Brands Shouldn't Ignore the Latino Consumer Anymore

A credit card on top of a keyboard of a non-English-speaking consumer

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According to the Pew Research Center, the Latino population has swelled to over 62.5 million in the United States. In fact, it’s the largest growing demographic and expects an even larger boon in the next decade. The U.S. population grew by 23.1 million from 2010 to 2021, and Hispanics accounted for 52% of this increase – a greater share than any other racial or ethnic group. These include people from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Columbia, and Honduras. With Hispanic Heritage Month in full swing (September 15th through October 15th), it’s imperative that brands understand the size and buying power of what has traditionally been an underrepresented demographic.  

In 2021, 72% of Latinos ages five and older spoke English proficiently, up from 59% in 2000. U.S.-born Latinos are driving this growth, as their share on this measure has grown from 81% to 91% during the same period. By comparison, 37% of Latino immigrants spoke English proficiently in 2021, a percentage that has increased only somewhat since 2000. All told, 41.7 million Latinos in the U.S. spoke English proficiently in 2021. 

What does that mean for your brand?  

Ignoring an entire demographic will cost you revenue and brand affinity.  

In a new report by Ad Age, the proportion of Latinos who believe that big brands truly represent their values has decreased to 45% (compared to 54% in 2018). With total buying power exceeding $2 trillion, any brand would be insane not to consider Spanish-speaking buyers in their marketing and product ideation. 83% of Hispanic buyers are more likely to be customers if they perceive a positive role the brand is making in their communities and through their marketing material.  

Here's how your brand can be more culturally inclusive to the Hispanic community.  

  1. Hire them! Whether they’re US-born and fluent in English or immigrants who speak Spanish as their first language, the Hispanic population in the US brings diverse ideas and innovation. They have the power to expand your brand internationally by truly understanding what the 460 million Spanish-speaking people in the world want, value, and what they’re willing to spend their money on. If English isn’t a candidate or employee’s first language, offering them English language tutoring can help them communicate their ideas effectively with colleagues and leadership.  
  2. Translate your marketing material. Every marketing leader knows the importance of attracting new customers, and with such overwhelming data about the buying power of Latinos, dismissing their native language is a huge missed opportunity.  Translate your website, social content, and even billboards to show that your brand understands and speaks directly to them. According to data from RWS, 82% of consumers say they wouldn’t purchase a major consumer brand if they didn’t offer language support. Include translation and interpretation services in live chat, customer service calls, and marketing material, and show Latino buyers that you speak their language (literally and figuratively).  
  3. Celebrate cultural diversity sincerely. Cinco de Mayo is not the time for white leaders to don a fake mustache and sombrero. Having a Latino voice in the room during internal team-building and HR initiative planning ensures that their culture doesn’t become a costume. Hispanic employees should have the final say on any internal or external campaigns that encourage diversity before they are released to the public. White, American, English-speaking leaders should encourage employee conversations about the importance and significance of cultural symbols, garments, and celebrations so they’re done respectfully and are culturally accurate.  

Non-English-speaking customers are the future of commerce. The population of non-English-speaking consumers is growing, so not having a plan to capture their attention (and money) is bad business. Invest in translation, hiring, and interpretation services, and watch your brand grow alongside a diverse population.  

Let's chat if you’re interested in learning more about how Global LT can support your brand in new customer acquisition through translation, interpretation, and language lessons. We’ve been the leading language services provider for over 40 years, and we can teach or translate any language anywhere in the world. 

This blog post was written by Patricia Diaz, VP of Marketing.

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