Marketers Should Be Courting the US Hispanic Market Now

Conor O'Malley  | 

The U.S. Hispanic market is now 60 million strong. And while purchasing power may slightly lag the population percentage (10% of spend vs. 20% of Americans), it’s still a $1.5 trillion market that’s poised to grow significantly as Hispanics make gains in education, age and financial instruments that will increase their purchasing power. Brands that cultivate relationships with these consumers today will be in a position to profit strongly in the future. Here’s how, according to a new eMarketer review of current research into the demographic. 

Use English and Spanish in Your Messaging
One of the most effective and powerful means of connecting with the demographic is through language, eMarketer says. More than half of Spanish-dominant speakers (53%) and nearly one-third (27%) of English-dominant Hispanics endorsed the statement “When I hear a company advertise in Spanish, it makes me feel like they respect my heritage and want my business.” Similarly, 50% of Spanish-dominant and 24% of English-dominant Hispanics declared themselves “much more loyal toward companies that show appreciation for our culture by advertising in Spanish.” For now, brands can certainly connect with many Hispanics by tapping into an ethnic identity. 

In fact, smart bilingual advertising creative has the potential to capture the cultural as well as linguistic “code-switching” that is intimately familiar to Latinos who are constantly navigating two languages, two cultures, and two worldviews, according to a Mediapost article on Horowitz Research’s “State of Consumer Engagement” study. Innovative advertisers like Verizon, McDonald’s, Bud Light, and Xfinity, as well as networks ABC and Telemundo, are embracing new approaches to engage Hispanic consumers in Spanish and English media environments, by running Spanish-language ads on English TV, English ads on Spanish TV, or bilingual ads in either. 

Video is Vital, So Capitalize on It
Digital video is becoming an increasingly important part of the entertainment mix for Hispanics, in part because of the opportunity to tune into more culturally relevant programming. eMarketer forecasts that 76% of Hispanics will be digital video viewers this year, vs. 71% of the total population. 

YouTube has a strong following among Hispanics. Morning Consult’s September 2018 polling identified 73% of Hispanics as YouTube users, vs. 60% of total respondents, in part because of the option to view Latino focused music and content. Many Hispanics also pay for digital video in the form of subscription video-on-demand (SVOD). Nielsen identified 70% of Hispanics as SVOD users in its Q3 2018 audience research, for example, in part because there is more Hispanic-oriented content on Netflix, Hulu and others, than on network TV. 

That said, Hispanics watch plenty of traditional television. Nielsen’s Q1 2019 research showed Hispanic adults averaging just under 22 hours per week of live/time-shifted TV vs. 31 hours for the total population. So television advertising is a solid means of getting in front of the demographic.

Digital for Research
Digital also figures strongly in their purchasing behavior. Search engines and social media are leading venues for pre-purchase research. Digital is also where Hispanics encounter much of the advertising they see. 

Morning Consult polling from September 2018 asked respondents where they encountered the last advertisement they saw. For about half of Hispanics, the venue was digital, including social media (36%), online video (9%), a website (5%) or an email (3%). The mobile orientation in Hispanics’ digital usage is evident in their ecommerce activity. But they have not abandoned PCs for making purchases. The GlobalWebIndex survey found Hispanics are more likely than non-Hispanics to have made a recent purchase via mobile and less likely to have done so via desktop/laptop.

Regardless of device, Hispanics are more apt to buy if a bargain is involved. The GlobalWebIndex polling identified the top “online purchase drivers” among Hispanics as “free delivery” (cited by 63%) and “coupons and discounts” (50%).

With Hispanic buying power expected to increase by $400 billion by 2023, marketers would do well to begin courting the demographic now. And given their highly digital nature, and the fact that they are enthusiastic TV viewers, reaching them won’t pose huge challenges as long as advertisers develop content that will be culturally resonant.

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