Segmenting US consumers

11 ways to segment US consumers

The US consumer market is one of the most fruitful yet challenging markets for foreign brands. While we don’t encourage a cookie-cutter approach to consumer segmentation, this report, created with a Chinese audience in mind, breaks down some of the complexities of US consumers and inspires new ways to look at the US market.

Download the English version of the report

Segmenting US consumers


Although Chinese products like porcelain, tea, and silk have been in the US since the mid-1600’s, Chinese brands only became household names for Americans very recently, as China was seen as the factory of the world, and consumer products left the country with the logos of foreign brands stamped on them.

Today, there is many opportunities for Chinese brands in the US, but as a very demographically non-homogenous country with nuanced regional differences, segmenting US consumers can be challenging for foreign brands.

A peek at our 11 US consumer segmentations

  • Geographic regions
  • Red vs. Blue states
  • Segmenting the wealthy
  • Health nuts vs The Standard American Diet
  • Urban vs. Rural
  • Segmenting the college educated
  • Segmenting by cars driven 
  • Tech geeks vs. digital skeptics
  • Segmenting immigrants
  • Segmenting by travel style
  • Segmenting beauty consumers

Common misconceptions about US consumers

Misconception: Americans are all status-oriented and spend a ton on luxury

Reality: Compared to Chinese consumers, Americans spend much less of their income on luxury. Purchasing for enriching one’s status is overblown by Hollywood movies, as Americans don’t value community as much as Chinese, they are not focused on purchases that are impressive to others.

Misconception: A majority of people live in giant cities like New York and Los Angeles

Reality: Over half the population lives in suburbs, and there are more people living in rural areas than in urban areas. Many people living in suburbs commute into urban areas to work.

Misconception: Americans get kicked out of their house at 18 years old and have to live completely independently

Reality: While Americans do value independence and 18 years is often the cut-off for financial independence from the family, a majority of families will still provide resources and help for their children into their 20’s.

Misconception: Americans eat hamburgers and sandwiches every day.

Reality: American cuisine is very diverse, as it is an immigrant nation, it pulls together cuisine from all over the world, and blends them to make new creations.

Misconception: Americans are all very patriotic and think their country is the best

Reality: While there’s no shortage of national pride in the US, it also comes with a heavy dose of willingness to criticize their own country. Many Americans also carry romanticized ideas of other countries and use other countries as examples of where the US can improve.

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