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Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

September 2, 2010

Written by C.N.

Posts from Years Past: September

You might be interested to read the following posts from September of years past:

September 26, 2006

Written by C.N.

Asian American Buying Power

As you probably know already, Asian Americans tend to have the highest median household income along with the highest rates of having a college degree. Does this mean that, as a consumer group, Asian Americans have enough buying power for advertisers to take seriously? According to new research, the answer is yes — Asian Americans have an annual buying power of about $427 billion:

Per new statistics released earlier this month by the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia, Asian consumer annual buying power in the United States has reached $427 billion, representing a 59% increase since the beginning of the decade. Furthermore, Asian buying power has the second fastest projected rate of growth, slightly behind Hispanic buying power. By 2011, Asian buying power will grow 46% over the current benchmark to reach $626 billion.

Reflecting the Asian population distribution by state which was recently documented in the Census Bureau’s 2005 American Community Survey (ACS), California and New York remain in first and second place for annual Asian buying power, with $140.5 billion and $41.5 billion respectively. . . . The Selig data also highlights . . . that Asian consumers wield a disproportionately larger clout in terms of their purchasing power than the absolute size of the Asian population would otherwise imply.

“Most often, marketers hesitate in considering Asian programs because they overly focus on the comparatively smaller size of the Asian population vis-à-vis the larger Hispanic and African American audiences,” said Saul Gitlin, Executive Vice President – Strategic Services, Kang & Lee Advertising. “However, while the Asian population may be only one third the size of the Hispanic population, Asian annual buying power already represents 53% of Hispanic buying power.

It’s nice to hear that American advertisers and companies are likely to become increasingly aware of the purchasing power of the Asian American community, especially since we have apparently have disproportionately high level of buying power per capita. But I think it would be even nicer if American media companies, advertisers, and businesses recognize that if they want our dollars, they also need to earn our respect.

That means no advertisements that contain disparaging or stereotypical images or portrayals of Asians, nor supporting TV or radio shows that contain material that we as Asian Americans find offensive. That also means that we as Asian Americans need to be more selective with our money and by supporting companies that share our values. Religious conservatives have been doing this for years now, and we can and should do the same.