What Marketers Should Know About Reaching Latinos
Latinos or Hispanics are currently the largest minority in the country. In the last decade alone the Hispanic market grew 60%. Although the Latino market is viewed by many as a large homogenous market, it is made up of diverse ethnic and racial groups with distinct socio-demographic characteristics.
A significant part of the market, over half by some estimates, is Spanish language dominant. Some are highly acculturated and integrated into the mainstream markets. Others are Hispanic culture-centered.
Mexico is the largest Latino market today and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Though the U.S. is already home to a significant percentage of the world Latino market, it eventually will be home to the second largest Latino market in the world. Market research projections indicate that by 2020 there will be 80 million Hispanics in the U.S. By that time, 1 out of every 5 Americans will be of Latin heritage.
Why is this growth of consequence to the general market? Not only are Latinos growing as a market segment, they are young, upwardly mobile and have money (“dinero“) to spend. Currently, Latino buying power is estimated conservatively at $600 billion dollars a year. To put it into perspective, U.S. Hispanic buying power is higher than the gross national product of Mexico.
Furthermore, research indicates Hispanics spend more money for basics like food, clothing and transportation than members of other market groups do. And they are brand loyal. These characteristics combined make them a highly desirable target for marketers.
The terms Hispanic and Latino do not refer to racial groups; rather they describe a population with common cultural and ethnic elements. Individuals of Spanish or Latin American ancestry often consider themselves Latinos. Latinos can be any race.
Hispanics may be categorized using race classifications, country of origin or ancestry. Some 59% of U.S. Latinos are of Mexican ancestry. Those of Puerto Rican heritage represent the next largest Hispanic group, with a total of 10% of all U.S. Hispanics.
Latinos are young. They have a median age of 25. Every week 7,000 Hispanics turn 18. As a new immigrant population its income earning potential is still growing and maturing. And Hispanics spend more than other groups. For example, while Non-Hispanic White and African Americans spend 68% and 64%, respectively, on basic items, Hispanics spend 75%.
There is no single, simple all-encompassing answer as to what is the best medium to reach this market. When in doubt, seek an expert or at least someone familiar and knowledgeable with the market segment you wish to reach. Approach your audience after first learning about them. Reaching Hispanic audiences effectively is about much more than just translating your existing ad, brochure or message.
For instance, Hispanic media are as diverse as the markets they serve. Print media are published in English, Spanish or both. Their scope can be local, national or international. Broadcast media are usually Spanish dominant, including several national TV networks and a broad range of radio stations. Web sites may be in one or both languages.