Market Research in a Multicultural World

Filed Under: Best Practices, Market Research, Hispanic / Latino


Brenda Hurley

Executive Vice President, C+R Alum

Hispanics make up 17% of the total US population. They are responsible for the highest percentage growth of the U.S. population, and that growth is coming from births–not immigration. What does that mean? It means younger populations have even higher percentages of Hispanics (and are more ethnically diverse overall) and these Hispanic consumers will be mostly Bicultural.

If your audience is Millennial consumers, Hispanics make up more than 20% of that target group. One out of every 5 Millennials is Hispanic. That’s significant. And, if you’re looking at even younger Hispanics, like school-age children, that number goes up to 1 in 4 kids being Hispanic.

This should be old news to everyone. Most marketers already understand the importance of including Hispanics in their marketing and advertising campaigns, but many struggle with what that means. Do you need Spanish language in your advertising and/or on packaging? How does Hispanic culture impact and interact within your product category? And, how can you truly tap into this dynamic and powerful consumer segment? Marketing research is a great place to start, but budgets are tight and often don’t allow for Hispanic-specific research projects. But, that’s ok.

We’re living in a multicultural world, and we need to start researching it that way. Gen Pop samples can no longer contain ‘some African-American and some Hispanic’ as they so often have in the past. For too long, researchers have not put enough importance on truly representing ethnic segments in their research, and we’ve moved past a time when that’s acceptable.

So, whether doing qualitative or quantitative research, it’s important to represent your Hispanic consumers. If your quantitative survey isn’t large enough for a readable sample, augment or boost the sample among Hispanics so you can look at them separately. Doing this at the time of your Gen Pop research allows for significant cost efficiencies.

To truly represent your Hispanic consumers, you need to understand how diverse this population segment is. It’s not one homogenous group that should be clustered all together. They come from a variety of backgrounds, different acculturation levels, household make-ups, etc. This is why it’s essential to use experienced Hispanic researchers with expertise in this population segment. We can help you identify who to include in your research sample, where to find them, and how to interpret the results. Including Unacculturated and Bicultural Hispanics in your research will give you a clearer picture of this segment. Oftentimes we choose to focus on the Bicultural segment as it is the largest of the Hispanic population. And, while they typically speak, read and write English, they are still culturally different, and if you don’t understand and appreciate that, well, you may be wasting your time and money.

“We are a family that is more Hispanic than American in our customs and preferences, but we’re conscientious that we live in the US, that our daughters are American and that as they grow up the American culture will be an even greater part of our daily lives and we won’t try to resist it, because there are so many good things about this culture that we can learn from, while also maintaining the important values that we have from our Hispanic upbringing.” ~Bicultural Hispanic Mom

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