We all know the Hispanic and Latino population is rapidly growing, projected to become 30% of the American population by 2050, making it the fastest growing ethnic group.
The Hispanic market is definitely an enticing one for many brands. In only two years’ time, they are projected to have a $1.6 trillion purchasing power. They are remarkably brand loyal. They’re highly active on several social networks, having a tendency to pass along ads to others they know. American Latinos influence their non-Latino neighbors in many areas including food, technology and music. They even pay their bills at a much higher rate than the general market.
Many brands translate their ads in Spanish in an attempt to capture the Hispanic market. This might have worked in the 80’s when the Hispanic community was a largely immigrant audience, but the 2013 Hispanic market is truly American-born, speaking English proficiently and identifying as Americans.
Does this mean brands should stop advertising in Spanish?
Research shows that over half of Spanish-dominant Hispanics will agree that “When I hear a company advertise in Spanish, it makes me feel like they respect my heritage and want my business.” They are also much more loyal to a company that they perceive to appreciate their culture by advertising in Spanish.
However, the key word here is ‘Spanish-dominant.’ In the same study, these numbers drop in half for English-speaking Hispanics. And those are the future of the of Hispanic market and the ones that should be accommodated for a lasting brand loyalty.
A Pew Research study published in July of this year pointed to the slowing of immigration as the main reason why half of Hispanic adults are proficient in English. Most importantly, the study shows this number will only increase: every year close to one million US born-Latinos enter adulthood, adults who are second- and third- generation Americans.
As the share of Hispanics who speak Spanish falls, the share that speaks only English at home is expected to rise. According to a 2011 census paper, about a third of Hispanics will speak only English at home by 2020.
So is advertising in Spanish soon to become archaic? It depends on future immigration numbers. The trend is slower migration from Spanish-speaking countries. This means the Hispanic and Latino population will likely take a similar path in decline of native language use that Italian, German and Polish immigrants took with their own languages not too long ago. But at the same time that new Hispanic generations are increasingly consuming media in only English 95% of adults – including American-born – believe it is important that future generations speak Spanish.