For decades, Hispanic grocers and Hispanic products in mass market grocers have been dominated by food which comes either directly from Latin America or U.S. based companies that try to emulate those of Latin America, like cheeses, spices, and canned goods. There has been little innovation in these products since the 1970s and 80s when Hispanic immigration into the U.S. boomed, and companies responded with products to meet the new discerning consumer who was looking for authentic Hispanic products. Flash forward to 2019, and now immigration from Latin America is at an all-time low, but the U.S. Hispanic population continues to grow at a rapid pace driven primarily by U.S. born Hispanics.
What’s a little misconception among marketers? Well, in some cases, a minor misconception can lead to a huge missed opportunity. For instance, despite a significant, well-documented increase in multicultural consumers in the U.S., marketers of premium and luxury goods show little interest in this demographic. Why the indifference? It appears to stem from an assumption that the higher their income, the less people are influenced by their culture when making buying decisions. Makers of premium wine, beer, and spirits, for example, are in a prime position to take advantage of the growing opportunity with higher-income multicultural consumers. But to do so, they should consider what role culture plays in the purchasing decision.
Modern market research has seen four major phases of quantitative survey data collection. During that time, we saw representative samples of U.S. Hispanics emerge and take root in mainstream market research. Let’s take a closer at the evolution of quantitative research and how innovation in the field impacted the widespread use of Hispanic sample.
2018 has been an eventful year for Hispanic grocery stores. We saw Bodega Latina expand to Texas with an acquisition of Fiesta Mart, Winn-Dixie’s Fresco Y Más concept grew in Florida, and Albertson’s El Rancho Supermercado officially entered the Houston market. Acquisitions and consolidations have been accelerating at a break neck pace the past several years and they will continue to in 2019. But what is driving this trend? Understanding the underlying drivers of these acquisitions and consolidations in the Hispanic grocery store space can help us see what the future of Hispanic grocery holds in 2019.
ThinkNow, a technology-driven cultural insights agency and the No. 1 provider of U.S. Hispanic samples, is increasing its reach into Latin America, expanding its Spanish language panel offerings to Argentina and Colombia. This further solidifies our dominant position in LatAm markets. In an industry that is consolidating based on value, ThinkNow offers access to major U.S. and LatAm markets that are Spanish speaking. ThinkNow has been operating panels in the U.S. and Mexico for eight years.
Strategic acquisitions can play a big role in corporate growth strategy. And recently, we’ve seen a number of them in the market research industry, especially in the panel sector. Since GfK Knowledge Network’s acquisition of Garcia Research’s Hispanic panel, Cada Cabeza, in 2010, there have been several large companies acquiring Hispanic panels to bolster their Hispanic sample offerings. Nielsen, Research Now, and most recently, Maru/Blue’s acquisition of the Hispanic panel, Tú Cuentas, just to name a few. So, what’s driving this growing interest in Hispanic panels?
There’s no doubt about it: the face of marketing has transformed over the last 20 years. Yet, for more than three decades, marketing to U.S. Hispanics has undergone little change; Spanish-language television still represents the bulk of U.S. Hispanic media spend, even though digital media use is now ubiquitous among Hispanics while television viewership is declining. There is a new study in the Journal of Cultural Marketing Strategy, “Nativity-based view: A new audience measurement standard that drives television return on investment for U.S. Hispanics” authored by Dr. Jake Beniflah, Brian Hughes, and myself, has revealed a major opportunity for brands to improve results when marketing to U.S.-born vs. foreign born Hispanics.
As the percentage of Hispanics who speak Spanish begin to decline and immigration slows, it begs the question among market researchers, “do I still need Spanish-dominant sample as part of my U.S. sample frames?” Well as researchers, we can’t answer the questions until we investigate the numbers, right? So, let’s dive in, starting with the facts. Hispanic Spanish Speaking Consumer Growth Trends The United States is now the world’s second-largest Spanish-speaking country after Mexico, according to a 2016 study published by Instituto Cervantes. In fact, of the roughly 60 million Hispanics living in the U.S., 41 million are Spanish dominant.
Game Changer: 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Goes Mobile Our national consumer study of soccer fans reveals how Hispanics engage with soccer on social media and how they plan to follow & cultivate the World Cup experience, how they will engage the World Cup and how receptive they are to social media advertising. Special guest, Hugo Balta, Senior Director of Hispanic Initiatives at ESPN, joins Mario X. Carrasco, Managing Partner at ThinkNow Research for the #ThinkNowMRX Podcast Series, to discuss the findings of the ThinkNow Hispanic Soccer Fan Study 2018.