September 12, 2013

Gone are the days of stereotyping a Hispanic as a Spanish-speaking morenito immigrant. In short, the new Latino can be described as American-born, driven and ambicultural, embracing both the Latino and American sides of their identity. With $1.2 trillion in purchasing power at stake, and over 50 million strong in the U.S., marketers can no longer rely on just traditional media to reach Hispanics.  According to AHAA: The Voice of Hispanic Marketing, 65% of Hispanics in the U.S. are millennials, who by 2017 will have more spending power than any other age group (AHAA, 2013).

Hispanics in the U.S. have evolved into a very diverse and unique community, one that many marketers have yet to understand. Before, Hispanics were considered to be uneducated and mainly part of the lower class, but now, the children and grandchildren of these immigrants are becoming the “new Latino” in the United States.

 While they may still embrace parts of their culture-especially family, music and food-they have incorporated American open-mindedness, especially in their relationships. Moreover, They are abandoning class hierarchies and celebrating working class virtues. This group wants to become heroes, healers, rescuers as well as small business owners (Fiel, 2012).
As Hispanic millennials become more integrated into the American way of life, they have made technology a big part of their lifestyle. Millennials in general are known to be heavy users of technology, but even then, Hispanics are more likely to over-index in email, web browsing, games, video recording and app downloads (eMarketer, 2012).

According to the Nielsen Mobile Hispanic Insights, Hispanics are 28% more likely to own a smartphone than non-Hispanics. A recent study that reviewed 1,311 of ClickZ's top brands' mobile apps found that only 369 of those were translated into Spanish (Farrell, 2013). Though most Hispanic millennials are bilingual, 23% of them are Spanish-dominant (Turegano, 2012).

To some marketers, it might seem pointless to translate an app into Spanish when their target market does speak English, but they are not looking at the big picture. Hispanic families have been known to live in multi-generational households where older family members mainly speak Spanish.  When a young Hispanics realizes their phone apps are available in Spanish, there is a possibility they may go home and share the app with their family.  By having a Spanish translation of apps you are giving Hispanic millennials a chance to share an experience with the rest of their family, and at the same time showing them your company cares about their background and culture.

The Hispanic consumer doesn't want to buy from a company whose only goal is to sell a product, but wants a product that will enhance or add to their cultural identity. What sets the Hispanic market apart from non-Hispanics is that once companies prove themselves to their Latino consumer, they will get not only a happy customer, but a loyal one who is willing to tell others about a product.

Whether it be through social media, texting or face-to-face conversations, Hispanics are more likely to tell others to buy, or at least try a product. A study commissioned by ESPN Deportes found that Hispanics engage in word-of-mouth 53% more than the total public and advertising is referenced in 40% of brand conversation among Spanish-speaking Hispanics (Keller, 2013). Even if a company's plan is to target more than just the Hispanic market, it would be smart to try to grab Hispanic's attention since they can probably help you with spreading the word.

It is no longer just an option for companies to target the Latino consumer. If companies want to survive well into the future, then they need to become familiar with the Hispanic market, specifically Hispanic millennials.  As they continue to build their lives by getting better jobs and starting families, their purchasing power and necessities will also expand. The new, young and connected Latino is here to stay and have an impact for years to come.

Karen Garza
Student at Florida State University



Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies (2013 July) Hispanic Fast Facts. 

Fiel, S. (2012, March 11). The best of both worlds: Hispanic millennials embrace their bicultural birthright. Adweek.

Turegano, E. (2012). The hispanic millennial. The Agency Post.

Farrell, J. (2013). Why aren't brands making more apps for the hispanic market?. AdAge,

Keller, E. (2013, Feb 6). Word-of-mouth goes mainstream, is now measurable. Ad Age.


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