A New Protrait of Hispanic Consumers

Popular belief among marketers and media execs has long held that Hispanics are more brand loyal than the general population and more persuaded by Spanish- than English-language ads. But a study released earlier this month by the Food Marketing Institute and direct-mail giant Advo offers evidence to the contrary.

The research, based on phone interviews with 1,650 Hispanic consumers in March and April, found that what may have been true for years is changing with acculturation factors such as inter-racial marriage and the second generation’s English-media consumption.

The study, which focused on grocery-shopping habits and media preferences, found that only 20 percent of Hispanics are more brand loyal than the general population; the most brand-loyal Hispanic shoppers are less acculturated and also spend less.

“Hispanics are looking at price, value and quality, and if they are not familiar with brands, the advertising is critical,” noted Rosa Serrano, group account director, multicultural at Interpublic Group’s Initiative.

The findings also showed that more than half of Hispanic consumers recalled bilingual ads, while less than half recalled advertising that was either Spanish- or English-language only.

“The majority of Hispanics do not only consume Spanish-language media,” said Jorge Percovich, managing director of Havas’ MPG Diversity. “The issue of whether to redeem coupons has largely become a value-proposition issue.”

“Clearly, as one becomes more acculturated, there are going to be differences in shopping habits, media habits and language preferences,” noted Tracey Rivera, national advertising sales director at Latina magazine.