Upscale Hispanics Increase Size, Spending Power

The “upscale” portion of the U.S. Hispanic consumer segment is growing at a much faster clip than many marketers previously believed. The upscale segment was defined as Hispanics residing in households with annual incomes of between $50,000 and $100,000.

The study, conducted by Nielsen and released by The Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies, revealed that upscale Hispanics now total 15 million, accounting for three out of every 10 Hispanic homes and about 12% of all U.S. households. They represent about $500 billion of the total $1.3 trillion in current Hispanic consumer spending power. The upscale segment is expected to grow to 18 million by 2015 and to 35 million by 2050.

That’s more than half of the total current U.S. Hispanic population, noted Hispanic brand and marketing specialist Carlos Santiago. “This is the new [baby] boom,” said Santiago, speaking on a panel put together by AHAA to present study results.

The study, said Santiago, belies the conventional notion that upscale Hispanics constitute a “sliver of a niche segment not broad enough for mass upscale national [marketing] programs.” Hispanic consumers are and will continue to play a “substantial” role in shaping U.S. societal trends and consumer behavior, he said.

Upscale Hispanics are predominately bilingual, with more than half speaking mostly or all English, while 75% also speak some Spanish. That translates to a lot of choice when it comes to TV viewing. According to the study, upscale Hispanics spend about 52% of their broadcast TV watching tuned to Spanish-language networks and 48% to English-language networks.

According to Reny Diaz, director of client engagement, Nielsen, upscale Hispanics are bilingual, bicultural, tech-savvy trendsetters. “They’re at the formative stage of finding their consumer identity,” he said. But their growing influence on U.S. cultural and consumer trends will be felt “for years to come.”

AHAA hopes the study will persuade marketers to “segment properly for higher ROI and not treat the vast Hispanic market as one size fits all.”

"Woman in front of house" photo from Shutterstock.

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