Nielsen: Hispanic market diversity impacts consumer behaviour
Michelle Clancy
| 28 September 2014
While marketers tend to see Hispanic TV viewers as a block, brands would be better served by going back to the basics and learning about the distinctions and nuances between each sub-segment of the Latin consumer market.

That’s the word from Nielsen, which noted that while Hispanics en masse have a current spending power of about $1.4 trillion, the population comprises several sub-groups, and the various characteristics of these sub-groups are affecting consumer behaviour and engagement opportunities.

For instance, US-born Hispanics represent 64% of total Hispanics. In addition to this group’s size, its members are rapidly accelerating into adulthood. Annually, about 800,000 US-born Hispanics turn 18 years old.

The characteristics of this group (age, household size and income) differ significantly from foreign-born Hispanics — a finding that should seem obvious but is all too often overlooked by advertisers, Nielsen noted in the report.

US-born Hispanics are younger overall. Their median age is 18, while the median age of foreign-born Hispanics is closer to that of non-Hispanics: 40 and 42, respectively. When considering household size, larger households are more often led by foreign-born Hispanics, while smaller households are often led by a US-born Hispanics. Households led by US-born Hispanics also tend to earn more. Across households, 52% of US-born homes earn at least $50,000 each year, compared with 33% of homes led by foreign-born Hispanics.

“The differences in demographics are reflected across purchasing behaviour,” Nielsen said in its report. “Overall, Hispanic consumers spend more on total basket than non-Hispanics, reaffirming the growth opportunity this group represents for consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers and retailers. US-born Hispanic homes lead this spending, as they shop more frequently than their foreign-born and non-Hispanic counterparts.”

This greater shopping frequency is probably because US-born homes have higher incomes than the Hispanic-born homes. And, interestingly, though foreign-born households are spending less annually and making fewer trips to brick-and-mortar outlets, they’re spending more per trip than their US-born counterparts – highlighting their remarkable value. While this insight highlights that larger families will therefore purchase larger baskets, marketers will also need to better understand these families because retailers are seeing them less often.