Hispanic Sample in the Commodity Age

January 28, 2016 Author: Mario X. Carrasco

There is no question that sample in the market research industry has become a commodity. With over 5,000 panels targeting the U.S. demographic, CPIs continue to get driven down as supply is overabundant. Unfortunately, due to increased competition and the need to make razor-thin profit margins, quality in the sample industry has been compromised (as discussed in great lengths in many blog posts).

However despite these quality issues, the sample industry continues to thrive. Big data, social media listening, and transactional data have become part of the market research mix. But all of those methodologies are missing the “why” factor. The “why” has kept the sample universe alive despite big data’s inability to explain the “why” behind consumer habits and preferences.

Some of the drivers of low sample quality have also sustained the sample industry. Since the cost of a respondent is at historic lows, companies can now smooth out data quality issues and inconsistencies with large base sizes that were not possible with limited budgets. Sample size of 1,000, 1,500, and 2,000 are not uncommon nowadays as sample is widely available at a low cost and these base sizes allow for more consistency in the data.

However, these quality control tactics are more difficult among ethnic cohorts. When compared to the general market, ethnic cohorts represent a smaller piece of the pie:

• Hispanic – 18%
• African-American – 16%
• Asian – 14%

And although the overall number is small, as you get into younger cohorts like millennials, Hispanics make up 25% of the millennial population, which is why many companies are starting to focus significant efforts and budgets in reaching and understanding this population.

The panel universe was created, targeting the general market population. As these panels were constructed with general market panelists in mind coupled with the smaller ethnic cohort population, reaching ethnic respondents through traditional panels is extremely difficult. This makes the success of market research projects inclusive of ethnic respondents even more critical.

In the Hispanic sample market, specifically, there are only 2 U.S. panels dedicated to U.S. Hispanic panels vs. the 5K+ gen pop panels, so as you can imagine the stakes are high. The sample universe is much smaller for Hispanics, thus making quality more imperative. As the Hispanic demographic becomes the go-to growth demographic for companies, accurate data will be vital in making business decisions.

Although limited Hispanic sample is available via gen pop panels and exchanges, in-language and less acculturated sample is suspect as they are typically not recruited in Spanish. Additionally, standard security measures aren’t always applicable to the less acculturated.

As your clients begin to ask for Hispanic sample, remember that this is a critical growth opportunity for them. Delivering high-quality sample is critical as the sample universe is smaller. Working with a dedicated U.S. Hispanic market research company will ensure that the data your client receives is reflective of a nationally representative sample of U.S. Hispanics, inclusive of hard to reach less acculturated and Spanish-dominant Hispanics.

For more insights, see our report below: