NEW YORK: Asian Americans are an increasingly influential group, in terms of purchasing power and as a bellwether for digital developments, which a new report suggests marketers would do well to cultivate.

In Asian Americans: Digital Lifestyles and Growing Influence, researcher Nielsen stated that “Asian-American consumers are on the cutting edge of everything digital”.

That is in part because they can afford to be: they tend to have higher than average household income and their buying power has increased 257% to almost $1 trillion over the past decade.

This combination of factors, allied to them being the fastest growing ethnic group in the country, makes them valuable consumers in themselves, but Nielsen added, “their preferences, habits and adoption of devices are indicative of a larger US trend.

“By studying the unique consumer preferences of Asian-American consumers, marketers and advertisers can gain insight into reaching other consumers.”

For example, Asian-American adults spend nearly as much time per week using apps and the web on smartphones (14 hours 18 minutes) as watching live+DVR/time-shifted TV (14 hours 38 minutes); US consumers overall spend 17 hours 13 minutes using apps and the web on smartphones but 31 hours 6 minutes live+DVR/time-shifted TV.

Among millennial Asian Americans, the difference is more marked: they spend just 6 hours 42 minutes with live+DVR/time-shifted TV (the figure for all US millennials is 16 hours) and 21 hours 50 minutes using apps and the web on smartphones (18 hours 53 minutes for millennials generally).

Not only is the shift of their digital consumption to new platforms more pronounced than the US as a whole, they overindex on ownership of a range of devices compared to non-Hispanic white consumers, including smart watches (66% more likely to own), streaming media players (39%) and smartphones (16%).

For all the focus on their digital behaviour, Asian-American adults still find advertising on TV relevant for a variety of purposes, Nielsen said.

But “perhaps more importantly”, they are more likely than their non-Hispanic white counterparts to find advertising on mobile phones and the internet relevant, thanks to the range of information about product use, bargains and new products and services.

Marketers will need to develop “a robust digital strategy”, Nielsen argued, not only to reach this potentially lucrative group now but also in preparation for the time when the habits of the wider population emulate it.

Sourced from Nielsen; additional content by WARC staff