The Truth About Marketing To Spanish Speakers

  • by , Columnist, January 24, 2018

Yes, the Pew Research Center recently reported that share of Latinos who speak Spanish has declined in major U.S. metro markets. But did you read past the attention-grabbing headlines?

Digging into the Pew data shows pretty conclusively that Latinos in the United States are not only using Spanish in large numbers, but they consider the language a vital part of their lives and their identities — including their lives as consumers. Take a look at these three key takeaways from the Pew study, as you plan your marketing efforts for 2018.

1. Speaking Spanish is Important Hoy y Mañana

The vast majority agree: It’s important for Hispanics to speak Spanish. In fact, 92% of Latinos consider it important for future generations to do so, even though many don’t see the ability to speak Spanish as a hard-and-fast requirement for identifying as Latino.



The emphasis on communication in Spanish applies to the online world. In fact, the Facebook IQ study conducted by the Latinum Network reveals that Latino customers don’t want English-to-Spanish translations online. They want native Spanish messages that reflect their culture, and they want them delivered by native Spanish speakers.

2. Different Markets Use Spanish Differently

As the recent Pew study points out, the Spanish-speaking market varies drastically on a city-by-city basis. In the Miami and McAllen, Texas, areas, for example, fully 90% of Latinos speak Spanish at home.

Other major markets with extremely large Spanish-speaking populations include El Paso, Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Dallas, and Orlando, all of which boast Spanish-speaking rates of 79% or above.

Any company marketing products and services in those markets would do itself a disservice to ignore numbers like that.

3. The Number of Latinos Speaking Spanish Is Actually Growing

That eye-catching headline was actually a bit misleading. Yes, the share of Latinos who speak Spanish has declined slightly. But the actual number of Latinos who speak Spanish is increasing, because the U.S. Latino population is growing.

Of the 57 million Latinos in the United States, more than 80% use Spanish online, and 82% of bilingual Latinos think brands should use both English and Spanish when they reach out to potential customers.

What does this mean for brands marketing to U.S. Hispanics? It means the Spanish language in the U.S. is alive and well — and savvy marketers will use the language to connect with the nations largest minority.

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