Asian-American consumers have strong cultural ties and family connections, and both are reflected in their shopping carts.
It’s not uncommon for Asian-American consumers to live in multigenerational households—with grandparents, parents and children—as it’s often a strategy they use to create an easier environment to cope with the challenges of moving and living in a new country. According to Nielsen’s recent Asian-Americans: Culturally Connected and Forging the Future report, nearly 28% of Asian-Americans live in multigenerational households, compared with just 15% of non-Hispanic whites. There are a couple of factors that likely contribute to this unique household make-up for Asian-Americans. For example, 79% of Asian-American adults 18 and older are foreign born. This high percentage of immigrants, coupled with that fact that Asian-American children are 85% more likely to live in a household with married parents—and remain in that household until they are married—explain their multigenerational living habits.
Asian-Americans share a long-standing cultural tradition of regarding food and diet as a form of holistic well-being as well as nourishment, and their shopping baskets reflect this sentiment. For example, Asian-Americans purchase fresh vegetables and fruits 26% and 11% more, respectively, than the total population. In fact, Asian-Americans also spend 62% and 27% more on these items as well.
Seafood is a common ingredient found in Asian-American cuisines. As such, Asian-Americans purchase fresh seafood 50% more frequently than the general market and spend 147% more in this category. Today, Asian-American seafood dishes are a staple of the American mainstream culture. Sushi, for example, which originated in Japan, attracts customers who are willing to pay more for authentic, live and raw seafood options. In 2014, 6% of U.S. households purchased sushi on about 2.5 shopping trips. Other Asian-influenced cooking styles that require fresh ingredients, such as steaming, wokking and shared hot-pot cooking, are growing in popularity in retailers as well.
While Asian-Americans shop at many types of retail stores, they make more trips to warehouse club stores (11%) than the general population (5%). As a result, they spend almost a quarter of their total dollar spend (23%) at warehouse club stores, while the general population spends 11% there. Warehouse club stores offer package sizes and deals that are attractive to larger households and multigenerational family living. Drug stores also command a larger share of trips and spending than the general population, as health needs among a diverse age group can be extensive.
Spending time with family and friends is an important part of Asian culture, which may explain why Asian-Americans spend more than average on kitchen appliances, specialty gadgets and adult beverages. Additionally, Asian-American shoppers are 31% more likely than the total population to spend more than $200 weekly at grocery stores and 140% more likely to buy a moderate to high-end bottle of wine worth $20 or more.
Consider Asian-Americans’ strong cultural ties in outreach efforts, and note the staple items that are the cornerstones for celebrations. Stocking up on fresh seafood, vegetables and Asian-influenced ingredients not easily found in mainstream channels can increase store traffic.
Other findings in the recent report include:
For more detail and insight, download Nielsen’s Asian-Americans: Culturally Connected and Forging the Future report.