Hispanic women are a force to be reckoned with. This isn’t news, exactly, but rather a statement of the growing power, both culturally and economically, that they wield. As Latinas continue to advance in their careers and increase their buying power, that influence is sure to grow.
So what are the characteristics of this group? What do they look for in a brand? How do they shop? What are their values — and what issues are near and dear to their hearts? Knowing the answers to these questions will allow brands to better meet the needs of the Hispanic and Latina community.
A report by Nielsen singles out Latinas as “prominent contributors to the educational, economic, and cultural well-being of not only their own ethnicity, but of American society and the consumer marketplace.” A bold claim, but not unfounded: by 2060, Hispanic women are expected to make up 30% of the U.S. female population, compared to 43% for non-Hispanic white females. This means that no one ethnicity will dominate American culture; instead, Latinas and other minority groups will play a significant role in dictating consumer preferences.
In addition to making up a significant portion of the U.S. population, Latinas also play an important role within their own households. 86% of Latinas say they are the primary decision makers and are in charge of household spending, which means that they are the ones that brands need to be reaching out to. In other words, Latinas are in a position to dictate their relationships to brands, instead of the other way round.
Boden Agency defines the “new Latina” as someone who “trusts the media, bloggers, social influencers and organizations that are reflecting her power, identity and influence.” In other words, they respond best to people and organizations who understand their values, culture, or identity in some way. For example, even though Latinas are generally very price conscious, they are more likely to purchase a product from a company they trust, even if it’s more expensive than the same product made by a competitor. Finding something they like can sometimes trump economic concerns; as one Hispanic woman put it, “I don’t care if it’s from Walmart or Lord & Taylor, if I like it, I’ll buy it.”
Latinas are generally a fashionable group, spending more money on certain products (such as clothing, beauty, and sporting goods) than non-Hispanic white women. They spend an estimated $30 billion per year on clothing and accessories, with a significant number (42%) saying that they like to keep up with the latest fashion trends. Latinas also take more time when shopping in stores, which (again) reinforces the importance of creating experiences that cater to the Latina audience.
For retailers, this means tailoring products specifically to meet the needs of Hispanic consumers, whether it’s coming up with a makeup line with products that work with all Latina skin tones, or understanding that older Latinas like to keep up with fashion trends. Beyond that, brands could also enlist high-profile Hispanic celebrities to appear in ad campaigns or launch their own line of products, thus increasing their visibility amongst the Hispanic community.
Finally, the most important thing to note about Latinas — indeed, U.S. Hispanics as a whole — is that they are increasingly ambicultural; that is, able to navigate easily between their “root” culture and that of mainstream America. Nielsen describes this emerging Latina identity as “multidimensional and dynamic, reflecting a merging and meshing of cultural traditions and modern trends,” best exemplified by the ease with which many U.S. Hispanics navigate between English and Spanish.
Hispanic women have taken their futures into their own hands, and are making great strides. They are, beyond a doubt, ones to watch — and I can’t wait to see what innovative campaigns brands will come up with to serve this crucial part of the population.