If you feel overwhelmed by how to target a global market of 7.1 billion people, you are not alone. The challenge can seem daunting. One place to start is the “international” market right here in the US.
I often encounter people with products, programs or books. One of my first questions for them is, “Do you have that available in Spanish?” The usual reply is a befuddled, questioning look. Most have never considered selling outside of the English-speaking US market. That oversight can cause you to miss a very big boat. With a huge Spanish-speaking population right here in the US, we also have a multitude of services and support that can help you reach them … without your facing some stressesand fears of truly going “global.”
Stats and Growth
In 2012, the US had approximately 50 million Hispanics, an increase of almost 50% over 2002. In addition, around 10-11 million more are living here undocumented. One in six US adults is Hispanic and Hispanics have a collective buying power $1.3 trillion annually.
Univision Hispanic Insight1 states that, “Companies have recognized that 100 percent of the US population growth in the next ten years will come from Hispanics.” Why wouldn’t you try to connect with them? With the worldwide spread of the Internet, reaching the US Hispanic population has the potential benefit of also targeting the other 270 million Spanish-speakers worldwide. So expanding your business to US Hispanics can be an intermediate step to far larger international sales.
In many ways, Hispanics in the US exemplify the stereotypical American household of the 1950s. They often live in large, traditional, married-with-children families that receive lots of help from the grandparents. They eat family meals at home; spend a higher percentage of their income on food, clothing and household items; and spend less money on alcohol and restaurants2. As a group they tend to be younger, with a median age similar to where the US was in 1955. They tend to have high aspirations for their children and are community-oriented, with increasing numbers moving to the suburbs.
Yet this traditionalism also keeps pace with current trends. More than 90% of Hispanic children in the US were born here, and being raised here means they are incorporating increasing aspects of American culture. In general, Hispanics have been earlier adopters of mobile technology and over 39 million Hispanics are online. While the majority of tech-savvy American Hispanics speak English and prefer to communicate that way, about 30% surf the web in Spanish or bi-lingually. They tend to use their mobile technology for making phone calls, texting and web-surfing, and are prone to consult online with friends before they make a purchase.
Hispanic Buyer Loyalty
Marketers often talk about the fabled fierce brand loyalty of the Hispanic shoppers. Nielsen’s HomeScan study1 found that 70% of Spanish-dominant households stick with a brand they like and will not shop around, regardless of advertisers’ sales and specials. Perhaps because of an immigrant trait, Hispanics are more than twice as likely to ask friends and family for input before they make a purchase. A stranger in a strange land asks his friends how to manage in the new country. The stranger then sticks with what is comfortable and of good quality rather than having to ask again.
Today’s Hispanic market is dominantly US-born and is communicating in English or bi-lingually. This might lead you to believe that you can stick with your English advertising and pull the Hispanic market to you. Think again.
According to the Raslow Study3, Spanish-language advertising is three times more effective among bi-linguals than English only. It benefits all businesses to build brand loyalty and it is only common sense to think that loyalty is more likely to be inspired in a market that you have tried to reach using their own language and culture.
Many of the customers you could reach with English advertising are more comfortable when your ads, your website, your videos, your DVDs, your e-books and your mobile apps are understood by all of their friends and relations. Using a professional language localization service – not error-prone translation software – can help you reach that goal.