The US Hispanic market is on fire, as the demographic keeps growing it has become the most important consumer opportunity today. Every brand should consider connecting to latinos but not everyone knows how to. There are many misconceptions about how to segment the US Hispanic community with much talk about acculturation levels. However, the Hispanic community is very diverse within itself and it has many more layers than it would appear. Such is the case with the elusive upscale latino segment.
The often mis-targeted upscale latino segment is spending $500B annually, and contribute nearly 40 percent of the $1.5 trillion Hispanic spending power, as reported by Nielsen. The upscale latino has a very different mentality than their Hispanic counterparts. Historically, there has been large socio-economic differences in latin America, that are still deeply ingrained today. There is a very interesting essay written by Simon Bolivar, widely known as "The Liberator", and regarded as the leader of the Latin American Wars of Independence. His essay, written in 1815, explains that when Spaniards appeared in the new world, the natives considered them as a superior species, due to fear of their force and because the natives saw the Spaniards as divine messengers of sorts. The old beliefs are still somewhat present in the modern era, and can be seen through a need to acquire and defend a high standing status. Research by Nielsen has shown that this segment is more likely to be luxury seekers, compared to upscale non-Hispanics, which would confirm the need to protect status.
Members of the upscale latino segment often enjoy a privileged lifestyle in their native countries and are seen in positions of power, they have a tendency to operate within closed inner circles. However, across all luxury segments, about 60% have strong ties to the latino culture, and 30%-40% voice a strong cultural duality (Nielsen). The research also showed that upscale latinos share similarities with upscale non-Hispanics, yet maintain their uniqueness . This finding would explain why the number one top-recalled ads in Spanish-language magazines was a straight translation of an English-language ad featuring the same (very American-looking model). The conflicting findings suggests that brands seeking to connect to the upscale latino demographic must take on a different strategy than the old tried and true, and seek to make connections with this segment in a deeper more meaningful level.
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