Understanding the Asian Market

To understand the Asian market, marketers must recognize that:(1) important ethnic differences exist among this group;(2) segments may exist based on whether individuals were born and reared in the United States versus those who immigrated here (either recently or long ago); and (3) language skills vary (some read only English, others only their native language; and some read both) careful research to understand such segments is essential. For example there are at least twenty nine distinct ethnic groups comprising the Asian American market. Within the San Francisco Bay area there is a diverse Chinese population, most living in its ten china towns and speaking eight or more different languages or dialects. Asians could vary widely in economic, religious, educational and political backgrounds, ranging from wealthy Hong Kong families who have just immigrated to poor Vietnamese laborers with fifteen to twenty five people in a household to Yappies (Young Asian Professionals) who identify with US tastes and consumption patterns.

Consumer behavior and marketing implications:

Asian households are younger, better educated and more moneyed than the average American household. Such characteristics have important influences on their consumers’ behavior patterns.

Product Purchase Patterns:

Due to the youthfulness and educational level, Asians are much more comfortable with technology than the general population. They are far more likely to sue automated teller machines and to own VCRs, CD players, microwave ovens, home computers, and telephone answering machines. They are also good customers for such merchandise as high quality men’s suits, luggage and cameras. Because many are immigrants they are very interested in information about products and options available. Products specifically meting Asian needs can be very successfully. For example, because American sizes are too big. Macy’s has stocked high quality clothes in small sizes to meet Asian needs in the San Francisco area. As a result, 36 percent of area Asian residents rate Macy’s as their favorite store. Tuning products to Asian customer’ needs can results in high store loyalty.

Shopping Behavior: Slightly more Asians shop as a leisure activity compared to the general population. Asians view quality as more important than price then choosing a store.

They are more likely to view shopping a social experience and often the entire family, rather a single individual goes hopping the culture dictates that the oldest male in the family make the major shopping decisions even though younger family members may initiate the purchase.

Oriental consumers indicate lower store loyalty than the population at large. For example, while 46 percent of all consumers have a preferred women’s wear store, only 36 percent of Asian consumers do. On addition, quality is the most important consideration when they choose a store, outranking price, selection, location, and service, making them more quality conscious than the average consumer.

Promoting to Asians:
Promoting for this market has been an enigma of many marketers. With a lack of information about their group, marketers have been groping to understand what is effective.

Media patterns: Nationwide Asian consumers spend less time with television radio and newspapers than the total American population. A study in New York, however found that Asian media usage behavior is similar to that of non-Hispanic whites, while Hispanics were found to follow black consumers media usage patterns. There are also differences within the Asian market based on language, culture age and income. For example, Asians generally prefer newspaper, feature movies, and variety shows on televisions. However youngster Asians with higher education prefers upscale media such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal while older Asians tend to prefer Asian Language newspapers and magazines. Asian American television is starting to evolve but radio is not well developed. A study of media and purchasing behavior among Asian Americans found that about one half cited advertising as an important source of product information. Moreover, Asians found television to be most influential, followed by newspaper and magazines. Because here are so many Asian language groups television tends not to be cost effective. An example of a successful print approach is that taken by Circus, a casino and hotel in Nevada which advertised in twenty publications in three languages to reach Chinese prospects. It fills the hotel in the slow season with this campaign.

Asian Yellow Page directories can also be effectively used reach his group. Several chains are including maps showing which bus and subway routes to use to reach their stores because ethnic shoppers are more dependent on public transportation than the general population.

Asian Americans are not users of coupons or buyers of catalogs / direct mail merchandisers.