How U.S. Hispanic spending behaviors defy stereotypes

A study by LLYC shows consumers are more likely to shop online and prioritize certain categories than expected.

Hispanic families are banking online more than their white counterparts. (Photo credit: Getty Images).
Hispanic families are banking online more than their white counterparts. (Photo credit: Getty Images).

NEW YORK: U.S. Hispanics are tech-savvy, consume English-language content and defy stereotypical spending expectations, according to a study conducted by agency LLYC and consultancy Expeditions Strategies. 

The study, conducted from April through October, used LLYC’s Big Data Analytics Suite, a quantitative study and market research to cross-examine an Expedition survey of 1,000 Hispanic consumers in the U.S. to determine their spending habits, behaviors and preferences. 

LLYC analyzed nearly 20.2 million public conversations in Spanish and English in six cities that contain the highest population of U.S. Hispanics: Miami, Los Angeles, Houston, New York, Phoenix and Chicago. 

Hispanics are online more than others 

According to the study, U.S. Hispanic consumers use the internet to shop, get informed and manage finances at higher rates than other groups. 

Per the results, Hispanic consumers are the group most likely to do their everyday banking online, followed by their white counterparts. In both the survey and the organic posts analyzed, U.S. Hispanics named Chase (29%), Bank of America (28%), Wells Fargo (22%) and Capital One (11%) as their top online banking brands to keep track of their purchases, transfer money and manage finances. 

Of their favorite online stores, Amazon ranked the highest among Hispanics (53%), followed by Walmart (10%) and Target (4%).

According to the study’s data analysis, 21.7% of Hispanics also say food is their most frequent online purchase, and at least one-third of their online shopping baskets contain organic and natural products. Hispanic consumers also stream video on either smartphones or tablets at a rate 10% higher than non-Hispanic consumers, with YouTube ranking the highest among preferred sources of information (38.8%). 

The research shows Hispanics are more technologically savvy and likely to do online transactions than previously expected, said Juan Felipe Muñoz, CEO of LLYC U.S.A.

“There’s a preconceived notion [that Hispanics] do a lot [of their transactions] with cash. But in fact, especially the younger they are, the more keen they are to use credit [or debit] cards,” he said. “It's interesting to see how much they are part of the financial system, not aside from it.” 

Hispanics prioritize personal style  

The research also shows that U.S. Hispanics are embracing their personal style. 

For instance, according to the study, 41% of U.S. Hispanics named articles related to their appearances, such as clothes, shoes and accessories as their favorite recent purchase, accounting for more than 25% of all buying visits on digital platforms. Main motivators for purchasing in the category include upgrading or replacing an item (13%), needing it for an unspecified reason (11%) or simply wanting it (9%). 

In the automotive category, U.S. Hispanics also said they prefer SUVs and sedans to best reflect their styles (more than 50%), as opposed to trucks (5%), previously thought to be the most popular vehicle among Hispanics. 

Meanwhile, food and groceries were the second-favorite recent purchase, according to both the survey and 21.7% of the organic digital conversation, with the highest visited brick-and-mortar stores being HEB, Publix, Aldi, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. 

The findings contrast with previous expectations that price or practicality would reign supreme, said Pete Brodnitz, founder and president of Expedition Strategies.

“My mind was blown when I saw [these results],” he said. 

The study suggests corporations should seek a deeper understanding of the Hispanic customer base to be more strategic in their marketing approach. 

“Brands that have specific U.S. Hispanic campaigns are the ones that likely have created or entrenched a lot of the stereotypes that we might have, which are not as accurate,” Alvarez said. “But [Hispanics] are a very dynamic group and there are a lot of new things that we need to know about this demographic.” 

He noted brands should instead think of Hispanics much like the general population: while cultural relevance is key, spending habits are not as different. 

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