While marketers and advertisers have long paid attention to the growing market of American Hispanics in general, only recently has there been widespread interest in Hispanic Affluents. In fact, just last month we were invited to speak at a symposium on affluence and luxury, the theme of which was “Hispanic Affluents as an obvious but too-often-overlooked” market segment.
Certainly the numbers are there to justify serious interest. Census data reveal that there are roughly 58.5 million “affluent” adults in America, who we’ll define for the purposes of this article as adults (18+) living in households with $100,000 or more in annual household income. Of these Affluents, 9% describe themselves as Hispanic or Latino — a market of roughly 5 million people.
We’ll explore a profile of Hispanic Affluents in this article, but we should first point out that profiles of any segment, by necessity, gloss over some of the diversity within that segment. For example, Hispanic Affluents are diverse in terms of their country of origin, their preference for speaking English or Spanish, and so on. Moreover, we should highlight that any segment profile is, by definition, a collection of generalizations and tendencies that obviously do not apply to every member of that segment.
The profile of affluent Hispanics highlighted in this article is derived from the “2011 Ipsos Mendelsohn Affluent Survey,” a 35-year tracking study of the lives, lifestyles, media habits, and spending patterns of affluent Americans. Our survey uses a mail methodology and yields nationally representative and fully projectable results, but we should point out that the survey is conducted only in English. Although it seems reasonable to assume that most Hispanics in the United States with $100,000 or more in household income are reasonably fluent in the English language, this is admittedly a hypothesis not directly tested by our survey; it is, however, demonstrated by a review of U.S. government surveys that indicate that only 1% of Hispanic Affluents cannot be interviewed in English.
The results make clear that Spanish language and culture play crucial roles in the lives of affluent Hispanics. In fact, 46% of affluent Hispanics speak Spanish at home; of those, 57% (or 26% of all Hispanics) tell us they speak Spanish at home “always” or “frequently.” More than one in five (22%) reported watching the Spanish-language network Univision in the past seven days; nearly as many (19%) reported watching Telemundo over that same time period. Moreover, 60% agree “My cultural or ethnic heritage is a very important part of my life.”
Live in West
I am an optimistic person
I like to exercise
My cultural or ethnic heritage is a very important part of my life
My fashion represents who I am as a person
Keeping young looking is important to me
I have an excellent sense of style
Attended movie in a theater in the past year
Done the past year: dancing
RETAIL & BRANDS
Shopped Costco in past year
Shopped Calvin Klein in past year/own Calvin Klein products
Own a smartphone
Own a Blu-ray player
As seen above, Hispanic Affluents also show strong regional and political skews, with 45% living in the West (compared with just 24% of non-Hispanic Affluents), and 41% reporting they are Democrats (versus 29% of non-Hispanic Affluents). On average, Hispanic Affluents exhibit a strong sense of optimism and self-reliance — in a sense, a belief in rugged individualism in the pursuit of the American dream. In some ways, relative to non-Hispanic Affluents, they are more likely to live vibrant and active lifestyles, and are significantly more likely to attend the movies, exercise, and go dancing. Hispanic Affluents exhibit a strong interest in fashion, style and trends — an interest further reflected in their higher-than-average ownership of more than 20 of the fashion brands we measure. Hispanic Affluents also display a heavy ownership of certain technological devices, and skew higher in spending across a variety of categories, including women’s apparel, handbags, watches, weddings, china, crystal, and sterling silver flatware.
Throughout much of this article, we have focused on how Hispanic Affluents differ from their non-Hispanic affluent counterparts. But we end it by noting their tremendous similarities as well. Three-fourths of both groups are married. Roughly 85% of both groups agree that “my family is my top priority in life.” Both have seen their attitudes and shopping patterns shaped by the recession, and among both groups 7 in 10 agree that “good value for the money is more important than price.” Although Hispanic Affluents, as we have seen, are more likely to own devices such as smartphones and Blu-ray players, both groups have nearly universal Internet penetration, search engine usage, and a general enthusiasm for technology. Clearly there are many similarities and many differences — advertisers and marketers would be well served to build their understanding of both based on real data (government and survey-based), rather than on stereotypes and preconceptions.