Asian American Women

While Hispanic American women come from many different cultures, they share a somewhat common language. Asian American women, however, may not even have that trait in common. Having emigrated from countries as diverse as Japan, China, Korea, Indonesia, Pakistan and India, they are likely to communicate in a much wider variety of languages or dialects than their sisters from other emerging majorities. As marketers, we have to forget about reaching Asian American women en masse, but instead dial into the particular subsegment that best represents our customers.

Two elements of Asian cultures that have mattered for years and years , community and children, may be the keys to marketing to the women of this particular emerging majority. In fact, like many before them who came to our shores, "the leading reason for immigration cited by Asians is the desire to provide a better life for children." [18]


An Asian American woman 's attitudes and buying behavior, and how these revolve around community and children, may reflect the social status and roles of women in their home cultures. For example, even when they work full-time , Asian American women continue to manage much of the household and overall family finances, just as they would in their home countries. Their cultures may lead them to do what they've always done (which is a lot) and to add in all the extras that are also expected of them in U.S. culture!

Many of the women in this often highly educated emerging majority will also apply the skills they've acquired from years of household management to become empowered to build their own businesses. Their education and business experience may actually make them a bit more progressive in comparison to Anglo American women or to those of other ethnicities with whom they affiliate. Meek, passive, geisha-type characters these women are not.

And, along with their education and business experience, these women have some major shopping skills. Asian consumers shop more than other groups, with almost half (43 percent) saying that they always look for a brand name when they shop. [19] But, interestingly, brand consciousness does not necessarily mean brand loyalty, with 25 percent of Asians saying they change brands often, as compared to 22 percent of Hispanics, 20 percent of Blacks and 17 percent of Anglos. [20] Furthermore, Asians are big Internet shoppers. While they are the least likely (compared with whites, Hispanics and Blacks) to buy merchandise by phone or mail order, they are the most likely to shop over the Internet. [21]


As a rule of thumb, we highly recommend developing marketing messages that reflect the uniqueness of the many different backgrounds and cultures of Asian American women. Slapping a native language voice-over onto your existing television campaign would certainly not suffice.

Aegis Gardens retirement community, in contrast, could be considered a good example of delivering a more typical American experience in an in-culture way for aging Asian Americans. As described by Deborah Kong of the Associated Press: "With the assistance of the Chinese advisory board, the company changed its corporate color from blue, which Asians associate with funerals, to maroon, and petitioned the city's building department to change its street address because it contained the number 4, which is associated with death in Asian cultures." [22]

With the Aegis example in mind, the following tips should help you forge a better connection with the savvy and hard-working Asian American women who may be your customers:

Images of success resonate. In general, and in all but perhaps the Southeast Asian cultures, younger and older Asian American women alike are image-conscious. So, depict them in successful roles and don't forget the details of the appropriate outward appearance as well ”the finest in clothing or jewelry , for example.

Learn and honor culturally specific traditions. Gift-giving occasions may be different for each Asian culture, and therein may lie significant opportunities to reflect your knowledge of the needs of these women and to serve them better.

Use the familiar to reach them. Just as women from the emerging majorities appreciate seeing their body types and skin colors represented in your marketing efforts, their cultural pride will be even greater when their native languages are used. Even as they become more acculturated, Asian American women still notice the companies that take the time and spend the budget to produce ads that quite literally speak to them and reflect their realities.

And, don't overlook the 1.5 generation. In the Asian American segment of the country's fast-growing multicultural population, the 1.5 generation is considered by Asia Link Consulting Group to be the "forgotten" generation that deserves attention. The 1.5 generation immigrated to the United States as children under age 18, brought by their parents who came by choice. The 1.5 generation straddles both the immigrant generation born outside the United States (usually called the first generation) and those who were born here, called the second, third and fourth generations.

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the varied valentine 's day gift-giving traditions of east asians [23]

In Japan, a country steeped in gift-giving tradition, Valentine's Day has been adapted as "Giri Choco," which means " obligatory chocolate," a primarily one-sided giftgiving tradition where females buy chocolate for their male counterparts. On this day, women buy chocolate for their boyfriends, husbands, male co-workers , classmates and their male superiors at work. When the men receive the chocolate gift, they are obligated to return the favor one month later, which is known as White Day. On White Day, unlike Giri Choco, the types of presents men give are more varied. They range from jewelry to candies and flowers.

The equivalent of White Day is also observed in Korea, where women give men chocolate on Valentine's Day and men give women candy a month later. Many Chinese follow the American tradition of Valentine's Day. However, the Chinese traditionally have their own version of Valentine's known as "Lover's Day," which falls on the 7th day of the 7th month in the lunar calendar. It is a celebration of a legendary love story involving a young mortal cow herder and an immortal weaving fairy. The Chinese believe these two lovers were separated by the Heavenly Mother and can only be reunited once a year, on the 7th day of the 7th month, when a bridge of birds will be formed in the sky. On this particular day, some Chinese still cherish this traditional festival and celebrate it with loved ones by buying flowers and other gifts.

The Japanese who adopted this Chinese myth celebrate the same holiday and call it "Tanabata-sama." In Japan, it is celebrated to this day with an annual street festival and involves the decorating of small bamboo trees with origami, where people write their wishes on oblong strips of rice paper and hang them on the trees.

Asian Americans are a very diverse ethnic group and they have different traditions and observe different holidays. It is important for marketers to understand and be sensitive to their individual customs and traditions when planning promotions and ad campaigns targeted to each group.

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[18] Matthew Kinsman, "Invisible Giants," PROMO magazine (Stamford, CT), January 1, 2002,

[19] Simmons Market Research, 2002, New York, Reported in Rebecca Gardyn and John Fetto, "Race, Ethnicity and the Way We Shop," American Demographics , February 2003.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Deborah Kong, "Retirement Community Targets Asians," Associated Press, January 1, 2002. Cited in Angela Johnson, editor, Marketing to the Emerging Majorities.

[23] Excerpt from Julia Huang and Lisa Skriloff, press release, Multicultural Marketing Resources, Inc., New York, N.Y.,

Don't Think Pink(c) What Really Makes Women Buy(c) and How to Increase Your Share of This Crucial Market
Dont Think Pink: What Really Makes Women Buy -- and How to Increase Your Share of This Crucial Market
ISBN: 081440815X
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 96
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