When you think of Vietnamese Americans and business, nail salons or pho restaurants may come to mind. This does reflect one important aspect of the Vietnamese American communities throughout the U.S.- many individuals are entrepreneurs. In fact, about 80% of all nail salons in California, and 43% of all nail salons in the country are Vietnamese-owned, according to a Nielsen study. But this is only a small fraction of the Vietnamese American population and fails to exemplify the much bigger impact Vietnamese Americans actually have in the U.S.
PCA’s CEO Giancarlo Pacheco noticed that while a third of the world’s total Vietnamese population lives in the U.S. not a lot of marketers are targeting them. “Vietnamese Americans are overlooked due to a lack of leadership and/or representation on a corporate level,” said Pacheco. “Compared to Chinese, Koreans, and Asian Indians, Vietnamese aren’t as well represented when it comes to commercial management positions.”
Here are four big reasons why advertisers should start thinking of investing their marketing dollars towards this group:
- They’re Affluent and Loyal
About 2 million Vietnamese are U.S. citizens, and they generate more than $57 billion of annual purchasing power. The median household income of Vietnamese Americans reaches $60,000, almost $10,000 above the median household income of the general population.
Vietnamese American households are also larger than the national average. That means they buy more groceries, transportation-related items, consumer packaged goods, and etc.
Like most Asian groups, Vietnamese Americans are also brand-conscious. They are likely to choose a brand they are familiar with and will pay more for a brand they trust.
- They’re Business Owners
As mentioned, many Vietnamese Americans own their own businesses- about 9% of them, which is 3% higher than the national average. 310,864 Vietnamese-owned businesses currently exist nationwide generating $35 billion sales per year.
Some of the most popular industries among Vietnamese American entrepreneurs include health care, professional services, real estate and retail.
- They’re Successful
Vietnamese Americans have found success in various career fields. David Tran, the founder of Huy Fong Foods (maker of Sriracha), is a refugee who fled his home country on a boat during the Fall of Saigon in the 1970s. Thuan Pham, the Chief Technology Officer at Uber Technologies, Inc., shares a similar story.
The success of Vietnamese Americans penetrates through generations. Michelle Phan, a daughter of refugees, is a business owner, a YouTube sensation and a Forbes’ “30 under 30” influencer. Jeannie Mai, another daughter of refugee parents, is a style icon and TV personality with hundreds of thousands of fans.
In politics, Vietnamese Americans stand out among other Asian Americans. Voter participation is significantly higher due to their refugee status and their strong anti-Communist sentiments. The community’s strong support system also led to politicians like Janet Nguyen, Tony Lam and John Tran becoming the ‘first Vietnamese American’ in their respective arenas. John Tran, the Mayor of Rosemead California, became the first Vietnamese-American Mayor in US when he began his term in 2007. California State Senator Janet Nguyen and Texas State Representative Hubert Vo are more examples of leaders on a state-wide level. Luong Xuan Viet was the first Vietnamese American to make general officer in the US Army, and the list continues.
- They Speak Their Native Language
81% of Vietnamese Americans are Vietnamese speakers and 48% of them are not fluent in English. Low English proficiency leads to the heavy consumption of ethnic Vietnamese media such as in-language TV, newspapers and radio media that have been around for many years. Many Vietnamese immigrants have kept the habit of consuming these Vietnamese in-language media and trusting the content from these media.
Additionally, word-of-mouth communication is huge within the Vietnamese American communities.
Many of their decisions, including purchasing decisions, are impacted by their families, people surrounding them and the media they use on a daily basis.
81% of Vietnamese American speakers are Vietnamese speakers
Vietnamese Americans, with their large population, purchasing power and influence have become increasingly important for marketers. Now is the prime time to begin building solid relationships and a strong reputation in these communities. Solid brand preference and recognition will ultimately create the word-of-mouth buzz necessary to yield a higher a return of investment in the years to come.