All Articles Marketing Marketing Strategy AAPI community takes notice when brands market to them

AAPI community takes notice when brands market to them

While May marks Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander American Heritage Month, 3AF Executive Director Genny Hom-Franzen makes the case that AAPI marketing should be top of mind year-round.

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MarketingMarketing Strategy

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May marks Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander American Heritage (AANHPI) Month. While it’s a great time for brands to connect with Asian American consumers, marketers should be marketing to the AANHPI segment all year long.  

Asian representation on the big screen has increased in recent years – “Crazy Rich Asians,” “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” “Parasite,” “Minari” and “The Elephant Whisperers” are just some examples – but sadly, when it comes to AAPI marketing and advertising, our segment is often the lowest priority. 

Asian Americans are the fastest-growing consumer segment. According to Nielsen, the collective purchasing power of Asian Americans is more than $1.6 trillion in 2024, growing 314% between 2000 and 2019, far exceeding the increase in purchasing power of all other racial and ethnic groups over the same period. For comparison, the total US buying power grew 119% during the same period.

Marketers should “reach ALL diverse consumers”

Overall, there is a lack of understanding about the Asian American consumer segment. We are not a monolith, and we are not perpetual foreigners. Other multicultural segments are bigger, so marketers tend to gravitate toward them first. 

However, there are plenty of reasons why brands and agencies should increasing their AAPI marketing. 

These reasons include rapid growth, high household income, brand loyalty and concentration in urban cities. 

Asian Americans also have embraced digital technology. They are the most active online and over-index in device connectivity, spending an average of 35.2 hours per week online. An estimated 91% of Asian Americans have a computer (over-indexing the US by 14%), and 96% of Asian Americans have a smartphone (over-indexing the US by 7%.) According to MRI-Simmons 2021, 82% of Asian Americans read online reviews when considering a purchase, 60% recommend food products and 35% are eager to share their technology opinions. 

In addition, Asian Americans significantly impact many aspects of American pop culture: food, fashion, music, television, media, art, politics and more. In fact, studies show the popularity of many of these has crossed over to segments other than Asians. 

Most companies aren’t devoting enough resources to target Asian Americans successfully. As we have seen with the recent census data, multicultural consumers are the future, and savvy marketers need to expand their marketing and advertising now to reach ALL diverse consumers and not just one or two segments. With the racial injustice and anti-Asian hate during the pandemic, all consumers are more savvy. 

Asian Americans take notice when brands support us and connect with us in authentic and genuine ways. In fact, 64% of Asian Americans are more likely to pay attention to ads that reflect our culture. Connecting with Asian consumers in English and in language using cultural insights, knowledge and understanding should be a priority for companies.

Marketers who aren’t sure of how to begin Asian marketing, should, plain and simply, just start. Resources, such as the Asian American Advertising Federation (3AF), have been helping marketers in their brand journey since 1999. 3AF’s experts include media, marketing research firms, PR firms, advertising agencies and other vendors and partners who not only have the pulse of the AANHPI consumer but also cultural insights and expertise.  

When brands take time to include AAPI marketing in their plans, even if the advertising is done in English, the AAPI consumer appreciates the attention and responds very positively. Having an upscale and more highly educated consumer base always makes the AAPI community a valuable asset.   

Don’t be afraid to connect to the AAPI consumer segment as part of your multicultural marketing efforts. Put a stake in the ground and show your support for this important segment that impacts so much of our world. 


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