English-dominant Latino Millennials Find Cultural Connection At Hispanic Groceries

According to a recent Nielsen multicultural Hispanic analysis, in the U.S. approximately 40% of the generation identify as Hispanic, African-American or Asian American. And over a quarter of all U.S. Millennials are first or second-generation immigrants, many of whom have strong ties to their global origins.

This group makes up more than half multicultural Millennials (21% of the generation’s total U.S. population). And some markets have an even higher concentration of young Hispanic consumers. For example, one quarter of Los Angeles’ population is Millennial, and half these young consumers are Latino.

Noting that Millennials are more “multicultural” than any previous generation, the study finds that this diversity is shifting their attitudes : 71% of all Millennials say they appreciate the influence of other cultures on American way of life. It’s also shaping their consumer habits, from brand loyalty and product purchasing to language and media usage.

When it comes to grocery, says the report, Latino Millennials are true to their heritage, attracted by cultural touch stones of smell, taste and familiarity. At the national level, 61% of Hispanic Millennials say they’ve shopped at Hispanic supermarkets at least once over the past year. But while these young Latinos value their roots, they’re also open to other cultures; 22% have shopped at an Asian supermarket.

Language plays a big role in whether these young Latinos shop culturally specific stores, finds the study. The majority of Spanish-dominant and bilingual Hispanic Millennials across the U.S. have shopped at Hispanic groceries. But almost half of English-dominant Hispanic Millennials have also visited these stores. Hispanic Millennials’ desire to shop at Hispanic groceries stores, despite language barriers, also reflects this generation’s openness to different cultures.

Hispanic Supermarket Shoppers

Ever shopped at Hispanic supermarket?          61% YES      39% NO

% of YES respondents:
   Spanish dominant (98%)
   Bilingual (83%)
   English dominant (45%)

Source Nielsen, July 2015/May 2016

The Los Angeles market, in particular, illustrates the opportunity these attitudes present, says the report. In the city, the percentage of Latino Millennials shopping at Hispanic grocery chains jumps to 74%. And, more importantly, while 46% of LA Latino Millennials are English-dominant, almost 60% shop at Hispanic food stores, a testament to the draw and appeal of these stores.

At the national level, the No. 1 reason all Hispanics and the Millennial sub-segment give for not shopping at Hispanic grocers is the lack of nearby stores. Meanwhile, in LA, 36% of Hispanic Millennials say their main reason for not shopping at Hispanic grocers is because they can find their ethnic products in mainstream retailers. 

Proximity To Hispanic Stores Less Concern In LA

Why NOT shop at Hispanic Grocery

Total US Hispanics

Total Hispanic Millennials

Los Angeles Millennials

No Hispanic grocery store nearby




All groceries & ethnic products in mainstream realtors




Lack of English speaking employees




Not a wide selection of grocery products




Source Nielsen, July 2015/May 2016

In LA, mainstream retailers are responding with options that appeal to these young shoppers. Across the country, food stores overall, not just Hispanic grocers concludes the report, have the same opportunity to attract shoppers in high density Latino neighborhoods by gearing their store’s product offerings to satisfy these desires.

For additional information from Nielsen, and the origin of the initial Hispanic Grocery Survey, please visit here.



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