Economically Potent and Increasingly Acculturated Latino Consumers Spend More

The United States population of Hispanic consumers wields a formidable combination of fiscal optimism and buying power in excess of $1 trillion, making progressively more acculturated Latinos a demographic capable of shaping the nation's future economic and marketing trajectory, according to Latino Shoppers: Demographic Patterns and Spending Trends among Hispanic Americans, 8th Edition by market research publisher Packaged Facts. Hispanic buying power is projected to reach $1.3 trillion in 2015, a cumulative increase of around 25%.

"Although suffering their full share of job losses and foreclosures, Hispanic consumers are more optimistic than non-Hispanic white consumers about their own personal financial situation and about the future of the American economy," says Don Montuori, publisher of Packaged Facts. "Between 2008 and 2009 above-average growth in the Hispanic population caused aggregate spending by Latino households to increase slightly even as spending declined in non-Hispanic households. Considering that one in six Americans are now of Hispanic heritage, Latino consumers will remain influential over the ensuing years, especially because there are a significant number of high-income Latino households."

Marketers must be aware of how increasing acculturation will affect the decisions of Latino shopping behaviors. Compared to their low-acculturation counterparts, high-acculturation Latinos are much more likely to own credit cards, take out loans and have health and life insurance, according to the report. They are also less influenced by advertising and product placements but are much more alert to in-store promotions. Additionally, they are far more likely to shop and buy online and from catalogs. Packaged Facts further reveals that more education leads to better paying jobs and increasing influence among high-acculturation Latinos, who are more likely than their low-acculturation counterparts to work as managers and professionals, are more likely to own their own homes, and are twice as likely to have a household income of $75,000 or more.

Although advertising campaigns have increasingly featured Hispanics and Hispanic themes, marketers targeting Hispanic consumers must recognize substantial regional differences in the composition of the Hispanic population. For instance, Latinos living in western and southwestern states tend to be of Mexican heritage, while Latinos in the Northeast have a much more varied country-of-origin background. With an estimated buying power of $616 billion, Latinos of Mexican heritage represent the single most influential segment of the Hispanic market. Mexicans in the U.S. account for 59% of all Hispanic buying power. On a per capita basis, however, Cubans are the most affluent of the major Hispanic population segments.