For an industry known to flood households nationwide with blaring messages of money saving techniques, the insurance category certainly feels comfortable loosening its own purse strings. Ponying up a hefty $6 billion and counting in advertising a year, it has rightfully earned a spot as one of the top 10 biggest U.S. industries in terms of ad spend growth.
If this much is being spent to attract an ideal customer, then why are they ignoring the Asian-American marketplace?
The stats around this lucrative segment are crystal clear, and they are significant. The few that have already invested in Asian-American advertising know the benefits, but what about everyone else?
Often accredited as the fastest-growing and most culturally diverse segment, Asian-Americans have positioned themselves as influencers to mainstream audiences from their fashion and cuisine tastes to their entertainment and technology advances.
Other quick facts about Asian-Americans:
- They outspend the total market by 19 percent overall and in key areas including Personal Insurance and Services (+39 percent) and Housing (+23 percent). (Source: Consumer Expenditure Survey, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 2015)
- According to Nielsen, Asian-American buying power increased 7 percent from $718 billion to $770 billion in 2014 and is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2017. (Source: UGA Selig Center Multicultural Economy Study 2012 as reported in Nielsen “Significant, Sophisticated and Savvy; The Asian American Consumer 2013 Report”)
- They are more educated, wealthier and tend to have bigger households. Nearly 28 percent live in a multigenerational household. (Source: U.S. Census)
- The group significantly over-indexes on luxury, automotive, retail and travel, whereas non-white Hispanics under-index for the majority. (Source: Experian Information Systems; Simmons Winter 2015 Report)
- They lead the non-white category for buying brand new cars, at 4.4MM and at an index of 137. (Source: Experian Information Systems; Simmons Winter 2015 Report)
- Their life expectancy is 87.3 years—the longest of any racial or ethnic group in the U.S. (Source: U.S. Census)
Simmons Research also indicates that Asian-Americans are more likely than any other non-white segment to enroll in health, property and vehicle insurance. Given their lucrative lifestyle and market growth, insurance providers have a unique opportunity to provide an unmet need for security packages that protect these consumers’ hard-earned possessions and overall well-being. However, before anything else, they must understand and connect with this audience authentically rather than simply repurposing existing content intended for an entirely different cultural group.
While Asian-Americans are quick to adapt to American culture and trends, they still have a deep-rooted appreciation for their heritage and traditions. In fact, 75 percent of Asian-American households prefer to speak in their native language at home over English, creating a strong dependency on how they engage with and receive communications. The brands that succeed in capturing this coveted group will be those that do their homework and deploy the right messaging, mitigating the risk of any irrevocable mishaps along the way.
Deductibles, maximum coverage, single policyholders, premiums—though some would argue over the complexity (or not) of insurance lingo and practices, for the layman, navigating through packages and providers is often incredibly confusing. And for non-native English speakers, the complex language of insurance becomes even more difficult. In short, it’s imperative that marketers be smart with how they communicate to foreign-born audiences.
Insurers rightfully implore their customers to protect their assets and be smart about their money. When it comes to the industry’s astonishing media spend, they would do well to shift a sizable portion of their dollars to the Asian-American audience and take their own sage advice to heart.