17 Jun 2014

The US Hispanic Market – A Powerful Minority

To say the Hispanic market in the United States is big would be an understatement.

Hispanics represent the largest minority in the USA, making up almost a fifth (16.3%) of the total population.

In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Hispanic population in the US will have reached 132.8 million people by 2050, representing nearly a third (30%) of the entire nation’s inhabitants.

Rising numbers of such magnitude present brands with enormous opportunities to promote their products and services. However, companies need to ensure that they get their marketing campaigns right if they want to appeal to Hispanic customers. And language translation and cultural adaptation are key to ensuring success in the Hispanic community

What you need to know

Recent research into the Hispanic consumer has revealed three distinctive purchasing habits.

1. They generally have a very close relationship with their families, meaning they are liable to purchase a product that will benefit the entire family as opposed to the individual.

2. They look for value for money when it comes to their acquisitions, so will do their homework before they buy, and are inclined to spend a greater amount on products that will last.

3. They retain a strong sense of culture, whether they originate from Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic.

All of these emotions have a positive impact on purchasing decisions. A localised product is therefore more likely to appeal to the Hispanic community than a generic alternative – something that is worth keeping in mind when devising your marketing strategy.

Spanish is their mother tongue

The vast majority of the Hispanic population can speak multiple languages, yet they prefer to communicate in Spanish – both at home with loved ones and at work with colleagues – so businesses should cater to this fact.

Univision and Spanish language rival Telemundo have enjoyed some of the high rating gains in the United States in recent years – clearly reflecting the overall population increase in the Hispanic community.

Translation is of the utmost importance when trying to sell a product to a different demographic, no matter where you are in the world. Brands should therefore pay close attention to detail and leave no stone unturned when communicating in the preferred language of their target audience.

Even the smallest slip-up can prematurely bring the curtains down on a campaign, effectively wasting all the time, effort and money you have invested, so take your time, do your homework and make sure you get every last word right.

This is where professional translators and proofreaders prove their weight in gold.

Don’t be afraid to adapt

Appealing to a local audience and getting them onside is half the battle. Get that right and you should be in a good position to grow your organisation’s market share.

For instance, electronics giant Best Buy developed a Spanish language version of their site to appeal to the Hispanic community.

Since then, Best Buy has found that users of the Spanish language spend twice as much time on the website and also spend twice as much money per visit than users of the English site.

“Latinos are giving us credit in being leaders in the e-commerce space in services to them,” says Ana Grace, global web team product manager.

Brands looking to appeal to the Hispanic consumer should follow Best Buy’s lead, accurately and meaningfully translating all content, localising image assets and optimising their Spanish sites based on feedback from Hispanic users.

Get online and go digital

Research has shown that Hispanics are more likely to have smartphones than the average US citizen, while they also heavily rely on their phones and computers to make purchase decisions and purchases.

Terra USA’s 2012 Hispanic Digital Consumer Study produced several key findings when it comes to the shopping habits of Hispanics.

  • 25% text or call friends or family about a product, while 23% send a picture of a product to friends or family while in a retail store.
  • 48% access the internet from their smartphone, against 38% of non-Hispanics, while 55% access the internet when on the go, against 46% of non-Hispanics.
  • 29% use online content and advertisements for researching entertainment DVDs, music and games, against 15% of non-Hispanics, while 30% use online content and advertisements for researching computers and tablets, against 24% of non-Hispanics.
  • 24% purchase products using their mobile phone, against 10% among non-Hispanics.

These trends demonstrate a number of ways in which digital marketers can reach the Hispanic market.

You should therefore take note of the behavioural shifts listed above and adjust your digital marketing focus and spend accordingly.

A mobile website is perhaps one of the most important weapons a brand can have – especially when targeting Latinos – so if you haven’t got one already, make the effort to develop one and have it up and running as soon as possible.

Mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, are increasingly taking the place of the traditional PC in the Hispanic home, and having a website that caters to these devices will certainly provide a big boost to your campaign and contribute significantly to your company’s bottom line.

Big spenders

The buying power of the Hispanic community in the United States is expected to reach $1.5 trillion in 2015, according to AMG Strategic Advisors, up from $1 trillion in 2010, while they currently have an average shopping budget of $425 per month, higher than the typical $416 budget for the overall population.

Brands who want a slice of this pie must act accordingly and give Hispanics a product that appeals to them. If it doesn’t, then the likelihood is that the product will ultimately fail.

But always remember that language is vital and don’t ignore the importance of culture. Without the right translation, your product is less likely to sell, so make this one of your top priorities when putting together an advertising campaign for the US Hispanic market.


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