Hispanic Consumer Research
A long-term approach to connecting with Hispanic consumers requires brands to step outside of their comfort zone and spend more time on research. Get in touch with ThinkNow Research, we specialize in Hispanic market research.
Today, 50.5 million Hispanics live in the United States (roughly 16 percent of the U.S. population describe themselves as ethnically “Hispanic”). Not only are Hispanics growing exponentially faster than any other segment of the U.S. population; they are the most culturally diverse group as well. With a buying power estimated at $1.1 trillion in 2011 (9.5% of the U.S. total), it’s no wonder advertisers spent $4.3 billion to target Hispanics in the previous year. The growing focus on the Hispanic consumer has led brands to commission studies to determine how Latinos respond to advertising and marketing. Between 2010 and 2012, key Hispanic consumer research has shown that preconceived stereotypes and a fundamental misunderstanding of the Hispanic market continue to weaken the ability of brand marketers to connect with Hispanic consumers. As highlighted by a myriad of recent studies, the new Hispanic “Super Consumer” requires brands to apply a more flexible and nuanced approach to engagement.
First and foremost, brands need to recognize Hispanic consumers are not members of any one monolithic ethnic group. While Mexicans make up more than 60 percent of the Hispanic population (mostly based in California, Arizona, and Texas), Hispanics in other parts of the country include large groups of Puerto Ricans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans, and Cubans; each of which poses a rich and unique culture that includes a different form of the Spanish language. Understanding the nuances of each culture—which requires an internationalist perspective—is necessary in order to create targeted messaging for each segment of the Hispanic population. There also seems to be evidence that brand marketers underestimate the trend setting influence of Hispanics. Following President Barack Obama’s re-election, it seems clear that Hispanics are a multicultural coalition that has the ability to influence politics, as well as culture. According to the most recent ThinkNow Research Hispanic omnibus, the median age of the Hispanic consumer is 28 years old, which is 10 years younger than the total market age of the U.S. population. This is evident in the fact that half of all Hispanic consumers in the U.S. own a smartphone; which now requires brands to tailor marketing campaigns in accordance to language, media consumption, and ownership dynamics. And while brands continue to neglect targeting affluent Hispanics, at times including them in the general population, their buying power is set to reach $680 billion by 2015 and cannot be neglected. Brand marketers have also assumed the Hispanic population is largely centered in urban areas, which has resulted in neglecting the purchase power of Hispanics in small towns and suburbs. While it is clear that Hispanics will continue to have a predominant presence in urban centers, there is no question the increasing suburbanization of Hispanics—as evident in Latino migrations to the Midwest and South—requires brand marketers to customize their strategy to appeal to Hispanics inside, as well as outside the city.
Hispanic consumer research also shows that while Hispanics have shown brand loyalty based on cultural relevance; communal tendencies have shown Hispanics are willing to convert at an increasing frequency. As a result, brands must be willing to communicate with Hispanics following distinct consumption patterns that are different from the overall market. Their increasing spending capacity, cultural sustainability, and unique backgrounds require brands to tailor messaging to Hispanic consumers beyond Spanish-language campaigns. A long-term approach to connecting with Hispanic consumers requires brands to step outside of their comfort zone and spend more time on research. Brand marketers must finally begin to view Hispanics as a new type of consumer. They must allow Hispanics to join in the conversation, engage in the branding effort, and build trust based on cultural relevancy and above all—empowerment through a nuanced approach to engagement.