Hispanic shoppers are a different sell

September 21, 2010

It takes authenticity for food retailers and brands to truly connect with Hispanic shoppers


It takes authenticity for food retailers and brands to truly connect with Hispanic shoppers, who are likelier than general market shoppers to switch brands. Let that sink in for a moment. Significantly more Hispanic shoppers – one of the largest and fastest-growing population groups in the United States – perceive less quality difference between name brands and private labels, and this view is strongest at higher household income levels of $75,000 and above, finds a new study underway by The Integer Group and M/A/R/C Research.

Hispanic shoppers demonstrate their search for value by often ignoring in-store marketing messages. “They are less likely to use in-store tools than the general market. When it comes to shopping aids, Hispanics appear less responsive to in-store messaging than non-Hispanics with neither messaging at-shelf, nor in-store TV being cited as tools that help make a purchasing decision,” said the conductors of the research cited in The Checkout, their recent newsletter.

So what does it take to ring true with Hispanic shoppers? “Brands must be deep-rooted in the more meaningful insights that distinguish Hispanic communication from general market communication, especially during key shopping events,” observed Martin Ferro, senior planner for Velocidad, an Hispanic promotional, retail and shopper marketing division of Integer.

One of the researchers’ key insights relates specifically to seasonal shopping events in June (Summer), September (Back to School) and November (Holiday):  While general market shoppers largely seek the best deals at these times, the Hispanic shopper veers in a different direction. Data suggest more “concern for family satisfaction” and “one-stop shopping,” and less on “saving money….Hispanic shoppers seek approval from their kids and family members over purchasing the cheapest item.”

Some good news for retailers and brands that keep it ‘real’ with this vast group of consumers:  Among those that reported no change in their shopping behavior this year (due to the economy), 67% stick with their brand of choice, even if another brand is cheaper, noted M/A/R/C Research executive fice president Randy Wahl. 

If these findings feel like a splash of cold water to many marketers, The Lempert Report suggests that stores and brands recalibrate their product development, pricing and positioning strategies for Hispanic shoppers, long before any in-store promotional messages are put into play.