NEW YORK: Asian Americans constitute the fastest-growing population segment in the US and are expected to contribute more than $1 trillion in consumer buying power by 2020, according to a new study.

A Nielsen report, Asian Americans: Culturally Diverse and Expanding Their Footprint, predicted that their spending could grow by a third over the next four years and highlighted the ripple effect their preferences are having on mainstream America,

With more than 40 countries of origin, they form a diverse group but some traits are common to all, particularly around food where the majority (79%) prefer to use fresh ingredients rather than canned or frozen food.

The 'food effect' is already evident as items such as soy milk, seaweed and curries, among many others, enter mainstream markets.

This group also tends to be ahead of the curve on tech issues, outpacing the general population in ownership of smartphones, household computers and tablets and in propensity to shop online.

Further, the study reported that they spend less time with live TV and are significantly more likely to have subscription video-on-demand services.

The American South has seen the greatest growth in Asian American numbers and spending. Between 2009 and 2014, immigration, relocations, and new births have led to a population increase of 33% (over 1.1m).

Concomitantly, the region has also registered the greatest growth in Asian-American buying power, up 43% between 2010 and 2015, and is projected to continue to see the highest growth in the next five years.

"If marketers and companies want to be successful, it is imperative they develop growth strategies that account for Asian Americans' diverse ethnicities to better resonate with the cultural nuances of this unique multicultural community," said Betty Lo, vice president, Community Alliances & Consumer Engagement, Nielsen.

"This segment not only has culturally specific tastes and preferences, but also buying behaviours that are unique to geographic regions," she added.

Data sourced from Nielsen; additional content by Warc staff