Asian-Americans: Growing buying power

Las Vegas Chinatown: More buying power for Asian-Americans also a boon to Asian-American businesses.

Las Vegas Chinatown: More buying power for Asian-Americans also a boon to Asian-American businesses.

By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS – They are not only surging in numbers, their buying power is growing much more.

Asian-Americans, the fastest-growing ethnic group in the United States, are also fast becoming pillars of the economy.

According to a report released on Monday by Nielsen on the consumer behavior of Asian-Americans, the community should become a prime target for businesses and marketers.

Among Nielsen’s key findings:

  • Asian-American buying power rose this year to $718.4 billion, a 523 percent increase from 1990.
  • If they were a country, Asian-Americans would be the 18th largest economy in the world.
  • By 2017, the purchasing power among Asian-Americans would top $1 trillion.

Frank Piotroski, Nielsen’s senior vice president, said the Asian-American community is a consumer group  marketers can not afford to ignore.

“With their significant buying power and continued growth due to immigration, businesses should pay more attention to them,” he said.

With a population of 18.5 million, according to the 2010 census, Asian-Americans comprise just about five percent of the U.S. population, but are considered one of the most affluent.

Earlier this year, the Pew Research Center released “The Rise of Asian Americans” that generally painted the Asian American community in a positive light.

“Asian Americans are the fastest growing immigrant group in the US, they have the highest-income, and best-educated. They are more satisfied than the general public with their lives, finances and the direction of the country, and they place more value than other Americans do on marriage, parenthood, hard work, and career success,” the report’s executive summary said.

The report went on to point these key statistics:

  • Among new arrivals, more than 60 percent of those ages 25 to 64 have graduated from college.
  • in 2010, Asian Americans (foreign and U.S.-born) earned 45 percent of Ph.D’s, 38 percent of doctorate in match and computer sciences and 33 percent of doctorates in the physical sciences.
  • Household median income was $65,200 compared to $50,000 national average (2010)

The report, however, was greeted with mixed reviews in the Asian-American community, with some saying it portrayed  the community in a positive light.

Others, however, charged that the report perpetuated the “model  minority” that prevents more substantive benefits for a very diverse community in which poverty is also prevalent.

The Nielsen report was generally cheered by business owners and advertisers, who say it will lead to new awareness of the community’s buying power.

Follow Bert Eljera on Twitter @#vegaspinoy60 and on Facebook at


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