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What You Need to Know About Hispanic Consumers

By Rieva Lesonsky

The Hispanic population in the U.S. is the nation’s largest minority group, and it’s still growing. Some 16 percent of Americans ages 6 and up were Hispanic in 2012, an increase from 14 percent in 2006, according to a recently released report from Experian Marketing Services. The New American Consumer: Trends in Hispanic Consumer Demographics. Among younger age groups, an even larger percentage is Hispanic, signaling that this demographic will have even more purchasing power in the years ahead. While fewer than 10 percent of Americans age 50-plus are Hispanic, nearly 25 percent of those aged 6-34 are.

Hispanic households have major purchasing power. They account for 10 percent of all discretionary spending in the U.S., or $164.2 billion—an increase from $143.9 billion in 2011. While discretionary spending by non-Hispanic households remained pretty much flat in the past year, discretionary spending by Hispanic households increased by 14 percent.

One reason for the spending could be that overall, Hispanic consumers are more optimistic about both the U.S. economy and their personal financial situation than the average U.S. consumer–5 index points above the average, according to the report.

However, the importance and influence of Hispanic shoppers varies depending on where your business is located. In the South and West, for example, Hispanic households account for a much bigger portion of discretionary spending than in the Northeast and Midwest. Hispanic households in the San Antonio, Texas, area account for 60 percent of the region’s discretionary spending, but Hispanic households in the Washington, DC, area account for a mere 6 percent of discretionary spending.

If you are trying to reach Hispanics—even those who are American-born and/or primarily speak English—it’s important to advertise in Spanish as well as English. Why? Experian found that emotional ties to Spanish create a positive effect for companies that advertise in Spanish. More than half of Spanish-dominant Hispanics and nearly one-third of English-dominant Hispanics agree with the statement, “When I hear a company advertise in Spanish, it makes me feel like they respect my heritage and want my business.”

That means if you have a website or ecommerce site, you need to offer the option to access it in Spanish (especially important if you’re targeting Spanish-dominant Hispanics).

Last, but not least, Experian notes that Hispanic consumers tend to be early adopters of mobile devices, and are heavier users of these devices than the average consumer. That means making your website not only Spanish-accessible but also mobile-friendly is also crucial.

Image by Flickr user moodboardphotography (Creative Commons)


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