It’s Time for Back-to-School Shopping… And Hispanics Are Spending

August 27, 2013 Author: Roy Eduardo Kokoyachuk

It’s that time of the year when parents all around the country are opening their wallets and outfitting their children with everything they’ll need for the coming school year – clothes, school supplies, electronics and more.

To help understand the actions of the Hispanic community around back-to-school shopping, we recently conducted a nationwide omnibus survey*. The results bring to light a number of very interesting insights… insights that retailers and their ad agencies need to pay attention to.

Hispanic Back-to-School Purchases: What are Hispanics Buying?

First, what will Hispanics being shopping for this school year? Following are the percentages of the various product categories on Hispanics’ shopping lists…

  • School supplies: 91%
  • Clothes: 83%
  • Shoes: 78%
  • Books: 49%
  • Electronics: 44%
  • Sporting goods: 37%

While most of these categories were consistent across the various demographic categories, there were a couple of differences worth noting:

  • The lowest acculturated Hispanics will be buying electronics (computers, printers, calculators) at a rate half that of moderately acculturated Hispanics (25% vs. 50%, respectively).
  • Those with a HHI over $40k will be buying sporting goods at a rate 68% higher (47% vs. 28%) than those with a HHI below $40k.

Hispanic Back-to-School Spending: How much are Hispanics spending?

When it comes to the amount of spending anticipated by Hispanic back-to-school shoppers, the numbers are really quite impressive.

Overall, anticipated spending breaks down as follows:

  • Less than $100: 12%
  • $101-$200: 28%
  • $201-$300: 17%
  • $301-$400: 17%
  • $401-$500: 10%
  • $501-$600: 7%
  • More than $600: 8%

These numbers are also consistent – to a certain degree – with household income (HHI). That is, the more the anticipated spending amount, the more likely the HHI is to be higher, as well.

Still, 42% of all Hispanic families will be spending more than $300 this year on back-to-school shopping. And for those with a HHI over $40k (50% of the survey respondents), 57% will spend more than $300 this year, including 22% that will spend more than $500.

Hispanic Back-to-School Preferences: Where are Hispanics shopping?

Perhaps most interesting of all the data is where Hispanics will be doing their back-to-school shopping this year. Across all product categories, the top destinations for back-to-school shopping were:

#1 – Mass Merchants (Wal-Mart, Target, etc.)
#2 – Online
#3 – A tie between Club Stores (Sam’s Club, Costco, etc.) and Apparel stores (Old Navy, TJ Maxx, etc.)

The ‘Club Stores’ never showed up as a ‘Top 3’ choice in any one product category but they were a relatively high, consistent choice across the board.

Interestingly, except for being ranked #1 for electronics (of course), electronics stores ranked dead last overall.

‘Online’ was a Top 3 choice in three of the six categories measured (Books, Electronics and Sporting goods) and #2 overall. Though we have not conducted this study before, our assumption is that the move to online shopping only continues to grow among Hispanics as they are the highest adopters of technology of any demographic group.

Finally, Mass Merchants rule in the Hispanic Community! They garnered a Top 3 ranking in all six categories, meaning that for many Hispanic shoppers, the convenience of going to one location for all back-to-school shopping is too strong of an urge to resist.

In Summary

In the Hispanic community, big-box discount stores (Wal-Mart, Target, Sam’s Club and Costco) and online shopping show that Hispanic shoppers want two things… low prices and lots of choices. Retailers that focus on these two strategies – in essence, catering to the needs of the Hispanic shopper – will earn a more significant share of wallet from this buying group.

To do that, retailers will need to make available the products and brands coveted by Hispanics. It also means that their advertising agencies will need to help them communicate with Hispanics in ways that are sensitive to both the Latino language and culture.

* This Hispanic Omnibus study was conducted by ThinkNow Research; these questions were asked in August 2013.

We are pleased to offer free of charge the full contents of the report referenced in this blog entry. Please click the link below to get your copy now.

Download this study.