Retailers: Don't Forget To Pencil In Hispanics For The Back-to-School Shopping Season

U.S. retailers can't afford to ignore multicultural consumers, especially Hispanics. A perfect time to jump-start customer engagement is before the lucrative back-to-school season. It’s the second-largest shopping event in the U.S., surpassed only by the Christmas shopping season.

Research suggests that Hispanics spend 10% more on back-to-school shopping than other groups. A recent survey of Latino families’ shopping habits found that 47% of Hispanics plan to spend more money on back-to-school shopping, compared with 35% of non-Hispanics.

Hispanic Families are Growing, and So Is Their Spending

U.S. Hispanics are a growing and tech-savvy demographic. The Latino population in the United States reached nearly 58 million in 2016, and it has been the principal driver of U.S. demographic growth, accounting for half of national population growth since 2000.



Hispanic families also have more children at home than non-Hispanic families, and with this comes higher back-to-school spending per household — about $368 for each Hispanic home, compared to $330 for non-Hispanic homes. And research shows that those Hispanic families make up to 40% of their purchases online.

The Value of Education

Education is highly valued within Hispanic families. Because of this, high school dropout rates have decreased during the past decade among the demographic, while college enrollment has increased. According to the Pew Research Center:

  • The Hispanic dropout rate was 10% in 2016; just five years earlier, the rate had been 16%.
  • In 2016, 47% of Hispanic high school graduates ages 18 to 24 were enrolled in college, up from 32% in 1999.
  • Between 1999 and 2016, the number of Hispanics enrolled in public and private nursery schools, K-12 schools and colleges increased 80%, from 9.9 million to 17.9 million.

This is great news for young Hispanics. And it’s a powerful opportunity for businesses willing to illustrate they understand these trends, and market to the U.S. Hispanic population online in their preferred language.

Advice for Retailers

To effectively reach this growing demographic, there are three best practices that companies should employ:

Actively Engage Customers: Retailers serving Hispanics with Spanish-language websites should create and actively promote back-to-school themed landing pages for supplies, clothing and electronics. And not only should the site be translated, but also identical (or nearly identical) in scope to their primary-market website.

For instance, don’t offer a Spanish-language microsite. While theoretically easy to manage, these often alienate Spanish-speaking Hispanics. They expect parity — a website as robust in products and features as a company’s primary-market English site.

Create Relevant Content: Companies should offer marketing and promotional messaging for U.S. Hispanics that resonates. For a translated website. This requires crafting localized content that illustrates the company’s understanding of this population’s needs.

For example, research shows that Hispanic moms overwhelmingly shop with friends or family — 72%, compared to just 52% for non-Hispanic moms. It’s important that a company’s localized content reflects and acknowledges these kinds of traditions.

Don’t Neglect Mobile: Hispanics are power users of mobile devices, so companies must ensure that their websites are not only available in this group’s language of choice, but their device of choice as well:

    • 83% of this group use mobile to conduct research while in a store.
    • Mobile coupons and deal apps influence these shoppers more than TV ads, social media or in-store signage.
    • U.S. Hispanics use Whatsapp more than the general market. This is an underutilized channel for brands and an opportunity to create and nurture the Hispanic audience.

Create a Connection with Your U.S. Hispanic Consumers

Companies that engage U.S. Hispanics during back-to-school season not only create a connection with this key audience, but also improve the segmentation for their marketing messages.

By paying attention to the shopping habits of Hispanic families and communicating with them in their preferred language — and especially on mobile devices — companies can grow their customer base, their brand loyalty, and their bottom lines.

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