Targeting the Emerging Hispanic Market

More and more U.S. companies are adding Spanish to their Web sites, advertising in pop-culture magazines in Spanish and stacking store shelves with ethnic foods and merchandise. Even online Latino dating services are thriving.

The total U.S. population will reach 309 million by 2010, with Hispanics representing a staggering 50% of the growth. There are currently 47,057,323 Latinos in the United States. By the year 2030, Hispanics are projected to account for 20% of the total U.S. population. Current aggregate Latino household expenditures are an estimated $550 billion annually, and anticipated to reach an estimated $691 billion in 2010.

Recognizing the importance of multicultural marketing, many companies have dedicated business units to focus on research, site planning and merchandise distribution directed at the Hispanic community. Hispanics tend to gravitate toward products they recognize. If popular trademarks sold well in their countries of origin, typically these goods continue to be purchased by them in the United States.

Hispanics can be found across America. For example, in Indianapolis, there are close to 40,000 Hispanics living within a two-mile radius of one of the 20 Kroger supermarkets in the market. Within that same radius, 7,500 Hispanic households are entirely dependent on Spanish. Hispanic buying power can be seen in sales of beef and pork. They spend almost $10 million annually on beef and pork inside Kroger’s Indianapolis units, accounting for double-digit market shares in five of the stores.

This information raises questions such as, “How does this affect specialty foods within those stores?” “Which stores have the highest mix of merchandise appeal for that consumer?” “Are there bi-lingual employees available to answer questions and to help make their shopping experience more pleasurable?” “Is there Spanish-language signage directing these consumers to various products and services?”

Retailers can make effective media-buying decisions once armed with the knowledge of distinctive consumer segments within a trade area, such as the number of Spanish dependent households receiving coupon offers in a Spanish-language newspaper. If relevant promotions accurately reach the appropriate market, investment dollars will result in higher ROIs.

Now, more than ever, it is essential for retailers to readily communicate with emerging demographic and underserved markets, but they need to have a clear understanding of their target audience.