Hispanic Population Has Strong Buying Power
The Hispanic or Latino population is growing faster than any other ethic group in the US and has strong buying power, but how does this demographic differ from the rest of the population?
PAMELA DAVIS: Joining us on Morning Edition is Walter Meneses, President of Meneses Research & Associates. Walter, you've been tracking these trends for decades -- how has it changed over the past 10 or 15 years?
WALTER MENESES: It's a very dynamic segment, and right now the estimation is over 55 million self-identified Hispanic Latinos, and it's growing, faster and faster all the time, and basically for two main reasons. One, immigration, and the second is birth. Hispanic Latinos tend to have more babies; the average number of people per household is about 4.1, versus 2.1 among the general population.
DAVIS: How would you characterize the buying power of this population?
MENESES: Huge, it's reaching over one trillion dollars at this point.
DWANE BROWN: It's said that one out of every three Californians are either Hispanic or Latino, can you elaborate on their buying power here?
MENESES: One is by the number of people in California. An example is San Diego has 3,000,200 people in general, and Hispanic Latinos are very close to one million. And in San Diego, one of every two new babies born are from Hispanic Latino families.
DAVIS: Who does the buying in these families?
MENESES: Well, it's a very interesting question, and also a little complex because it depends on the category. If you are going to target cellphones, high tech -- well, you need to target the young Hispanic Latino who is a very heavy consumer of social media. If you want to target household products, that the female head of household has to use, then your demographic has to shift and change, perhaps with more Spanish-language dependence. If you want to approach, to communicate or advertise in Spanish. The complexity is basically on the levels of acculturation and assimilation of the new immigrants when they are coming and embracing the American culture. But the unique part of Hispanic Latinos is they don't leave their culture, they come with their culture, their language, their beliefs, their food.
BROWN: So how does San Diego's market differ say, from the rest of California, considering our proximity to the border?
MENESES: Forty-seven percent of Hispanic Latinos living in San Diego have family ties with Baja California. That's one of the reasons that we have the heaviest border crossing in the world. Whatever's happening in Tijuana will reflect in San Diego and vice versa. One example was after 9/11, when everybody kind of kept quiet, don't move, stay where you are, the businesses in the border, they suffered very hard. It was a very significant impact.
DAVIS: How has the recession affected these consumers? And how have these consumers affected the economy?
MENESES: The Hispanic consumer, or the Hispanic worker, is no different from any other in the general market. As we know, we will say that approximately 45, 47 percent of Hispanic Latinos, they tend to work in the blue collar area, service areas, and the same will be impacted as anybody else in the economy. So the impact is very proportional, like everybody else.
BROWN: What role do you see the US Census playing as it relates to the Hispanic market?
MENESES: This is going to bring a lot of good information and hopefully, you know, the Census, if it's done correctly and at least most, or the majority of Hispanic Latinos will be counted, will be very surprised numbers, and my guess is it's going to be over in the 55, 57 million.
DAVIS: And that is Walter Menases, President of Meneses Research & Associates.