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Filipinos Among the Biggest Spenders in U.S.

Philippine Daily Inquirer, News Report, Dyna Lopez Posted: Jun 16, 2009

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. What an eye opener: Filipinos are among the biggest spenders in the US, second only to Indians, and spending an average of $88.6 billion in goods and services annually.

This was revealed by Prof. Antonio Villegas Jr. of the College of Alameda and the University of San Francisco who conducted a nationwide research on the subject. He presented it before a media forum organized by the Philippine American Press Club-USA (PAPC-USA), together with the Asian American Advertising Federation (3AF).

The forum sought to gain insights on Asian marketing and find answers to questions like, how can businesses reach their customers and survive during this economic crisis? It also tried to learn about consumer behavior: Who are Filipinos? Where do they live? What do they buy? Where do they get their news and information?

In his presentation entitled Demographics, Culture and Behavior, which is the highlight of the forum, Villegas, who is also PAPC-USA board member, also listed the following information about the Filipino American market:

* Filipino Americans have the highest employment rate at 68.9 percent compared to 64.8 percent overall nationwide;

* About 63 percent conduct their banking online and 75 percent use the ATM;

* About 68.9 percent of Filipino Americans are employed compared to 64.8 percent nationwide;

* About 5.5 percent of Filipino Americans live below the poverty line compared to 13 percent nationwide;

* McDonalds, Walmart, and Costco are their most popular brands;

* They spend an average of $147 a week on groceries; and

* About 93 percent practice recycling.

Participants to the forum, including some more than 80 Filipino publishers, advertisers, and business owners, thus learned that Filipinos comprise a growing market which is sometimes misunderstood and neglected.

Esther Chavez, PAPC-USA president and US director of sales of INQUIRER.net, noted that a lot of the information on the Filipino American consumer is outdated.

Its about time that we straighten the facts from the myths. The FilAm market is a strong consumer base and several mainstream companies who've reached out to us have benefited greatly, she said.

Chavez said tapping the Filipino American market may be the way out of the recession for some companies.

The forum had 10 booths, representing print, radio, television, and online media businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area. Exhibitors ranged from established longtime publishers Philippine News to newcomers such as FilAm Star.

The video-taped forum resembled a television talk show. It began with welcoming remarks from ABS-CBN, PAPC-USA, and 3AF and followed by a brief Filipino 101 video presentationa crash course following the day and life of Filipinos and families, complete with real-life scenarios, and unscripted interviews.

More than 97 percent of the participants who attended last weeks forum on marketing to US-Filipino consumers at ABS-CBNs Redwood City studio were Filipinos; the rest were Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Caucasians.

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