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What: Multicultural market research firm ThinkNow Research revealed its latest study, the ThinkNow Media™ Report 2017, which found that TV viewing habits among multicultural consumers are dramatically shifting.
Why It Matters: The study found that 61% of Hispanics prefer Netflix for watching television programs (up from 46% in 2016 and 36% in 2015) and that one-third of total market anticipates streaming most or all TV shows in near future.

Multicultural market research firm ThinkNow Research’s latest study, the ThinkNow Media™ Report 2017, spoke to 1,261 consumers ages 18-64 (including a representative sample of U.S. Hispanics, African- Americans, Asians and non-Hispanic whites) regarding media habits, consumption, preferences and delivery methods.

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According to Mario Carrasco, cofounder and principal at ThinkNow, there are “three main assumptions” that brands need to let go of: “that Spanish language broadcast is the golden ticket to Hispanic audiences; that millennials don’t consume Spanish content, and that cultural connections are more relevant than acculturation or generation.”

The report found that Hispanics, particularly Millennial Hispanics, are turning to streaming services for their TV viewing. According to the study, 61% of Hispanics prefer Netflix for watching television programs (up from 46% in 2016 and 36% in 2015). Additionally, Hispanics prefer to binge watch TV programs, with 60% viewing an entire season in one weekend.

How Surprising Are The Study’s Findings?

Interestingly, Millennials are increasingly selecting Spanish-language programs via OTT services. This may come as a surprise to many brand marketers. “We’re seeing this trend as a result of more options with Spanish language original series like Club de Cuervos on Netflix,” Carrasco said.

Lionsgate and Hemisphere Media have picked up on this trend, and recently announced a premium Spanish-language streaming service called PANTAYA. “This trend will continue and other content leaders need to get on board to provide Hispanic consumers with a way to connect with their culture and language,” argued Carrasco.

What do these changing preferences mean for brands that have traditionally invested significant ad spend in networks like Telemundo and Univision under the assumption that they are safe bets for reaching Spanish-dominant Hispanics? According to Carrasco, as streaming services become more popular among Hispanic audiences, marketers will likely begin putting more of their budgets into streaming services and online video for Spanish-language campaigns.

For brands, Carrasco argued, it will be key to begin advertising with Spanish-language programs before it gets expensive: “Getting in now is cost effective as prices have yet to reflect the ROI they represent and you can establish yourself now on streaming as an advertiser before it becomes more competitive,” he said.

This is not to say that Telemundo and Univision do not have their place in Hispanic targeting strategies: “Telemundo and Univision are both great at creating content and can partner with streaming services to provide Spanish language or culturally relevant content to be streamed exclusively on a platform,” Carrasco said.

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MARIO_HEADSHOT1 (2)Mario X. Carrasco, Co-Founder & Principal of ThinkNow Research writes about  ThinkNow Affinity™ Brand Loyalty Study and how it suggests a shift in consumer behavior.

If there is one “truth” that has persisted in multicultural marketing throughout the decades, it is the assumption that less acculturated Hispanics are more brand loyal than their bicultural and more acculturated Hispanic counterparts. But this persistent trope has trickled outside of the confines of Hispanic marketing. Less acculturated Hispanics are now considered the most brand-loyal consumer segment out of non-Hispanic whites, Asians, and African-Americans.

But where did that ideology come from? Let’s look at the genesis of how this may have come about. Less acculturated Hispanics are typically the recently immigrated population in the U.S. Because they are unfamiliar with the brands in the U.S., they look to advertising to help guide their purchasing decisions.

Non-Hispanic Whites show the highest level of loyalty overall. This goes against what multicultural marketers have traditionally thought.

Highly visible brands compete for mindshare among less acculturated Hispanics. Top performing brands became “top” of mind as less accultured Hispanics assimilate to life in the U.S., creating loyalty that will last throughout the consumers’ lifetime and potentially to future generations as they pass down these purchasing habits.

In theory, it all makes sense. But, as we’re seeing across several consumer verticals right now, behavior is changing.

Our recent study, ThinkNow Affinity™, which analyzed brand loyalty across the Total Market, looked at several core CPG categories, specifically:

  • Toothpaste
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Bottled Water
  • Toilet Tissue
  • Shampoo
  • Dishwashing Soap

Not the most exciting categories, but these staples don’t change much over time and is something almost everyone purchases. This gives us a good pulse on brand loyalty vs. brand loyalty of products in constant flux.

But before we dive into the insights gleaned from specific Hispanic segments such as Less Acculturated and Bicultural, let’s look at brand loyalty across the Total Market:

Brand-Switching

Non-Hispanic Whites show the highest level of loyalty overall. This goes against what multicultural marketers have traditionally thought. This new reality becomes even more interesting when we break out loyalty by Hispanic sub-segments:

Brand-Purchase

Interestingly, Bicultural Hispanics now rise to the top regarding brand loyalty, with almost 40% of Bicultural Hispanics indicating that they will go to another store or come back another day if the brand they usually buy was not available where they regularly shop.

Conversely, 35% of Less Acculturated Hispanics indicated the same. The difference becomes more pronounced, however, when we look at those who stated that they would go to another store to buy the brand they usually buy, which would suggest a higher level of brand loyalty. Only 18% of Less Acculturated Hispanics indicated that they would do that vs. 22% of Biculturals.

This research suggests that brand loyalty among various Hispanic sub-segments is changing. Relying on dated marketing perceptions spell trouble for your next campaign. To stimulate brand loyalty among all segments of the U.S. Hispanic population will always boil down to cultural relevance and a deep understanding of what drives their purchasing behavior. And the best way to do that – research.

Mario X. Carrasco is Co-Founder and Principal of ThinkNow Research. Under his co-leadership, ThinkNow Research has successfully launched several innovative market research initiatives, such as DigaYGane.com, one of the largest and most representative Hispanic online panels in the industry as well as the first Minority Business Owner (B2B) Panel in the U.S.
During his six-year tenure at ThinkNow, Carrasco’s expert knowledge of multicultural consumers and his passion for unveiling the story behind the numbers, is evident in his contributions to the Hispanic Millennial Project and We Are GenZ studies. Carrasco is a regular contributor to trusted publications such as eMarketer, Quirk’s Magazine, Online MR Magazine, and MediaPost.

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How do Hispanics relate to apps depending on their acculturation level? Little if anything has been researched around this.  A new white paper “Mobile App Diversity across Total Hispanic Market”, the result of the collaboration between ThinkNow Research and Entravision sheds light on this key issue for marketers.

While it is well-known that Hispanics over-index in mobile and app usage, insights into the similarities and distinctions across generational and/or acculturation levels have been lacking to date. Not anymore. “Mobile App Diversity across Total Hispanic Market” is an in-depth study to thoroughly analyze Hispanic market mobile app behavior across acculturation levels.  Download it here!