Last updated on August 6th, 2019 at 05:18 pm
In 2019, the U.S. Hispanic population reached 59.9 million, representing a 1.2 million increase from the previous year. This growth has fueled the buying power of the U.S. Hispanic market which boasts $1.7 trillion, a number that’s projected to rise. Beyond these great statistics, it’s also critical to note that the characteristics of the Hispanic market have also evolved, and businesses that not only heed but effectively act upon these trends will have the most success at connecting with this growing market.
A significant factor that is re-shaping the Hispanic market is the fact that the Hispanic population is getting younger. The median age of this population is 28 years. Hispanic consumers are now the youngest ethnic group in America and the younger age groups of Hispanics are becoming more diverse than older Americans.
Let’s make sure you do not miss out on $1.7 trillion of U.S Hispanic buying power. We’ll help you get started by exploring the trends of the growing Hispanic market and how you can capitalize on them as a consumer brand.
Purchasing Trends In The Hispanic Community and How Some Brands are Acting Upon them.
Not all markets are created equal and nowhere is this as evident as in the Hispanic community. The types of products they purchase, their buying behavior and the amount of money they spend are uniquely worth mentioning.
Hispanics are spending at a faster rate than non-Hispanics. In 2018, Hispanic spending increased by 1.8% from the previous year, in comparison with a 1.3% increase from non-Hispanics. When tracking sales performance in 37 markets, Hispanic consumers’ sales growth was found to be equal to or stronger than non-Hispanic consumers’ sales in 76% of these markets.
So the Hispanic market is comprised of eager consumers – but what are they purchasing?
Some of the hottest selling consumer categories in this market include general food, merchandise and beauty. One of the top mass retailers for U.S. Hispanics, Walmart, has a track record of success in engaging the audience. In 2017, Walmart launched a campaign in both English and Spanish to highlight their Fresh Grocery department As part of this effort, they localized their tagline from English to Spanish- from “Wow the Crowd” to “Enciende la Cocina” which resonates with the Hispanic value of enjoying mealtime with friends and family as opposed to using food to impress.
Understanding values is as important as recognizing the trends. As a culture, Hispanics value personal appearance and build self-esteem through beauty. They are more willing to spend on personal care products and more willing to try new products and experiment. L’Oreal, upon seeing the market potential of the Latina beauty consumer, invested dollars behind growing the sales from the Latina consumer base. The company launched a campaign in both English and Spanish to highlight product features and benefits within their Total Repair 5 brand. Results showed that content in Spanish outperformed English content, with 31% brand recall vs. 13% for the English language content.
That information is a powerful ally for businesses looking to tap into the Hispanic mindset.
Hispanics As Early Adopters Of Technology
The Hispanic demographic is tech-savvy and was the first to adopt smartphones. They are consistently ahead of non-Hispanic groups in usage of current technology and purchase intent. Hispanics also have a more optimistic view of newer and emerging technologies. Here are some interesting statistics:
• Hispanic smartphone users are growing at 8.4%, outpacing non-Hispanic users who are growing at 4.8%.
• 71% of Hispanics are likely to purchase technology within the next 12 months.
• Hispanics spend over 52 hours a week on their smartphone, spending up to 8 more hours than non-Hispanics.
• 80% of Hispanic adults are accessing the internet through their mobile devices.
For businesses, that means the potential to reach this market online is huge – provided they have the right outreach process in place, including a cultural understanding of the people they are speaking to and the language components to support it. Providing Spanish language content and translating content from English to Spanish is just the beginning of reaching this digitally progressive community.
Other Notable Buying Trends
The categories we’ve mentioned are just two that demonstrate the power of the Hispanic market, but they are certainly not the only ones that have shown growth thanks to a growing Latino population in the United States.
Among other categories that have seen growth are music, where Hispanics spend nearly 30% more each year than the general population, pet care, where Hispanics are more likely than the national average to own a dog or cat, and beer, where the Hispanic market has contributed 10% growth to the premium and above market.
Again, these statistics are not merely numbers but they reflect cultural expectations and values that are key to understanding the market. For example, Latino spending on music reflects a cultural tradition of community and celebration. By understanding the trends and the meaning behind them, businesses are in a far better place to begin serving this market.
Understanding the trends is one thing, but reaching the people behind them presents its own challenges. Businesses would be best served by truly understanding cultural differences or providing even the most basic outreach via Spanish language websites and advertising or marketing translation to Spanish.
While there are many considerations that come into play before embarking on a multilingual and multicultural marketing campaign, here are just some keys to reaching this growing audience.
Before you begin, take the time to understand your demographic. The Hispanic community is as diverse within itself as it is from other cultures. There is no “one size fits all” and to oversimplify the market by lumping consumers into one category would be to do them and your business a great disservice.
We’ve spoken collectively about the “Hispanic” market but to engage the community effectively, first you need to understand their cultural references. Cuban Hispanics are different from Mexican Hispanics, who are different from Argentinians and so on.
Your product or service may appeal to one or more of these groups, and that is for you to determine. If you don’t have the budget to target specific cultural and geographic groups, a more Spanish-neutral approach can work, but again, approach this with care and consideration. A haphazard or quickly executed plan can backfire in a loss of credibility and trust that can take a lot longer to recover from than simply doing it right in the first place.
Once you’ve clearly defined your target and understand their point of view, wants, needs and expectations, you can begin outreach.
Effective Marketing Strategies
A study conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center found that of the 82% of Spanish speaking Latino adults, 95% of them feel it is “very important” for their children and future generations to continue to speak Spanish.
But counter intuitively most Spanish speaking people gravitate toward English language websites.
Why? In part because of a dearth of Spanish language websites, and in part because those that do exist are so poorly translated and don’t provide a relevant user experience.
This is a tremendous opportunity to fill a gap where a large swath of the population eagerly awaits recognition with the help of Spanish website translation. McDonald’s does this well with their domain meencanta.com, a play on their “I’m lovin’ it” campaign, translated more colloquially as “I like it” but designed to maintain its positive and lyrical effect within the Hispanic culture.
If you still believe you can get by on an English-only site, or use a consumer level tool like Google Translate to push something out inexpensively, it’s time to rethink that strategy in favor of something both culturally sensitive and relevant.
Creating a customized domain is a good place to start. Offering your visitors the opportunity to toggle easily between languages is another plus, and can promote cross-generational purchasing.
And remember that you need to invest just as much time and effort into your Spanish language site as your English language one. Leaving your site to languish is opening the door to lost opportunity. A poorly translated site as well as an outdated or broken one can instill mistrust. And when people are not confident in your brand, they won’t buy from you.
Whenever possible, avoid direct English to Spanish translations of your English language materials. The problem is that language is far from precise. We speak in nuances often defined by context and in colloquialisms and slang that may not exist in another language or may mean something entirely – and unfortunately – different. Consider transcreation instead, which is a creative way of retaining the meaning and relevance of language without necessarily providing a one-to-one translation. A great example of transcreation is the McDonald’s phrase mentioned earlier.
When considering advertising, it is important to understand that ads with content of an emotional nature connected better with the Millennial audience. And perhaps just as important as the right English to Spanish translation is understanding and tapping into the passions of this younger market, specifically sports and music. Combine effective transcreation with emotionally compelling content around the things people care about and you have a far greater chance of reaching consumers – and their wallets.
Finally, consider taking your marketing and advertising mobile. A strong mobile campaign that is culturally engaging will put you ahead of where most businesses are currently. Remember, simply “speaking the language” isn’t enough. Creatively engaging your audience, understanding their passions and providing what they need are the keys to a strong campaign.
Hopefully by now you’ve begun to grasp the true untapped potential of the Hispanic market, the spending power of this demographic and the rather large gaps that are waiting to be filled by businesses with the right mindset.
If you have questions about how you can take advantage of this tremendous opportunity and do it with integrity and effectiveness, let us know. We’ve been supporting businesses around the globe with services like website translation and localization as they move into multicultural markets and we have the experience and technology to support you.
Originally published Sep 21, 2015 @ 18:17, updated July 31st, 2019.