What: Portada looked at data about the language in which Latinas prefer to consume media and found an interesting relationship between acculturation and language preference.
Why it matters: Language preference is one of the key factors to take into account when marketing to multicultural audiences, but it needs to be tackled wisely in order to actually succeed.

As we have seen before, acculturation plays an important role in the way Latinas, bread-earners and decision-makers of the Hispanic household, see the world and interact with it. While more acculturated Latinas have a higher interest in art, less acculturated Latinas are more optimistic, but family is a priority for all of them. In general, more acculturation is negatively correlated with the use of Spanish, but it’s not as black and white as it might seem.

In the tables below, we can see the role of English and Spanish in speaking, and in the consumption of different media, such as TV, radio, online, and reading. Interestingly, “only Spanish” over-indexes substantially less for TV watching and radio listening compared to “online” and “reading”. Therefore, both Spanish-language print and digital media are particularly appropriate media vehicles to reach out to the Spanish-dominant Latina.

Even the overall Latina female population over-indexes in the “only Spanish” category, for both “online and “reading”, which is not the case for “listening radio” and “watching TV” (it actually under-indexes in the latter).
However, it is important to note that age is not necessarily a factor explaining language preference. As data from the Hispanic Millennial Project shows, Spanish-Language Media is key to reaching foreign-born Hispanic Millennials.

Hispanic Millennials, particularly those that are U.S. born, are most likely to indicate they consume media equally in English and Spanish (approximately 40%). Even among U.S.-born Hispanic Millennials, only 40% indicate they consume English media mostly or exclusively.

Language preferred when speaking

Hispanic Adults

18+

Female Hispanics

18+

Female Hispanics

18+ (Predominantly

Spanish)

Agree% of sampleIndexAgree% of sampleIndexAgree% of sampleVertical
Only English154819.410081220103363.317
Mostly English, but some Spanish227535.2100127335.410125212.535
Mostly Spanish, but some English152923.1100835229569938.3166
Only Spanish138017.610083019.210980144.2252
In some other language430.6100210.610420.235

Source: Simmons Research, Fall 2016 National Hispanic Consumer Study

Language preferred when reading

Hispanic Adults

18+

Female Hispanics

18+

Female Hispanics

18+ (Predominantly

Spanish)

Agree% of sampleIndexAgree% of sampleIndexAgree% of sampleIndex
Only English290139.4100153339.310017310.827
Mostly English, but some Spanish150225.110086225.61023411768
Mostly Spanish, but some English97913.910055613.39649325.6184
Only Spanish136617.510080518.710777143.8251
In some other language380.5100210.713130.2L47

Source: Simmons Research, Fall 2016 National Hispanic Consumer Study

Language preferred when online

Hispanic Adults

18+

Female Hispanics

18+

Female Hispanics

18+ (Predominantly

Spanish)

Agree% of sampleIndexAgree% of sampleIndexAgree% of sampleVertical
Only English33244510018044510030717.439
Mostly English, but some Spanish11532010063719.49731715.376
Mostly Spanish, but some English6918.71003939.310636318206
Only Spanish8841310052513.110150432.1247
In some other language330.7100171.014430.794

Source: Simmons Research, Fall 2016 National Hispanic Consumer Study

Language preferred when listening to radio

Hispanic Adults

18+

Female Hispanics

18+

Female Hispanics

18+ (Predominantly

Spanish)

Agree% of sampleIndexAgree% of sampleIndexAgree% of sampleVertical
Only English205927.5100102825.49216110.8%39
Mostly English, but some Spanish192929.9100109030.510227813.345
Mostly Spanish, but some English119118.110070020.411251129.5162
Only Spanish126516.810076116.910068536.6218
In some other language340.5100160.6114203

Source: Simmons Research, Fall 2016 National Hispanic Consumer Study

Language preferred when watching TV

Hispanic Adults

18+

Female Hispanics

18+

Female Hispanics

18+ (Predominantly

Spanish)

Agree% of sampleIndexAgree% of sampleIndexAgree% of sampleIndex
Spanish-language labeling on products helps me select what I want222330.6100128731.7103101152.4171
I remember more about or pay more attention to the products/services that are advertised in Spanish204826.7100119527.210294949.5185
Spanish-language advertising is important to me because it’s the best source of information for making purchasing decisions187226100106925.49886347181
When I hear a company advertise in Spanish, it makes me feel like they respect my heritage and want my business264034.8100154537106100153.1152
I am much more loyal towards companies that show appreciation for our culture by advertising in Spanish249132.610014533611094752.3160
It’s important to me that websites I visit are available in Spanish193526.5100113929.111082546.5176

Source: Simmons Research, Fall 2016 National Hispanic Consumer Study

As we have seen, the Spanish-preferred Latina clearly over-indexes in her positive reaction related to the use of Spanish-language in marketing, advertising and packaging messages. Interestingly, the overall Latina woman under-indexes in the response to “Spanish-language advertising is important to me as a source of information making purchasing decisions.” This means that the acculturated Latina woman clearly prefers English as the language for content to base purchase decisions on.

A 2012 Yahoo! study found that Spanish-dominant Latinas are far more likely than bilingual or English-dominant Latinas to value ads that portray their ethnicity positively (71% versus 51%) and make them feel proud of their ethnicities (76% versus 52%). Four in five first-generation Hispanics will talk about an ad that speaks positively about their ethnicity. Brands that invest in understanding what cultural passion points, traditions and rituals resonate with Spanish-dominant Latinas will see a return on their investment.

Likewise, BodenPRs, BODEN Latina Smart Purse™ found that celebrating Hispanic culture is important for Latinas: from the content she consumes to the brands she trusts and the products she buys, “In fact, 65% agree that it is important for brands to develop content specifically for Latinas, from the point of view of a Latina.” The BODEN Latina Smart Purse™ study found that Latinas are more likely to purchase from brands that invest in Latinas (77%) and their communities (87%).

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Janet has worked as editor and translator since 2013. After graduating with honors when receiving her Bachelor's Degree in English literature, she began working as a book reviewer for Expansión, the leading business magazine in Mexico. She has also worked as editor of young adult literature for publishing houses like Planeta and Penguin, and she's the author of a book of short stories. She's in the process of getting her MA in English at McGill University. Her interests include arts, good food, and her 8 pets.

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