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Nielsen Unveils Multicultural ‘Super Consumer’ Report

With multicultural consumer spending in the United States having reached $3.4 trillion, multicultural shoppers have become “super consumers” who are having a tremendous impact on the U.S. mainstream, finds Nielsen’s new report, "The Multicultural Edge: Rising Super Consumers."

The research, which will be presented at the 2015 Multicultural Retail 360 Conference, slated for Aug. 12-14 in Anaheim, Calif., identifies multicultural shoppers as the most dynamic and rapidly growing segment of the U.S. consumer economy. This new report is part of a multi-cultural series that focuses on the attitudes and shopping habits of Latinos, African Americas and Asians.

“The unprecedented influence of multicultural consumers on the behaviour of non-multicultural shoppers is upending outdated assumptions and enlarging and expanding the multicultural market opportunity, which may be the key to the future,” said Monica Gil, SVP and general manager of multicultural growth and strategy, Nielsen.

The report identifies multicultural “Super Consumers.” They are the top 10 percent of households who drive at least 30 percent of sales, 40 percent of growth and 50 percent of profits in all categories. By understanding the cultural essence that powers ethnic Super Shopper activities, marketers and advertisers can better understand future trends.

The New Mainstream

Younger and in their prime, multicultural consumers already comprise as much as 38 percent of the American population. Expected to become the numerical majority by 2044, 21 of the top 25 most-populated counties in the U.S. are already more than 50 percent multicultural. Knowing the ethnic appeal of a brand is critical to marketers, since ethnic populations can vary widely even within metro areas. The combination of majority multicultural geographies and high levels of inter-ethnic proximity intensify the need for multicultural marketing.

Multicultural consumers make up a disproportionate market share of many categories, including dairy, baby food and diapers, laundry supplies and detergents, school supplies and other everyday products. Of 126 grocery store categories studied, 45 categories (36 percent) over index in their total rate of spending for all multicultural segments compared to non-multiculturals. These behaviors show behavioral traits intrinsic to specific cultures.

The findings show Asian Americans are more likely to eat organic foods (29 percent), while cultural identity is particularly important to African- Americans (78 percent) and Hispanics (71 percent). Social causes are also very meaningful to Hispanics at 43 percent.

Multicultural Super Consumers can heavily influence non-multicultural shoppers in “Super Geo” areas—places with a higher concentration of Super Consumers. Proximity to other cultures and the sharing of cultural influences, attitudes and behaviors in Super Geo clusters intensifies the multicultural opportunity. Despite the cultural sharing in the U.S. today, it's critical to understand the nuances and preferences of each consumer.

Culturally Driven Behaviors 

Multicultural consumers take on an “ambicultural” identity. This ability and willingness to function competently in two cultures allows many of them to maintain their heritage while viewing themselves as equally American. These shoppers are drawn to brands, products and activities that reinforce their roots. Their behaviors are impacting the purchasing patterns of non-multicultural consumers as well. 

For example, while multicultural consumers represent 53 percent of hot sauce Super Consumers, the category has become a mainstream condiment. The same is true of sushi, tacos, pizza and other once-ethnic foods that have become as ubiquitous as apple pie and hot dogs. The traditions, attitudes and shopping behaviors of multiculturals are broadening the multicultural market opportunity.

These Super Consumer categories have already experienced the future where many categories are likely to follow. Understanding how purchase behaviors are driven by multicultural consumer values, lifestyles, tastes and preferences is the key to total market growth.

To download a copy of the full report, please visit

In addition to the Nielsen research presentation, the 2015 Multicultural Retail 360 Summit will feature guest speakers from leading retailers, including Walmart, Kroger, Walgreens, Brookshire’s and more, discussing best practices for engaging and growing your business with Hispanic, Asian-American, African-American and other multicultural consumers in the U.S. For more information on the conference, go to

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