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Regarding language: We recognize there are various labels to describe U.S. populations who hail from Latin America or Spain, and the terms ‘Hispanic’ or ‘Latina’ mean very different things. ‘Hispanic’ refers to Spanish-speaking people, or those with a background in a Spanish-speaking country, while ‘Latina’ describes someone from a Latin American country. As we jump into retail consumer trends, we use both interchangeably to describe a booming U.S. population. Still, we recognize these labels are about self-identity in an overlapping cultural community, and simply put—it’s complicated, but our goal is to always be respectful and culturally sensitive.
The Hispanic consumer market represents an estimated $2.5 trillion in buying power—making it the largest consumer group in the U.S. And at the head of the table, controlling the purse strings of the valuable Hispanic household, sits the Latina. Retail consumer trends show Latinas dominate the retail landscape as shoppers, and their spending power is only expected to grow. This makes her an essential target for retail businesses. It's time to sit up and take notice of Hispanic women and what their purchasing power means for brands today.
The Hispanic consumer market is a large and diverse group with many nationalities, cultures, and languages. And to top it all off, it's growing—rapidly. In 2018, the Hispanic/Latino population grew to represent 18.3% of Americans, making them the largest non-white consumer group in the U.S. By 2060, it's estimated that Hispanics will make up 31% of the population. So, what retail consumer trends are we seeing among this noteworthy demographic?
Hispanic consumers in 2022 are now the youngest ethnic group in America. And youthfulness means they're always looking for new trends—whether in food, fashion, or technology. Hispanic Gen Z and Millennials are influenced by different things than their parents and grandparents. They're digital natives who grew up with social media and are always connected. And they have different consumption habits, too. They're more likely to choose brands that support their community (not just market to them) and want to be reflected in the products they purchase. Since this pivotal group has plenty of prime spending years ahead of them, retail brands need to keep their attention to keep their dollars.
Technology has a special place in the Hispanic home, with 91% of Hispanic households owning a computer (in line with the national average), 80% having broadband internet, and 80% of Hispanics reporting social media use. Smartphones are also becoming more prevalent, with 85% of Hispanics owning one. Smartphones are quickly becoming their go-to tech to watch videos, surf the net, and consume content. Whether it's computers or smartphones, Hispanics are often early adopters of emerging technology and lead engaged online lives. Digital platforms keep Hispanic consumers connected to their culture, so brands need to be available online to connect with this digitally connected audience.
Now that we've covered the general consumer retail trends of Hispanic consumers, where does the Latina shopper fit in?
There's no doubt about it, Latina shoppers are a key driver of economic influence. In the home, they make the purchasing decisions. Eighty-six percent of households report that women are the primary shopper in the home—controlling the majority of the $2.5 trillion Hispanic buying power.
Plus, Latinas are quickly becoming one of the fasting growing female consumer demographics in the U.S. In fact, by 2060, it's estimated that Latinas will make up 30% of all women in America. What do brands need to know about this retail powerhouse?
When it comes to the Hispanic woman, she's not just buying for herself but for the whole family. So, what's she buying for the household? Everything from food and beverages to health and skincare products. But, with almost half the Hispanic population under 18, it's not surprising that children's products, clothes, and entertainment are a top priority when it comes to family purchases. 51% of Hispanic women report that their children significantly impact the brands they choose. The desire to buy for their kids leads to Latinas making larger (and more frequent) purchases at game and toy stores, owning a video-game system, and using video on demand for children's programs.
Food is central to Latin American culture—it's a way to connect with family and friends and is an essential part of celebrations. Hispanic women are passionate about cooking as it's intertwined with traditional concepts of their cultural identity. Seventy-seven percent of Hispanic women agree they enjoy being creative in the kitchen, and 79% agree they cook meals frequently.
So, what foods are Hispanic women stocking their shelves with?
Latinas are more likely to buy shelf-stable meal starters such as shortening and oil, sugar, spices and extracts, and dry vegetables and grains than any other shopper. While cooking from scratch has always been important in Hispanic families, convenience cooking is rising in Latina kitchens.
While culinary traditions are central to Latinas, they are also working to find a balance between their cultural roots and modern lifestyles. As Hispanic women grow their careers, they're looking for shortcuts to help them save time in the kitchen without sacrificing taste. On-the-go options are increasing in popularity, with 40% of Latinas saying they frequently eat meals on the go and 90% reporting that they have used a quick-service restaurant in the past 30 days.
Young Hispanic women today grow up in an environment where looking their best is highly valued. Looking beautiful is important and Hispanic women are willing to spend money on products that help them feel confident. As it happens, only 4% of Latinas say they would leave the house without any beauty product vs. 24% of non-Hispanics. This is why Hispanic women are the largest group of beauty consumers in the U.S., and when it comes to cosmetics and skincare, they outspend their peers by around 30%.
More than ever, Hispanic women follow brands, influencers, and bloggers on social media to learn about new products, trends, and sales. Over 70% of Latinas receive their beauty information through social media, and this trend ranks even high with younger demographics. Eighty-four percent of Latina Millennials consider social media to learn about beauty products.
Now, for a multilingual demographic, what language best suits their social media needs?
While many brands focus on English language marketing, this consumer group prefers bilingual social media—with more than half of Latinas following US-based influencers that offer bilingual content.
Hispanic shoppers are a growing force in the retail landscape that brands can't ignore. With their family-focused purchasing power and beauty-focused spending, retailers must keep Latinas in mind regarding product assortment, in-store experience, and marketing. And as far as your marketing goes—brands should plan to create bilingual content that resonates with this tech-savvy demographic and showcases their unique cultural perspective.
At Rebel, we use strategy and consumer research to help you find truths in places you wouldn't expect. For more insights, download our Women in Finance Trend Report.