likely to have traveled in first class on foreign trips. They’re also interested in exploring the United States. About 51 percent of Asian Americans have taken a domestic plane trip in the past 12 months, and they are at least 1.2 times more likely than the general population to go on domestic cruises and visit theme parks.

Read the full report here.

One Comment

  1. m. matthews wrote:

    This is an informative article regarding the spending habits of Asian Americans in the USA.

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