The Hispanic Subculture

Demographic Characteristics:

The Hispanic market differs from other ethnic segments and mainstream America in that it is continually infused with new immigrants from the Spanish speaking world. The old country is never far away, either symbolically or geographically. This group also clings tenaciously to the Spanish language, the Catholic Church and the family unit, and it generally defies the melting pot concept. Many Hispanics although they like the idea of living in America want to keep their culture and language. For example, almost half consider themselves Hispanic first, American second. Of the remainder almost all say Hispanic and American equally.

This market consists of approximately 20 million people or 8 percent of the population. This segment should number 30 million by 2000 and early 39 million by 2010. A large portion of this market’s growth comes from immigration. More than six in ten Hispanic-American adults were born outside the United States.

The US Hispanic population is largely of Mexican origin (63 percent of the total) with Puerto Ricans (13 percent) and Cubans (6 percent) comprising the other significant categories of origin.

Location: The Spanish subculture is largely an urban population segment and is concentrated heavily in comparatively few metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, New York and Miami. Five states – Texas, California, New York, Illinois and Florida account for about three out of four Hispanics.

Income and Employment: Hispanic buying power approaches $ 170 billion, but the income level of Hispanics is significantly lower than for non-Hispanics. The median income for Hispanic households is approximately 70 percent of that for white households generally.

Occupations of men of Hispanic origin are predominantly blue collar in nature. Approximately 58 percent of Hispanic men are blue collar workers, while only 24 percent work at white collar occupations.

Education: Hispanics generally attain a slightly lower level of education than do blacks and other non-Hispanics. Among Hispanic people 25 to 29 years of age, approximately 57 percent completed high school as compared to more than 87 percent of persons of non-Hispanic origin.

Family and Age: Hispanic families are, on the average larger than non Hispanic families with the mean number of persons in the Spanish origin family being 3.8 as compared to 3.1 for non-Spanish origin families. The family unit also appears to be stronger than does the family unit for non-Hispanics. However, 20 percent of Hispanics live in families headed by women with no husband present.

The Hispanic market is a much younger market than is the non-Hispanic market. The median age for Hispanic is 23 with approximately 60 percent of Hispanics falling between the ages of 18 and 34 compared to 40 percent for the non-Spanish origin population.

Psychographic Characteristics:

In spite of the background migration and socio economic differences among the Hispanic nationality subgroups there is a great degree of homogeneity in their lifestyle patterns. In comparison with others some interesting results show up.

One indicated psychographic consumer segmentation study has identified four Hispanic consumer clusters hopeful loyalists. The first two segments are primarily foreign born and the later two are primarily US born Hispanics. Compared to the general market, US born Hispanics tend to be more committed to traditional middle class value and not as fatalistic as foreign born Hispanics. Foreign born Hispanics have more in common with each other – no matter how long they’ve been in the United States – than they have with US born Hispanics.

Consumer Behavior and Marketing Implications:

More and more companies are recognizing the importance of the Hispanic Americans market. In this article several of the marketing mix variables will be examined to understand the major implications of Spanish American consumer behavior on these decision areas.

Product purchase Patterns: The marketer should be aware that the Hispanic market is highly individualistic in its product and brand preferences, which are often reflective of cultural differences. For some products particularly food purchases, this market is very significant. Partly because of their larger than average families they spend more per week on food purchases then do other groups and they are very price sensitive. In addition more Hispanic households visit fast food restaurants frequently than do non-Hispanic consumers. They are also much heavier consumers of beverages such as soft drinks and beer.