Hispanic Consumers: They’re Buying if You’re Connecting

Go ahead and erase any preconceptions you may have about Hispanic consumers, because it’s a pretty good guess their shopping habits and preferences have changed just as drastically as the overall U.S. demographic landscape during the past several years.  In fact, major market shifts have marketers across the board scrambling to increase their investments in Hispanic ad categories in order to better reach a growing number of consumers.  A recent report from AHAA: The Voice of Hispanic Marketing confirms that by shifting English-language media dollars toward Hispanic media, the Total Market has seen growth in the automotive category, in addition to other categories.

Investing in a Growing Demographic

Marketers don’t like to find themselves behind the curve ball, yet many are playing a game of catch-up, because until now, they haven’t individualized their plans to include the increasingly diverse cultural make-up of the U.S. marketplace.  The need is great when it comes to increased advertising and relationship-building with Hispanic consumers.  It’s easy to find brands that have focused on serving a one-size-fits-all demographic, however, the marketplace demands a more thoughtful analysis and revised marketing approaches, and many brands have already gained ground in this arena.

Visionary brands such as Dish Network (Dish Latino), Budweiser, and Honda have been able to successfully appeal to a wide variety of audiences in the Hispanic marketplace, targeting consumers with on-trend marketing, music, and aspirational messaging that strives for authentic connections with consumers.  With an eye for a mainstream approach that is inclusive across a wide Hispanic market, these brands have figured out the secrets to reaching those with varying cultural and economic differences, while still maintaining their unique brand identities.

As millennials and Gen Z grow into their buying power across all social and cultural demographics, it’s more important than ever to take a closer look at Hispanic consumers.  Growth in this particular market continues to boom, and according to Target Latino, more than 80% of the growth that’s expected in the 18- to 29-year-old range in the next few years will be attributed to Hispanic millennials.  This year, approximately 22.7MM Hispanic Americans fall into the millennial category, a highly desirable target market for forward-thinking companies that are looking to succeed in a diverse marketplace.

For the automotive market, specifically, dealerships have seen staggering increases in new car purchases amongst Hispanic shoppers, and over the next 10 years, it’s expected that Hispanic new sales growth will grow at a rate three times faster than the Total Market.  While these numbers may seem surprising to some, in looking at overall trending Hispanic demographic numbers, it only makes sense that the automotive industry would see an increase in sales that matches the quickly growing populations throughout the country.  Additionally, the lower average age of Hispanic consumers, as well as increasing disposable incomes attribute to a rise in auto sales.

This presents a great opportunity for dealerships that are willing to focus on their marketing to ensure they reach more diverse audiences in authentic and appealing ways.  Consider the following if you’re just getting started with your Hispanic marketing platform—or if you’re revisiting your already-existing approach:

  • Cultural relevancy is key. It’s not always a matter of language, but sometimes it is.  This can be tricky, and that’s why it’s important to know your dealership’s specific audience and then plan your marketing and in-house coverage to reflect the preferences of your customers.  If you cater to a largely Spanish-speaking demographic, it’s smart to ensure you use target-language materials across the board to make shoppers feel welcome and comfortable in your dealership.  Remember that not all of your Hispanic shoppers will want—or prefer—to speak Spanish when doing business, and that’s why it’s important to do your homework before jumping in.
  • Online is important. While much of your focus may be on in-house language capabilities and ensuring you have the pros on-hand to interact in Spanish if necessary, it’s important to note Hispanic consumers are highly active and influential on online social sites.  This means you’ll want to focus on your dealership’s social presence and be sure to share, chat, and interact frequently.  The Lower Funnel Auto tracker found that demand for Spanish-language content from automotive brands has increased 62% over the past year, and for Spanish-language shopping websites, demand has increased by 57%.  These stats are a prime indication that dealerships that position themselves to offer these services will benefit by seeing more traffic and interaction from potential consumers in the Hispanic demographic.
  • Consistency is recognized. While traditionally known for brand loyalty, Hispanic shoppers today are breaking out of molds and forging new consumer paths.  According to Univision, Hispanic shoppers have a lower awareness of vehicle brands overall, leading marketers to believe there’s plenty of room for dealerships to formulate more consistent brand identities that will better resonate with the Hispanic community.  By offering more consistent and relevant brand messaging, businesses can become more recognizable over time to broader consumer groups, in particular Hispanic shoppers who are looking to connect and form relationships with the businesses that earn their money.
  • Mobile matters…a lot. Due to their sheer numbers, Hispanic millennials have a significant impact on the U.S. culture and economy.  And even more impactful is their affinity for technology.  According to Target Latino, Hispanic millennials are almost 66% more likely to connect via mobile than their non-Hispanic white counterparts.  Additionally, 41% of all traffic to auto manufacturer websites by Hispanic shoppers came from mobile, versus only 30% for total U.S. traffic.  This should be an eye-opener for every dealership wanting to reach a broader demographic.  In order to connect, build relationships, and stay relevant, it’s essential to have a solid presence on mobile.
  • Heritage hits home. Even for the youngest shopping generations, maintaining a sense of heritage and fostering their generational origins is very important.  When it comes to self-identification, a full 41% of Hispanic millennials choose to refer to themselves first by the country of origin of their parents.  With over 20 Latin American countries and individuals from all over the world making up the growing consumer base of the U.S., it’s wise for businesses to do as much research as possible regarding their local demographics in order to reach individual shopper groups and build lasting relationships.

Just as every consumer group’s shopping habits and preferences have changed over time, the Hispanic demographic throughout the U.S. continues to grow and change.  In fact, this shopper group is growing so rapidly that dealerships wanting to be recognized by them must work diligently to engage these consumers and lean into their influence in the marketplace.  By focusing on authentic connections, consistent messages, and reaching them where they interact and communicate most, you’ll make headway toward earning the loyalty and trust of your Hispanic shoppers.

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