Multicultural consumers are poised to become the majority in the next twenty years. One of the largest demographics in the multicultural ecosystem is U.S. Hispanics, who account for about half the population growth in the country. With slowing immigration, most of that growth is supported by U.S. births. The burgeoning numbers are driving a 1.2 trillion dollar Hispanic/Latino consumer market, making them an attractive target for companies and brands. Traditionally, brands market to U.S. Hispanics with ads translated into Spanish and distributed through Spanish speaking mediums.
September 15th marks the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month. During this month-long celebration, the contributions and culture of Hispanic and Latino Americans are thrust into the national spotlight and inspire a steady flow of well-intended marketing campaigns. U.S. Hispanics, however, are often treated as a homogenous group by media, leading to poorly executed campaigns that miss the mark and squander opportunities for brands. Far from fitting the one-size-fits-all formula, the 60 million Americans of Latino/Hispanic origin represent over 20 Latin American countries. Each with their unique heritage and cultural backgrounds.
Over the past six months, economic instability has sent shockwaves through the global marketplace, causing some industries to crumble and others to thrive as e-commerce and digital interactions increase during the pandemic. For example, technology companies like Amazon and Facebook have seen massive spikes in their stock market prices, advertising revenue, and the number of users. While more traditional brands like Hertz and Royal Dutch Shell, as well as most brick and mortar companies, were not so lucky. They suffered massive profit losses as a result of people sheltering in place and abandoning their normal routines.
The Black Lives Matter movements that erupted following the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor have sparked a massive cultural shift in the American consciousness and sparked a global conversation about equality. For the first time, many corporations are lending their voices to denouncing racial injustice and pledging to be more culturally sensitive and inclusive in business. But the outpouring of support has come with notable backlash. Consumers have blasted many brands for “performative woke washing” and not backing up their claims with action.
So far, 2020 has been one for the record books. A worldwide pandemic and subsequent shelter in place orders are causing sharp spikes in online streaming and mobile search activity as consumers seek ways to stay healthy, entertained, and informed. And in recent weeks, the public outcry against social injustice resounds on the tips of the tongues of protesters, as they hit the streets and take to social media to express their outrage and find community. Taken collectively, these rapid shifts in consumer behavior are fast-tracking digital trends and accelerating the push for digital research methodologies to understand the dynamics driving these behaviors.
COVID-19 has completely disrupted our sense of normalcy. Collectively, we’ve hung our hopes on our ability to create a “new normal” post-COVID with some semblance of life before the outbreak. But, life during this pandemic is not normal, nor will it be in the months ahead. From industries to schools and everything in between, routines have been fractured, lives altered, and jobs lost. As a market researcher working in an industry that thrives on consumer interaction, I can speak best to what I’ve seen while navigating this space and how I think the market research industry will respond to the looming uncertainties ahead.
Hispanics are on track to becoming the largest ethnic minority group in the U.S. this year. Not only does this have serious implications for the presidential election, but also for brands seeking new markets to combat stagnating sales. But it’s not just Hispanics. Population growth among African American and Asian American consumers continues to rise, as the population of Non-Hispanic Whites flatline.