Hispanic Americans Say Wal-Mart Best Caters to Their Needs: Study

NEW YORK -- When asked to name which major store or retailer does the best job of catering to the Hispanic or Latino consumer, Hispanic Americans who participated in a recent survey named Wal-Mart most often, according to GfK Omnibus Services, a division of GfK Custom Research North America. The research group released results from its Hispanic OmniTel Retail Study yesterday.

Wal-Mart was far and away the top selection, with 35 percent of the votes. Home Depot came in at a distant second, at 7 percent, and Target was third, at 5 percent.

The study was conducted nationwide via telephone in October 2006 among 502 Hispanic-Americans age 18 and older. Respondents were given the choice of completing the survey in English or Spanish.

Asked which factors are most important when deciding where to shop, Hispanic Americans cited the same priorities that other Americans have when choosing retailers: convenience, low prices, and a wide range of merchandise. However, a second tier of priorities that are unique to the Hispanic market was cited by about half of Hispanics as being "very important," including store employees speaking Spanish, products relevant to Hispanic consumers, and Spanish-language signage, according to GfK Omnibus Services.

"The survey shows that mainstream national retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target are highly attractive to Hispanics, but that the key to differentiation stems from meeting and delivering the unique needs of Hispanic consumers," said Bruce Barr, v.p., GfK Omnibus Services. "To stand out with Hispanics, retailers need to consider offering such things as Spanish-speaking sales clerks, Hispanic-oriented merchandise, and Spanish-language signage. Wal-Mart has clearly demonstrated they have taken the next step in their marketing efforts to ensure they have catered to the Hispanic consumer effectively."

Following is a breakdown of factors considered very important by Hispanic Americans in choosing a shopping destination:

-- Low prices: 75 percent

-- Convenient location: 69 percent

-- Wide range of merchandise: 66 percent

-- Employees who speak Spanish: 51 percent

-- Wide range of payment options: 49 percent

-- Products relevant to Hispanic consumers: 48 percent

-- Spanish signage: 47 percent

-- Product packaging and labels in Spanish: 43 percent

-- Owner is a member of the local community: 33 percent

Following is a breakdown of the types of stores respondents say they shop in often:

-- National discount chain stores such as Wal-Mart or Target: 56 percent

-- Local stores that specialize in serving Hispanic and Latino customers: 37 percent

-- National home improvement stores such as Lowe's or Home Depot: 32 percent

-- National midpriced department stores such as Kohl's, Sears, or JCPenney: 23 percent

-- Electronics, entertainment, or appliance stores such as Circuit City or Best Buy: 15 percent

-- Specialty clothing stores such as the Gap or Old Navy: 12 percent

-- National upscale department stores such as Macy's, Nordstrom, or Lord & Taylor: 10 percent

Sporting good stores such as the Sports Authority: 8 percent

GfK's Hispanic OmniTel is a monthly survey of the Hispanic American market that represents all Hispanic-American adults nationwide.
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