Nielsen Webinar hosted on Engaging Asian American Consumers with (L-R) Mariko Carpenter VP of Strategic Community Alliances of Nielsen,, Bill Imada, Chief Connectivity Officer of IW Group, Andrew Chau, Co-founder of Boba Guys.

For several years, Asian Americans have been deemed as foreigners who are either nerds or martial artists. This sad reality has surely impacted their communities in more ways than one, hindering representation as well as opportunities to leverage on their untapped potential as consumers. In spite of everything, the resiliency and flair of Asian Americans have now taken the spotlight.

Today, we see changing landscapes in various industries that are continuously influenced and filled with a diaspora of their descent. They are currently the fastest-growing ethnic group whose spending power is skyrocketing. From being the ones who are always influenced back in the 2000s, they are the influencers of today that marketers should not miss.

The recent Nielsen webinar, Engaging Asian American Consumers at the Dawn of a New Decade, looked into interesting and valuable data on why Asian Americans matter to marketers now. It was first discussed that their population is already empowered to begin with.

1 in 5 Asian Americans are earning more than $75,000 that makes them the populace with the highest spending power. Moreover, 42% are pursuing higher education with Chinese and Indians taking the lead. This data tells us that they are not only capable to purchase, but also to significantly contribute with their additional asset as constant pursuers of knowledge. This adds up to the fact that they are both important buyers and influencers.

There are two growing trends that are influenced by Asian Americans today. First, their adoption of new digital platforms and impact on relevant content. It is vital to note that they are not only supporting culturally-relevant content on streaming platforms, but seeking the same on other channels such as mainstream TV, posing Awkwafina’s Nora from Queens in Comedy Central as reference. 

It is no secret that authenticity is key to boost a brand’s standing among its target audience/s. Thus, the true narratives of this particular group resonate and are prevailing in digital content platforms, offering big opportunities for brands to build confidence and eventually extend their marketing initiatives to them.

In Nielsen’s report that has the same title as the abovementioned webinar, they found that the Asian-American community condemns brands that have missed the mark on cultural nuances, resulting in enormous financial consequences. There has been a rise in their activism, especially today where Asian racism has gone rampant with the tagging of the Coronavirus as the Chinese virus. According to their findings, it is clear that Asian Americans are not the community that will stand quietly as once perceived but a community that has a voice that will be heard.

The second trend is the role of Asian Americans in the growing gaming ecosystem as gamers, spectators, and content creators. They are big players in today’s gaming industry since they spend both a generous sum of time and money to quell their thirst for sports and entertainment.

Asian Americans are 14% more likely to own a gaming console and 37% more likely to own Virtual Reality (VR) headsets that are mainly used for gaming. They are playing an influential role; both as gamers as well as spectators in light of the data that their households own more video game-related products than the total U.S. population.

According to Forbes, two of the top ten highest-paid gamers in the world are Asian American: Mark Edward Fischbach, known as Markiplier, and Evan Fong, known as VanossGaming. Asians and Asian Americans have also been well represented as professional competitive players in esports, which generated $950.6 million in revenue in 2019, and expected to reach $1 billion this year. These are only some of the notable findings from the Nielsen’s report and it is no question that the gaming arena will continue to grow.

Culture is being slowly maneuvered by Asian Americans today. They are no longer perpetual foreigners as they vote with their wallets for more authentic stories to be told and played by them. The rise in Asian American consciousness has created opportunities for marketers to engage with this community in a culturally relevant, impactful way.

The tides have changed and the present pandemic showed marketers that more than their offerings, what matters in the end is their connection to communities like theirs. After all, humans are innately social beings. Everyone wants to be understood and attempts to understand. Therefore, marketers should find the right organizations that can serve as a bridge between them and their target communities, ensuring efficient communication as well as gaining valuable insights on their nuances. It is crucial to start seeking for relevant data and thought leaders in communities that can serve as a guiding light. 

Indeed, the New Normal bears a new cover page, the Asian Americans, but the content still largely centers on the “human” among us all. 

May 25, 2020

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