Women are driving changes among Latino customers, according to a new Nielsen study—and as a result, many of those shifts may actually simplify things for retailers.
Nielsen's "Latina Power Shift" report found that Latinas are increasingly "ambicultural," able to "seamlessly transcend between English and Spanish-language—two cultures—giving her a unique position in our consumer landscape," according to Nielsen SVP Monica Gil. The study says 71 percent of Latinas culturally feel more American, and most are comfortable using English to surf the Internet. Only 15 percent prefer surfing in Spanish.
Latinas are also slightly more likely to go to college (73 percent) than non-Hispanic women (72 percent), and far more likely to own smartphones (77 percent) than non-Hispanics (55 percent). In short, Latinas are rapidly eliminating retailer concerns that an increasing Hispanic population in the U.S. (potentially 30 percent of the U.S. population by 2060) will require a dramatic change in how to present merchandise. Instead, Latinas are comfortable with English and moving forward into mobile and e-commerce even faster than non-Hispanics.
What that shift doesn't mean is classic 20th-century-style assimilation, marked by a rapid abandonment of traditional ethnic culture. Instead, the report says, Latinas are embracing a dual-culture model. That makes it more likely that the hallmarks of Latino culture, including stronger family models, will coexist with conventional consumer behavior.
That represents both a respite and an opportunity for retailers. It won't be necessary to create a separate Latino omnichannel marketing structure. But it may be profitable to find ways of marketing to Latinos (and especially Latinos, who make primary shopping decisions in 86 percent of Hispanic households) as a niche similar to athletes, gadget-lovers and other specialty categories.
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