purchasing power: Hispanics vs. Asian Americans

April 12, 2011 in Demographics

Spending coefficient by ethnic groupFor all the limelight that the latest Census figures have shone on Hispanics, I’m surprised at how little has been said about their dwarfed purchasing power against Asian Americans.

Hispanics now make up more than 16 percent of the U.S. population compared to the fewer than 5 percent that Asians account for. Yet Asians’ buying power will reach nearly $700 billion in 2014, when their percentage of the population will only spill a little over 5 percent, according to a 2009 Selig Center report. That’s almost directly proportionate with the percentage of the market share they will have then, too — 5.3 percent. Meanwhile, Hispanics will constitute more than 17 percent of the population in 2014 and only 10.2 percent of the market share.

There’s a palpable difference between America’s two most rapidly growing minority groups (both at a 43 percent uptick): one of them simply carries a significantly thicker wallet. Asian households averaged a whopping $68,780 in 2009, well above the $49,777 national average and nearly twice Hispanics’ median household income of $37,913, according to the 2009 American Community Survey.

Make no mistake, Hispanics’ hefty slice of the U.S. population will continue making it a key demographic to target (if you’ve chosen to ignore that one, you’re really out of luck), but marketers who focus solely on the Hispanic segment are tuning out the nation’s most affluent and educated minority ethnic group. The small percentage of Asian Americans in the U.S. should not be underestimated. Far from it, the figures say that strategic marketing to this ethnic group would reap huge, cost-effective benefits.

The power of multicultural marketing is full inclusion of all ethnic groups — not just the largest. This post only points out a drastic disproportion between the population and purchasing power of Hispanics and Asian Americans. For Asian Indians, for example, the median income in 2009 was $90,429. There are myriad other cultural groups that go unnoticed, un-talked to, un-marketed to every year in the U.S.

So, sure, Hispanic marketing will make companies feel like they’re riding the diversity wave. But truly multicultural marketing knows that there are varying tides to catch.