Spanish-Language Selling Points: Data Proves The Undeniable Purchasing Power of U.S. Hispanics

By Carrie Stimmel – EVP, Lifestyle & Hispanic Advertising Sales, NBCUniversal

Hispanics are currently the fastest-growing demographic in the nation, and already make up 18 percent of the total U.S. population. And yet, despite these numbers, marketers have been slow to connect with U.S Hispanics as consumers. For a long time, advertisers lacked definitive data that could justify investment in reaching Hispanic consumers, particularly through Spanish-language TV. Until now.

NBCUniversal recently combined Comcast viewership data with one of the world’s largest consumer transaction datasets to conduct a comprehensive study of U.S. Hispanic consumers, their spending, and their economic potential. The results confirm what we’ve known for years: in every category, marketing to U.S. Hispanics isn’t just an opportunity, it’s a business imperative.

Here are three things that all marketers should keep in mind if they want to make the most out of their investment in reaching Hispanic consumers.

1. Hispanic TV Viewers Spend More Than Other Consumers in Key Categories

After looking at data for 4.4 million households, we found that Hispanic households are outspending the average U.S. household in key categories like home improvement, tech, wireless services, lease-to-own vehicles, and tax tools. While this finding represents a significant opportunity for marketers, there is another important data point to consider: among all of the Hispanic households in our study, the ones that watched Spanish-language TV spent even more.

For instance, in the home improvement category, the average Comcast household spent $1,948, compared to Hispanic households that spent $1,977, and Spanish language viewers who spent $2,059 over the course of 9 months. In the tech category, the average household in our study spent $983 dollars, but the average Hispanic household spent $1,033. Meanwhile, Spanish-language TV viewers led the group, spending $1,065 in the same period.

For brands, these results speak volumes: follow the money. Marketers who add Spanish-language TV to their media mix are best positioned to reach this critical demographic, and turn those spending figures into sales.

2. Spanish-Language TV Viewers Remain an Untapped Audience Segment

With purchasing power among Hispanics expected to increase to $1.7 trillion by 2020 (that’s more than Millennials), the U.S. Hispanic community is a consumer spending juggernaut. Too many marketers still believe it’s possible to tap into this enormous purchasing power through English-language TV alone. This is a common misconception, and a costly one.

In reality, marketers who try to reach the entire Hispanic marketplace in English are leaving money on the table. Four out of 10 Hispanic consumers watch Spanish-language exclusively television and, as our study found, this is a uniquely powerful segment of the U.S. Hispanic community. Even in several categories where Hispanic households were outspent by the average U.S. household, Spanish-language TV viewers outspent both groups. In fact, across 39 of the 60 product categories we studied, Spanish-Language TV viewers spent more than, or on par with, U.S. households overall.

Marketers shouldn’t expect these consumers to become viewers of English-language TV any time soon. Even as more and more Spanish speakers are learning English, they aren’t leaving Spanish-language programming behind. As a report by Horowitz Research found, Spanish-language viewing among Hispanics has remained steady over the last five years.[i] These reliable viewers are consistently spending more money on products they love.

3. Reach, Resonate, and Realize the Benefits

NBCUniversal’s expansive collection of digital and online properties, including Telemundo, reaches 99% of the Hispanic population in the U.S. Scale without substance won’t make an impact, however. It’s the reason we’re not only investing in the platforms that reach Hispanic audiences, but also in content that resonates with them. As every marketer can attest to, it’s the quality of storytelling that forges real connections with audiences: It’s the shootout in the final game of the World Cup. It’s the emotional suspense of hit dramas like La Reina del Sur, and it’s the pure fun and fandom of award shows like the Latin Billboards. At the end of the day, viewers pay attention to the content that brings them together and keeps them hanging on every word—especially when it’s in their chosen language.

As the data shows, the value of the Hispanic market, and specifically that of Spanish-language viewers, is undeniable and growing. The audience is there, now it’s time for marketers to take action—or, more appropriately, acción.

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