Industry Must Recognize Complexities of Hispanic Market, Says IRI

The 45-million-strong Hispanic consumer market in the U.S. drives $34 billion in CPG spending today -- a number projected to grow to $52 billion by 2015. Yet few retailers and manufacturers have cracked the code on how to capture this opportunity for their brands and stores. One of the reasons for this is the complexities of the Hispanic market, according to the latest edition of IRI's “Times & Trends” newsletter.

“While Hispanic consumers may share some common characteristics, this is by no means a homogenous group,” IRI noted in its report. “It is comprised of numerous sub-segments [and] based on multiple factors, including language spoken, level of acculturation, and country of origin.”
The report highlights differences within the Hispanic market vs. the general population and across Hispanic sub-segments that warrant consideration in product and packaging development, marketing, and merchandising plans. In addition, it showcases manufacturer and retailer initiatives that are moving the needle within this critical market segment.

Key findings from the report include:

-- The U.S. Hispanic market is a critical segment for CPG marketers. The U.S. Hispanic market drives $34 billion in CPG spending today and will spend an estimated $52 billion by 2015; spending per household among Hispanic consumers significantly outpaces the national spending averages across nearly every channel.
-- Hispanic consumers in general favor club stores and mass merchandisers. Offering deals and multi-packs appealing to larger Hispanic households, the mass and club channels have secured an above-average share of Hispanic shopper spending; supercenters are gaining ground, but store locations have inhibited growth.
-- Level of acculturation is a critical segmentation variable in capturing market potential. Shopping patterns, purchase behavior, and media usage among unacculturated Hispanic consumers are markedly different from acculturated Hispanic consumers; for instance, unacculturated consumers highly value fresh foods and traditional home cooked meals and are heavy users of Spanish language magazines and TV, while most acculturated Hispanic consumers are not. Targeted advertising, marketing, and merchandising plans are required to effectively reach each sub-segment.
-- Heavily purchased categories among Hispanic consumers offer strong upside potential for both manufacturers and retailers. Hispanic consumers are a particularly strong target market for baby care, beauty care, laundry care, and food and beverages that are youth-oriented, offer specific health benefits (eg. low sugar, high fiber), or are an ingredient or component of ethnic meals. Hispanic market development strategies should be considered a high priority among manufacturers within these segments, and these products should feature prominently in retailer strategies to attract and retain Hispanic consumers.
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