Hispanic urban youth market and how to reach it, The

Hispanic urban youth market and how to reach it, The

The urban youth population is large, growing, and a lucrative marketing target. It is also the most diverse and multicultural population in the United States. Hispanics, for example, comprise 13.5% of the American population, but 17% of the US teenage population. Over the next 10 years the number of Hispanic teens will grow by 25% (from 3.3 to 4.1 million), and will by then comprise 20% of all US teens.

The Hispanic youth population is clustered in the metropolitan areas of 10 states: California, Texas, New York, New Jersey, Florida, Illinois, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada. Hispanics under the age of 20 number more than 12 million, or 38% of the total US Hispanic population. They comprise 58% of all youth in Los Angeles today, but will account for 80% within a few short years.

What’s new, different and unique about the Hispanic urban youth market? What are the trends?

* They are already minority majority.

* They are redefining multiculturalism, away from separate enclaves of ethnicity and race to a mixing, blending and blurring of distinctions.

* They are redefining what IS mainstream even as they are influenced BY the mainstream.

* They are not alienated or disenfranchised by “society.” They like money, success, getting ahead, acquiring nice stuff and technology (music, video, Internet, TV, movies, radio).

* They desire independence, autonomy and control. Most have part-time jobs and have their own money to spend.

* They respect individualism, but identify with their “tribe” – young, hip, urban, cool.

Hispanic teens live in two worlds. They embrace the American way of life, but are proud of their heritage (54% define themselves as Hispanic only). Multiculturalism is pervasive and largely embraced, but so is pride in one’s roots. Peers are a major influence, but so is family. Group identity is important, but so is individuality. And most Hispanic teens are fully bilingual.

Hispanic teens are big spenders. According to Teenage Research Unlimited they spend an average of $375 a month, 4% more than the average for non-Hispanic teens. In 2000, Hispanic teens accounted for $20 billion in consumer expenditures, or 14% of all spending by US teens.

How to reach this large, growing and lucrative market? Here are some key consumer insights, developed from recent qualitative research conducted in several urban markets by LatinWorks, a leading Hispanic market firm:

* Hispanic urban teens live in and embrace a multicultural world.

* Attitude and personality are more important than race and ethnicity.

* Hispanic urban teens believe in authenticity and in being “real.”

* Face-to-face interaction is both an urban and a cultural value.

* School is the epicenter of their social lives.

* They are influenced more at the peer level (micro) than by mass media (macro).

* Brands carry a lot of weight, used as a way to express both group identity and individuality.

* Hispanic urban teens want to be spoken to as individuals, not as members of a mass audience.

* Spanglish speaks to their dual worlds, both of which are sources of pride.

What is Spanglish? The subject of our next item!

Copyright FutureScan May 2002

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