Hispanic Market Research
The Emerging Hispanic Market
It is not surprising that one of the largest emerging markets in the world today belongs to a burgeoning Hispanic population. In recent years, the buying power of this group has grown dramatically and will continue to do so. Increasing wealth and educational opportunity positions the United State’s second-largest ethnic group as one destined to have a powerful and lasting market impact.
Outside the U.S., several Latin American nations are experiencing a significant economic upturn. Improved retail sales and increased production of consumer goods have had a dramatically positive affect on the economic outlook in Hispanic markets.
Historically, business interests have paid significant attention to language itself as a means of penetrating these desirable markets. American Hispanics prefer to watch television where Spanish is predominantly spoken. In addition, most Hispanics prefer to speak Spanish in their own homes.
Unlike English television, which is available on any number of channels, Spanish-speaking TV is concentrated on less outlets and is therefore watched more intensively by Hispanic viewers.
This makes Spanish-speaking media an effective choice for advertisers attempting to communicate with this growing target-market. At the very least, companies will design custom-tailored messages for these Spanish-speaking media outlets in addition to traditional English-speaking advertisements.
Hispanic consumers tend to be more faithful to particular brands in some instances than are their counterparts of other ethnicities. They don’t shop quite as often, but when they do venture out, Hispanics spend more.
They also visit more fast-food restaurants and have children in tow when they do, which ultimately affects parental purchasing choices. Hispanics historically purchase more beverages causing long-term projections for beverage sales in the coming years to tilt higher for the Hispanic market than for Caucasian consumers. Both Qualitative and Quantitative research methods can uncover areas of opportunity to boost your business performance.
Conducting Hispanic Market Research
The U.S. Hispanic population is the largest minority segment and will continue to grow rapidly; the future of the U.S. economy and key industries depends on the Hispanic marketplace.
Additionally, Hispanic people come from a wide variety of countries of origin. Research which targets Hispanic populations needs to take into account their geographic location, cultural demographics, languages, acculturation, economic class, and education levels. These demographics will be different with each population set, depending on a number of factors.
“Acculturation” refers to the process of adopting the cultural traits or social patterns of a certain group. Market researchers must be careful not to assume that all Hispanics in a given geographic area or other demographic are at the same level of acculturation. For example, many U.S. Hispanics are at a lower level of acculturation than those of Latin American countries, and many do not speak Spanish regularly in public, at home, or at all. It is not enough to simply offer a survey translation in Spanish to access Hispanic populations; the research process, which includes survey materials, questionnaires, and personal interviews, must take into account not only the preferred language of the individuals in the target market but also their individual cultural identity.
As Hispanic populations grow, especially in the U.S., it is crucial to the development of key industries and businesses to understand the Hispanic market’s size, variation, uniqueness, and overall value as a thriving consumer base with distinctive buying power. Hispanic populations also have unique technology and media usage patterns, consumption patterns, and buyer psychologies that differ from the mass market. Their future consumption growth is predicted to be significantly greater than that of non-Hispanics, and cultural and economic changes in the U.S. will largely be determined by this growth.
Market Research in Latin America
Each Latin American country has its own distinct attitudes, mores, preferences, peculiarities, and distinguishing characteristics.
To throw a broad blanket of sameness over this area of rich historical and cultural significance would be a mistake. This is where the importance of experienced international marketing research becomes essential, for initial consultations, and for taking advantage of established methodologies which give one the best opportunity to understand these emerging nations and cultures, and to gain from that understanding.
Do’s and Don’ts of Hispanic Market Research
- Know the Hispanic population you are targeting
- Geographic Distribution
- Acculturation levels
- Include acculturated, bi-cultural AND un-acculturated Hispanics
- Use a sample that recognizes these differences during the recruitment stage
- Use question wording that takes economic, educational, and socioeconomic information into account
- Recognize differences in Spanish proficiency even among Hispanic populations
- Having Spanish-speaking respondents does not equal having Hispanic-identified respondents
- Consider that Hispanics are not one large homogenous group
- Hispanics come from many different countries of origin
- Hispanics belong to many different social classes
- Hispanics have varied levels of acculturation
- Prepare for surveys to take longer in Spanish than in English
- Prepare for survey questions to require more nuance and cultural sensitivity
- Have a bilingual surveying instrument that accounts for Spanish and English speakers
- Consider the consumer behavior of specific countries and geographical areas
- Force a “General Market” mindset onto a distinct culture
- Account for survey styles
- Be careful asking “likeability” questions and asking for scale ratings
- Assume that all Hispanic markets are Spanish-speaking and fully acculturated
- Assume all Hispanics live at the same educational or socioeconomic level
- Simply translate English materials into Spanish without accounting for cultural nuances
- Use complicated rating scales regarding likeability or agreeability
Accessing the Hispanic market largely depends on the strategies employed through language, media consumption, and technology. Research studies should be designed with varying levels of technology adaption and media consumption, as well as nuances in language, in mind. Individuals on all socioeconomic levels can be loyal and responsive customers and should be treated as such, with their opinions and individual needs taken into account.