Report Underscores Latinas' Consumer Power

Female Hispanics, or Latinas, are an increasingly powerful force in driving the economy as a whole, including being the primary or joint decision-makers in household purchases in food, beverages and all other key categories, according to a new report from Nielsen.

The "Latina Power Shift" report  highlights the role of Hispanic women, their growing numbers, economic condition, purchasing behavior and consumption.

In a recent Nielsen study in the U.S., 86% of Latinas reported that they are the primary shoppers in their households -- meaning that they control the majority of the current $1.2 trillion in Hispanic buying power (estimated to rise to $1.5 trillion by 2015), according to the report.

The percentages of Latinas who say that they're the primary decision-maker in specific categories include 67% in food;  66% in clothes; 59% in pharmaceuticals; 55% in beverages; 45% in social activities; 41% in family finances; 38% in insurance; 38% in personal electronics; 33% in home electronics; and 30% in auto/transportation. 



The percentages reporting that purchasing decisions are jointly made with the males in their households: 33% in food; 34% in clothes; 38% in pharmaceuticals; 41% in beverages; 52% in social activities; 50% in family finances; 50% in insurance; 50% in personal electronics; 50% in home electronics; 48% in auto/transportation. 

The report lists more than 50 specific product categories within perishable and non-perishable foods, beverages, household products and personal care/beauty in which Latinas over-index in market-share dollars, compared to non-Hispanic white females. 

According to Nielsen, Latinas are expected to comprise 30% of the total female population by 2060. Further, demographic patterns make it clear that Latinas' influence on consumption patterns in the U.S. will continue to grow: 23% of all U.S. births in 2011 were to a Latina mom, with 63% of Hispanic families having children under the age of 18, compared to 40% for non-Hispanic White females.

Latinas's influence in household purchasing decisions reflects that they are increasingly becoming the primary income earners, creating a shift away from traditional male-dominated family units, reports Nielsen. 

The percentage of households with Latinas 18+ with an annual income of $75,000 or more increased five points over the past 10 years (from 16% to 21%), and those households with an income of $25,000 or more declined six points (from 33%  to 27%).

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of Hispanic high school female graduates are enrolling in college -- more than Hispanic males (61%) and slightly more than non-Hispanic females (72%).

Other findings from the report include:

* Latinas are embracing entrepreneurship. The number of Latina-owned firms rose 46% between 2002 and 2007 -- faster than Latino-owned firms (+33%) and faster than total female-owned businesses (+20%).

* Whether they view themselves as culturally "more American," 'more Latino" or equally Latino and American, majorities of Latinas embrace their duality and want to shift to being "ambicultural" (functioning competently in both cultures, including the ability to pivot between English and Spanish).

* Online Latinas (77%) are more likely than their non-Hispanic White counterparts (55%) to own smartphones.

* 15% percent of Latinas mostly use Spanish to surf the web and 31% use both Spanish and English equally.

* When Latinas search for Latino subject matters online, recipes top the list, followed by news, music, family health, beauty and celebrations.

The full report is available for download at

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