'Ambicultural' Hispanics Shaping More Than Elections

While what Hispanics will or won’t do in voting booths this November may be dominating campaign headlines, Nielsen’s latest report shows big demographic shifts that offer seismic changes for marketers, too.

The new report, “From the ballot box to the grocery store,” delves deeply into how Latinos are changing the way they interact with marketers. As the group, now 57 million strong, continues to become younger, better educated, and more affluent, they are wielding their buying power, valued at $1.3 trillion in 2015, differently than in the past.

Nielsen reports that Hispanic people are expected to account for 24% of the population by 2040, and 29% by 2060. They’re gaining in affluence, with 48% of U.S. born Hispanic households now earning more than $50,000. And among those born outside the U.S., 38% now earn more than $50,000, up from 26% in 2000.

To a degree, the shifts can be measured by language preference, with older people still much more likely to be Spanish-language dominant: Some 35% of those 55 and older prefer to speak and be spoken to in Spanish. Only 14% of those in the 18-to-34 range fit that categorization, and just 4% of those under the age of 18.



And while 58% of those 34 and under are bilingual, making a case for ads that use both languages, the key insight is that among these younger consumers, there is a true ambiculturalism, which the market research company describes as “at once entirely American and entirely of one’s culture of origin. Savvy marketers are taking notice and crafting dual-language communications that speak to both the American spirit and the Latino soul,” the report says.

Target, for example, has named the Hispanic youth market as a key priority for its growth initiatives, last year launching the #SinTraduccion" campaign, which focuses not so much on language (it means "without translation") as addressing cultural concepts that are uniquely Latino. And this year, it’s run purely Spanish-language style ads, featuring actress Rita Moreno, among others, in English-only programming as well as Spanish TV. 

The Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies says Procter & Gamble spends the most on Hispanic advertising, with a budget of $439 million in 2015, followed by L'Oréal, MARS, Wal-Mart, Anheuser-Busch and SABMiller.

Political candidates better be taking notes. Nielsen reports that youth will play an especially key role in the election. Of the 27 million Latinos currently eligible to vote, 14% of them are young voters who have come of age since the last presidential throw-down. Overall, 52% of Hispanic voters say they are Democratic, 30% Independent, and 9% Republican.

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