Nielsen to Marketers: Hispanics Won't Stop and Melt for You

  |  May 1, 2012   |  Comments

A new study challenges an old notion - the so-called "melting pot."

Add Nielsen to the list of many organizations that have now studied, sliced, and dissected the new Hispanic market. But this study, released earlier in the month, has given us a few new things to think about.

800px-2010-us-census-hispanic-map                                 U.S. Hispanic Population, 2010 Census. Source: Wikipedia

First is the sheer relative size of the market. The U.S. Hispanic market is expected to reach $1.5 trillion in buying power by 2015. Numbers like this have been reported before, but the 2015 number is even more interesting when you look at the relative strength of the market. According to Nielsen, the per capita income of U.S. Hispanics is now higher than it is in any of the so-called emerging BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) nations. Shorthand: if U.S. Hispanics were a nation, it would qualify perhaps as the world's leading emerging country. If that doesn't get your attention, I don't know what will.

But let's pause a moment before looking at Nielsen's other key finding: namely, that Hispanics "exhibit distinct product consumption patterns and are not buying in ways that are the same as the total market." Just a few weeks ago, the Pew Hispanic Center - an organization that has been following the development of the Hispanic market perhaps more closely than anyone else - found that most Hispanics reject the use of the umbrella terms "Hispanic" and "Latino." According to the study, a "majority (51%) say they most often identify themselves by their family's country of origin; just 24% say they prefer a pan-ethnic label." With evidence that Hispanics are not a simple, monolithic tribe, what use do marketers have with generalities about the size of the market, the strength of the market, and - as Nielsen's note about "distinct product consumption patterns" suggests - the special habits of participants in the market?

The answer lies in the countervailing evidence that marketers have uncovered. Despite the fact that many of us would rather identify according to country of origin, there are in fact things that bind a wide range of different Hispanic cultures in the U.S. I call this effect the "metatribe" - the loose aggregation of different groups that sometimes come together when they are approached the right way, or the wrong way. According to the results of a recent project sponsored by the White House (disclosure: I am an informal advisor to the group), Latinos throughout the U.S. - regardless of their country of origin - are interested in jobs, education, healthcare, immigration reform, and Hispanic heritage. The lesson for marketers here may be, "Don't get hung up on labels." Hispanic, Latino…a rose by any other name may smell as sweet. Provided the effort is authentic, Hispanics can be approached as a group.

But what I like about the Nielsen study is that it takes the idea of unity one step further. By saying there are distinct consumption patterns, Nielsen in essence is saying two things: first, because of the sheer size of the market, marketers will absolutely need to adapt to the new patterns:

"In many categories, Hispanics have different consumption growth rates than Non-Hispanics. Beverage sales trends powerful evidence of Hispanic consumers acting as the accelerators for growing categories and the brakes for declining ones. This can be described as the Hispanic Advantage that is found in the projected Compounded Annual Growth Rates (CAGR) from 2010 to 2015 in eight of nine beverage categories, where Hispanic CAGR is equal to, and in many cases higher than the CAGR of non-Hispanics. These projections mirror trends show powerful evidence of Hispanic consumers acting as the accelerators for growing categories and the brakes for declining ones."

Second - and this is what's most interesting - the Hispanic market is not showing any signs of acculturating or vanishing into the so-called "melting pot." That may not be a challenge for marketers who have accepted the realities and dictates of multicultural marketing. But for those who haven't, it may be a big wake-up call. If Hispanics keep growing at the pace we are expected to grow - one out of three Americans by 2050 will be of Hispanic descent, according to projections by the most recent census - and we keep refusing to "melt," the U.S. Hispanic market, with all its irregularities, may soon become the new normal, or at least one of the new normals.

Advice to marketers: do not wait. The future is already here.

ClickZ Live Chicago Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, Sept 5 to take advantage of Super Saver Rates!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Giovanni  Rodriguez

Giovanni Rodriguez is an author, consultant, and public speaker on organizational leadership and digital/social communications. The views expressed in this blog are entirely his own.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Marketing newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

IBM: Social Analytics - The Science Behind Social Media Marketing

IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.

Marin Software: The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising

The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.

Resources

Jobs

    • Digital Marketing Analyst
      Digital Marketing Analyst (GovLoop) - Washington D.C.Are you passionate about audience acquisition? Love effective copy and amazingly effective...
    • Product Specialist
      Product Specialist (Agora Inc. ) - BaltimoreDescription: The Product Specialist is hyper-focused on the customer experience and ensures that our...
    • Partnerships Senior Coordinator
      Partnerships Senior Coordinator (Zappos.com, Inc.) - Las VegasZappos IP, Inc. is looking for a Partnerships Senior Coordinator! Why join us? Our...