This year, Amazon quietly rolled out a Spanish-language version of Amazon.com and in turn, helped dispel the myth that because Hispanics are young and the majority are U.S. born, there is no reason to communicate with them in Spanish.
Amazon’s statement is clear: Marketing to Spanish-preferring online Hispanics makes good business sense.
As a data-driven, consumer-first company, Amazon undoubtedly assessed the Spanish-language e-commerce opportunity rigorously and likely found that there is a critical mass of highly engaged online shoppers who prefer Spanish.
According to CNET, there are “more than 40 million native Spanish speakers and over 10 million bilingual Hispanics in the U.S.,” making the U.S. the “second-largest Spanish-speaking country in the world, after Mexico.”
Not only is there a critical mass of Spanish-speaking consumers online in the U.S., they are more likely to shop online when compared to the general market. An IRI study found that “Hispanics tend to shop online more than non-Hispanics in several critical categories, including cosmetics, fragrances and beauty, and general household products.”
Amazon’s move to proactively market to Spanish-preferring Hispanics will trigger an e-commerce renaissance in the Hispanic market. E-commerce players large and small will rush to develop and execute Spanish strategies to reach Spanish-preferring Hispanics and manufacturers will move to market and merchandise their products to this segment via the digital shelf.
As with any renaissance, there will be winners and losers when it comes to Spanish-language e-commerce. The winners will be those that take a strategic, measured, long-term approach to this opportunity and invest in it appropriately. Winners will deeply understand the consumer and develop plans for providing them with value across the path-to-purchase. It will be tempting for many to just translate into Spanish and hope they will come, but this approach is likely to be short-lived.
Smart marketers will take note of Amazon’s firm stake in the ground and get serious about reaching U.S. Hispanics in Spanish long term. We’ll leave you with this stat from the Pew Hispanic Center: 82% of Latino adults in the U.S. speak Spanish, and 95% believe it’s important for future generations to continue to do so. Will your digital marketing efforts reflect the cultural insight Amazon exposed?
Editor's note: This article originally appeared on April 13, 2017, in Engage:Hispanics.