Which Factors Determine Latinas’ Expenditures and Shopping Behaviors?
What: Women are the earners and decision-makers within a great number of Hispanic households, and many factors influence what, how and when they decide to buy.
Why it matters: Brands should take a step back and look at the needs of Latino women in order to understand more effective ways to talk to them and thus build a valuable relationship with the Hispanic consumer.
U.S. Hispanics, a heavily family-driven demographic, account for about 18% of the total U.S. population. Within this community, women tend to be the ones with the most influence in what and how to buy for the household, which is why brands are aware that, when trying to sell to Hispanics, they largely need to understand how to address the ladies.
According to Liz Sanderson, SVP of strategy and insights at Univision, a 2016 study found that, in average, Hispanic women first become mothers at 24, two years younger than non-Hispanic women. “At this age, Latina moms are busy with careers and motherhood,” writes Sanderson, “which means they have a lot of needs. This is where brands can come in to provide solutions, simplify their lives, and become part of the fabric of their family and community."
Hispanic Women: Bread-Winners and Decision-Makers
Latinas play an integral financial role in their households. According to 2016 information from the U.S. Bureau of Statistics, 40% of Latina mothers bring in at least 40% of their families’ income, and almost three million family households in the United States are headed by Latinas. The Spanish-dominant Latina controls a significant portion of Hispanics’ purchasing power because they are often in charge of deciding what their family spends money on.
40% of Latina mothers bring in at least 40% of their families' income.
In one study, 86% of Latinas said that they are the primary decision makers in their households (Nielsen, Latina Report, 2013). This may explain why Latinas are also starting to spend money on products that they used to under-index compared to other demographics, like home and car purchases, and the use of financial services. However, recent research concludes that the Latina Millennial also substantially contributes to household finances and decision making.
Tell Me How Big Is Your Family, I'll Tell You How You Shop
One of the most important factors that play a role in Latinas' purchasing decisions is the size of their families, which tends to be bigger in the case of Spanish-dominant Latinas, who are more likely to be running multi-generational households than other demographics. The Nielsen Latina Power Shift report explains that some of the high levels of purchasing by Latinas are associated with the needs of their larger families or culturally-nuanced products, mainly in food categories, but not exclusively.
When families are big, so is the need for consuming CPG products more frequently, and naturally, brands in this category should try to target Spanish-dominant Latinas effectively. Research backed by the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies (AHAA) determined that among CPG brands, the Hispanic segment was responsible for around a third of their revenue growth between 2006 and 2010. A decade later, brands should take a step back and be aware that all the CPG giants are forced to adapt to new times, and advertising for Hispanic demographics needs to be smarter; the language difference isn't enough anymore, you need to find out what really speaks to these women.
First, Think About Convenience
Between work, family and community (and, you know, having a life), Latinas are busy. This could explain why Hispanics are significantly more likely than non-Hispanics to express interest in online shopping to avoid trips to a physical store (Hispanic Online Market report, Captura, 2015.) Amazon has predicted that Hispanics will be increasing purchases of grocery products online by more than 40%.
Studies also show that Spanish-dominant Latinos are slightly more resistant to online shopping than bilingual or English-dominant Latinos. Spanish-dominant Latinos also make fewer trips to the grocery store than the general Hispanic population. Latinas are also more likely to go to the grocery store without a list, although her purchases are less likely to be driven by habit than with non-Hispanics (Hispanic Online Market report, Captura, 2015.) Moreover, Hispanics over-index in researching products and services online (32.1% compared to 24.3% for non-Hispanic whites.)
A Good Deal Beats Everything?
Latinas like a good deal precisely because they are often stretching resources to provide their families with the best possible lifestyle. According to Oye! Intelligence, female Hispanics are more active on social media than male Hispanics about discounts and promotions. Also, Latinas tend to share their experiences and make recommendations to their followers.
68% of Hispanic women agree that if a product is made by a company they trust, they will buy it, even if it's slightly more expensive than another brand.
Then, it is perhaps because of the great number of discounts on the biggest shopping days of the year that Hispanic women expressed higher positive sentiment about Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday generated mostly English-language discussion (74%), suggesting that brands are more likely to reach acculturated Latinas than Spanish-dominant Latinas on this day. Black Friday seems to enjoy higher awareness among Spanish-dominant Latinas, with 58% of conversations occurring in the Spanish language.
Therefore, as explains Univision's Liz Sanderson, "Because Latinas also like to tell others about the products and brands they love, they are highly influential." However, the part about a good deal beating everything might not be altogether true: "According to a 2017 Nielsen study, 68% of Hispanic women agree that if a product is made by a company they trust, they will buy it, even if it's slightly more expensive than another brand." Which is great news for your brand, because you are already earning the trust of Hispanic women, aren't you?
What Are Latinas' Key Consumption Habits and Expenditure Categories?
|Item (Expenditures in US$)||All consumer Units||Hispanic|
|Income before taxes
(not Hispanic US$71,855)
|Avg. Number in consumer Unit
Children under 18
Adults 65 and older
|Average Annual Expenditures||$55,978||$47,663|
|(Below: only Hispanic over indexing categories)|
|Food at home (g)||4,015||4,182|
|Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs (g)||896||1,080|
|Fruits and Vegetables (g)||769||857|
|Telephone Services (g)||1,342||1,386|
|Apparel and Services (g)||1,846||2,035|
|Gasoline and motor oil||2,090||2,208|
|Vehicle and Insurance||1,079||1,237|
Source: Consumer Expenditure Survey, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, August, 2016