If You're Not Doing Multicultural Research, Then You're Not Doing Research

April 30, 2019 Author: Mario X. Carrasco

Amplifying the voice of the multicultural consumer is at the heart of what we do at ThinkNow. Our research studies dig deeply into this multifaceted audience to uncover the cultural nuances that make them unique and the impact acculturation has had on immigrant communities. We believe in the power of this data, and often reach out to companies who have never interacted with us when the research impacts their business directly. A common objection we get from cold outreach calls is, “sorry, but we don’t do multicultural research.” That response stings. To say that you’re not willing to get to know over a quarter of the U.S. population is both offensive and tragic, because not only does it send a message that you don’t care, but it’s just bad business.

Look, this isn’t a sales ploy. My reason for raising the flag isn’t to generate more bid opportunities. Our mission is to help companies understand the importance of the multicultural consumer and how multicultural research plays a critical role in the future of their company. Some companies choose to gain that insight through our firm or with another. But if your company is engaged in regular market research and sells products in the U.S. and is not conducting multicultural research, then your research is incomplete, your data is skewed, and your marketing campaigns are underperforming.

Bold statement? Not really. Just calling it as I see it, and the U.S. Census Bureau backs me up. Here are the facts:

1. The Numbers: As the population ages and grows more slowly in the coming decades, the United States is projected to continue becoming a more racially and ethnically pluralistic society. The fastest-growing racial or ethnic group in the United States is people who are Two or More Races, who are projected to grow some 200 percent by 2060. The next fastest is the Asian population, which is projected to double, followed by Hispanics whose population will nearly double within the next four decades. In contrast, the only group projected to shrink is the non-Hispanic White population. Between 2016 and 2060, the non-Hispanic White population is expected to contract by 19 million people, from 198 million to 179 million, even as the total U.S. population grows.

The Implications: By not conducting multicultural research, you are missing out on a large percentage of the current population and an even larger percentage of the future population of U.S. consumers. One of the biggest reasons market research is conducted within large organizations is to understand future trends to inform business decisions. If you do not include multicultural research as part of your marketing research mix, you are crippling the future growth of your firm.

2. The Numbers: By 2020, fewer than one-half of children—49.8 percent—are projected to be non-Hispanic White. The changing racial makeup of the United States is most visible among children. By 2020, most children are projected to be a race other than non-Hispanic White. That figure is expected to rise in coming decades, so about two in three children are projected to be a race other than non-Hispanic White by 2060.

The Implications: If children are the future, the future is multicultural. If your brand is aimed at children (18 and under), the future is now. If your brand relies on Gens Z or Alpha consumers, who are primarily multicultural, how will you connect with them in a meaningful way if there’s no multicultural research to tell you how?

3. The Numbers: By 2028, the foreign-born share of the U.S. population is projected to be higher than at any time since 1850. Not until 2028 will the foreign-born living in the United States reach a historic high, however. That year, 14.9 percent of the U.S. population is projected to have been born in another country, higher than any time since 1850. Just two years later, by 2030, net international migration is expected to become the primary driver of population growth in the United States—another demographic milestone for the country.

The Implications: To sum it up, Americans are not having babies. Babies drive economies. So if the baby boom is over, where will our economy’s growth come from in the future? Immigrants who are likely multicultural. With 2030 around the corner, is your brand ready to speak to this foreign-born population? If not, you’re in trouble if multicultural research is not a part of your research mix.

What You Need To Remember

You would never leave out 30% of a population you are surveying, right? But that’s exactly what you are doing when you leave out the multicultural population when surveying U.S. consumers. With the multicultural population driving the economic growth of the U.S. for the next 30 years or more, that is a huge gamble. Bet on multicultural research if you’re looking to future proof your business. The odds are much better.

Is your company or brand looking to connect with multicultural audiences?
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