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The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Consumption and Consumer Studies by J. Michael Ryan, Daniel Thomas Cook

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Asian Americans and Consumption

STACEY J. LEE and SEJUNG HAM

University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

DOI: 10.1002/9781118989463.wbeccs11

Asian Americans make up 5.8 percent of the total population in the United States and are the fastest-growing racial group there; there was an increase of 46 percent from the 2000 census to the 2010 census. The growth in the Asian American population has led to an increasing interest in the subject of Asian American consumption among scholars from a range of academic disciplines. Popular discussions of Asian Americans often characterize them as a monolithic group, but the reality is that Asian Americans are highly diverse in terms of ethnicity, language, religion, social class, generation, educational attainment, political affiliation, and other identities. Such diversity makes it difficult to speak about a single Asian American pattern of consumption or consumer identity. As with other groups, patterns of consumption are influenced by a host of factors, including social class, age, and cultural identity. Furthermore, Asian American consumption represents a form of cultural expression and reflects Asian American aspirations and longings.

Marketing scholars have identified Asian Americans as an important consumer market in the twenty-first century. Consumer research groups view Asian Americans as a powerful consumer base because of the high levels of education and high incomes among certain segments of the Asian American population. In efforts to tap ...

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