Sailaja N. Joshi

A Look into the Future: The 2010 Census

In India, United States, Women in Society on April 5, 2010 at 1:41 pm

Recently I was at a networking event where Census 2010 was the word du jour. All the major C-titles in companies are looking to 2011 and thinking, who is the big IT consumer?

It’s a great question that everyone wants to know before 2011 hits and the government publishes its results. Everyone taking a stab at what the results will look like, especially the Fortune 500 companies.

So, taking a look into my own crystal ball, who do I think the next big IT consumer will be?

  1. Second Generation Asian-Indian American Women: This group of consumer won’t make up the majority of the US population by any means but they will be the ones to watch and market to. As Gen 2.0 they still have strong ties to their home countries but still want to be American. Above all else, these women are smart, rich and ready to spend. Hopefully companies will take some time to build relationships with this group of ladies before selling them another bag they don’t need.
  2. Baby Boomer Yuppies: The affluent 60+ crowd who headed to Apple to buy an iPad as soon as it was available. Look for companies to be marketing to them with all sorts of high tech gadgets that help people age gracefully.
  3. Hispanic Males: This one should come as no surprise because it’s been on the horizon for quiet some time. I think though that people are underestimating the purchasing power of this segment of the US population. I believe that while they may not be purchasing Lois Vutton purchases, they certainly want to live the American dream by achievable means.

For Business, the 2010 Census means that they need to start marketing and researching outside of their comfort zone. Even in our pseudo-multicultural society, white males dominate the business landscape and its not until companies start thinking outside of their circles.

Let’s face it, as the 2010 Census will tell us the Anglo-male is no longer of prominence in the US and its time for business to start marketing to the real consumers.

And to do so in a genuine way.

  1. I think #1 on that list is #1, if I was a company I wouldnt spend money marketing to hispanics or affluent baby boomers. Because affluent baby boomers would naturally spend money ANYWAY. if they are above 60 and affluent, theyve got nothing to do, but money to spend. So theyll really just buy anything that sounds sweet that they hear about. As for hispanics, I think the keyword is purchasing power. They dont have enough of it, especially because trends already prove that women hold more purchasing power over men, hispanic males would fall under lower income brackets, and spend their money primarily on necessities. The only way marketing to them would work is if you market everyday products to them, which really doesn’t say much in my opinion because day to day products can be broadly marketed and yield effective results regardless. And with issues of legality and immigration, do companies want to bank on a group of people that may or may not stick around pending how regulation turns out. However, despite all this I guess a simple cost effective method of just including Hispanic men into ur marketing plan would be to just have everything in Spanish as well as English, that’s really all they need.

    Going to your #1 though, while I think this is the hottest of the 3 you listed, 15 million people (asian americans in the US), with an AVG income higher than any other race with about 57K for all asians, and specifically 69K for INDIAN americans, I think this statistic better suits small and mid size businesses that can focus on a more specific niche market, as opposed to larger companies that still need a the other 285 million people to generate competitive revenues to keep shareholders happy worldwide.

    interesting stuff though.

    • Well said Aditya! Though I think you may be underestimating the purchasing power of Hispanics. While they may not be buying high-priced luxury goods, they are buying lower priced basic goods (and upgrades) by the cart load. Lots of people buying cheap stuff =$$$. I also think that if companies spend some time getting to know (and by know I mean develop cultural insights) the Hispanic consumer, they can only profit more.

      You bring up a good point about the educational attainment and income of AIAs. They make the most and snap, they are smart (over 60% have at least a BA) but they unlike most nations do not spend easily. I think they are getting over that now and perhaps in 5 years they’ll be crowding the Louis Vutton store, but for now companies need to concentrate on learning about these consumer’s behavior and how they can adapt themselves accordingly.

  2. Loving this post. Keep adding in your own opinions. It will be interesting to see what the outcomes of the census will be…

  3. Ouch. These are some pretty broad statements about the purchasing power of Hispanics. Are there numbers to back this stuff up, cuz it kind of sounds like pure stereotype. I don’t know much about this stuff, but it seems like there is probably more to this “purchasing power” parameter than per capita income – like numbers, for example a la Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid. If I’m not mistaken, I think the message of that book was that you don’t have to market to the richest people in order to make a profit or have a successful business model.

    • Noted Neel. Its true, there is a lot to be made when you consider the fortune at the bottom of the pyramid. The main point of my post was not to say that we should only consider the rich, merely that these are new groups of people whom business people need to market to on a human level if they plan on succeeding.

      • See I still don’t agree with the targeting hispanic market, because wal-mart is the blanket “target all high volume low income household” store. and sears/jcpenny have been marketing to hispanics for the longest time and neither of those companies have made major headway in the past 5 years. I really think the effort and costs of good market research on hispanics would not be worth it, relative to simply lowering ur prices and offering ads in spanish. I think they would yield better results, because if I were hispanic I wouldn’t care who took time to market to me, I would just want the lowest prices seeing as how money is hard to come by for me, and its a lot more valuable and my budget would have little to no squeeze room. As for the asian americans/indian americans, you are right they don’t spend money easily, but because they have so much, spending money to research them to get them to spend more money is still valuable in the long run, especially considering their status oriented nature, and that if you can get one indian to buy in on it, all their indian friends will eat it up too. but i still disagree with the hispanic market statement, granted yes sometimes you dont need to target the highest income ppl to make money, but at hte same time I think that the statement in the book about marketing to the bottom of the pyramid only makes sense and applies to certain situations, and not all. Especially not for every day operational house hold goods. I still think that if you want to shoot for bottom of the pyramid marketing, the best industry is food.

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