What Nonprofits Must Know About Hispanics: Insights from Nielsen

What have you heard about the Hispanic market?

Odds are you’ve heard something. After all, a lot of ideas and impressions about U.S. Hispanics and their buying patterns have been floating around. Some marketers are skittish. In 2017, some articles correlated shrinking retail sales with decreased Hispanic shopping. The working theory at the time was that the political landscape was making Hispanics nervous and keeping them away from stores. If this caught your ear at some point, you may have wondered whether Hispanics would ever be relevant to your nonprofit.

Check the numbers

As 2019 gets rolling, what’s the best way to measure the validity of these concerns? Were they ever true? And is the Hispanic market a segment worth reaching? Fortunately, Nielsen published a report last year that breaks down the intricacies of U.S. Hispanics and their spending patterns. The in-depth research sheds light on whether your nonprofit should spend time and energy connecting with Hispanics. The short answer? You’d be foolish not to.

Too scared to spend?

“Hispanics are spending and outperforming non-Hispanic whites and driving the growth.”

The report answered the first big question: are Hispanics spending less? By Hispanics’ own account, 70 percent of those Nielsen talked to said that the political landscape had either not affected their spending or caused them to spend more! But what about for other reasons? To get a bigger picture, Nielsen examined Hispanic and non-Hispanic sales of consumer packaged goods (CPGs). In 2017, Hispanic CPG sales increased. Though slight (at one percent), it was a greater increase than non-Hispanics sales (a paltry .3 percent). More importantly, this growth was nationwide; in three quarters of major U.S. markets, Hispanic growth was equal to or greater than non-Hispanic. So for the most part, the answer is no – Hispanics are not spending less.

Too complicated to engage?

But even if you know that fact, the things you’ve heard about Hispanic buying patterns might still make you hesitant. So let’s break those down. Have the primary buyers in Hispanic households changed? (After all, the average Hispanic in the U.S. is younger than the average non-Hispanic.) And are the people making buying decisions suddenly coming from a new generation?

Nielsen asked Hispanics, and they responded: The primary shoppers in Hispanic households are mostly females age 35 to 54. And had that role changed in the last year? 90 percent said “no” – both in total and across language preference. But if that’s the case, then what about that sudden change in financial decision-making? Pure fiction.

Along the same lines, some are concerned that Hispanics are changing where they shop. But Nielsen found that the segment’s biggest channel change between 2017 and 2018 was less than 1 percent. So while Hispanics do over-index on social media and new technologies, their buying patterns are holding steady.

Bottom line: Marketing to this group is less complicated than you may have thought.

Apply the data

“Hispanic should be part of the overall strategy.”

Now that Nielsen has run the numbers, we can see Hispanics’ sustained market growth and steady financial habits. What are the next steps? Vanessa Strain from Nielsen has two key pieces of advice.

First, don’t homogenize Hispanics. Marketers need to understand the diversity of language preference, level of acculturation, country of origin, and specific cultural nuances.

Second, she warns against putting this priority off to another time. The nation’s Hispanic population is projected to double by 2050. Vanessa says nonprofits should invest now while there is time to plan. Your organization is surrounded by an expanding population who already values social and community causes. Don’t miss the massive opportunity to get ahead of the curve.

Marketers around the country encounter plenty of misconceptions about Hispanics, but the data makes one thing clear: Hispanic spending is stable and growing. Getting accurate information is the first step toward engaging a multicultural audience. Market researchers like Nielsen and agencies like Kerux can help you understand and embrace Hispanic marketing.

As we all know, misinformation is everywhere. Make sure you learn what you need in order to reach this incredibly important market.




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