Small Business: Tap Into the Affluent Asian American Market

Is your small business marketing to Asian-Americans? If not, you could be missing out on one of the most potentially profitable consumer categories. Data from the Census and the most recent Ipsos Affluent Survey, reported in MediaPost, show that Asian-Americans are more likely to be affluent than are many other minority consumers.

wealthy couple

Ipsos defines affluents as households with annual incomes of at least $100,000, and notes that Hispanics make up 14 percent of the general population but only 9 percent of the affluent population; African-Americans make up 12 percent of the general population and only 7 percent of the affluent population. Asian-Americans, however, while they account for just 5 percent of the U.S. population, make up 7 percent of the affluent population, as well as 7 percent of the “ultra-affluent” (household incomes of $250,000 or more).

There are some key factors that set Asian-American affluents apart from other affluent consumers in the Ipsos study:

  • They are younger but have a higher household income than white affluents of the same age. Asian affluents are an average age of 43 compared to 45 for whites, but have a higher average household income ($219K vs. $188K).
  • They are more educated. About 67 percent of Asian affluents have college degrees, compared to 53 percent of white affluents.
  • They’re more likely to live in the West (49 percent of Asian affluents, compared to 22 percent of white affluents).

Psychographically, Ipsos notes, Asian affluents have some important things in common with Hispanic and African-American affluents. Specifically, they’re more likely to be what Ipsos dubs “StyleSetters.” Stylesetters are very interested in shopping and more likely to engage with brands, and are passionate about fashion and style. Asian affluents in particular are more likely than the average affluent consumer to buy classic high-end luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Armani, Chanel, Rolex and Nordstrom.

Where they differ from other ethnic groups is in their “globalist” perspective. Asian affluents are more likely than Hispanic or African-American affluents to travel internationally, appreciate foreign food and support globalization.

More than other affluent groups, Asian affluents are heavy Internet users, spending an  average of 43 hours a week online—more than any other ethnic group and more than the 30 hours a week white affluents spend online. They’re the least likely to watch TV.

What do these figures mean to you? If you’re trying to reach Asian affluents:

  • Focus on quality and luxury. Asian affluents value traditions and labels.
  • Emphasize style and trends. Your marketing should speak to Asian affluents’ image of themselves as trendsetters leading the pack with fashion and style.
  • Get online. That’s where Asian affluents are spending their time, so create online marketing campaigns that reach out to them where they live. By contrast, advertising on TV or cable won’t reach this audience.

Asian affluents aren’t a monolithic group by any means, but understanding a bit about where they’re coming from can help you craft marketing strategies that work for this audience.

Wealthy Couple Photo via Shutterstock


Rieva Lesonsky Rieva Lesonsky is a Columnist for Small Business Trends covering employment, retail trends and women in business. She is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her blog, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and free TrendCast reports.

4 Reactions
  1. Great information about the Asian demographic. That’s interesting that they’re the least likely to watch TV. I don’t have a luxury business, so I’m not sure how to reach this group, but I’ll certainly keep it in mind.

  2. I have run a business for 20 years in San Francisco, where 25% of the population is “Asian”, I cannot completely agree with the stereotype the survey presents And since it IS stereotyping, let me add an alternative stereotype to the high-achieving, highly educated, Asian geek described: Most “Asians” want a rock-bottom price, ideally provided by another, usually poorer Asian, with whom they can communicate in the same language. I’m not being racist–just pointing out some real world facts. My customers would not thank me if I told them I was only marketing them to Asians.

    You might also want to provide some advice on how NOT to market to “Asians”. Different colors have very different connotations to “Asians”, and so do numbers. Feng shui is also very important, and most marketers have no clue about that. (Feng what?)

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