Hispanic Acculturation And Its Impact On The Path To Purchase

By Marissa Romero-Martin, President/Chief Insights Officer And Lluvia Carrillo, Qualitative Group Manager, Senior Moderator & Facilitator

There is growing interest to understand U.S. Hispanic shoppers within their cultural context while uncovering what drives their decisions. The Hispanic population is growing exponentially, but it is also transforming into various shades of acculturation. To obtain a deeper understanding of the U.S. Hispanic shopper, retailers and brands must recognize that segmenting Hispanics on the basis of language and demographics is ineffective because it does not account for the distinct value systems and cultural identities that shape the U.S. Hispanic mindset.

Culturati Research & Consulting, Inc. developed an attitude and values-based U.S. Hispanic segmentation model allowing marketers to maximize their Hispanic marketing investments by developing strategies to target these segments. A new collaboration with Nielsen (the Nielsen-Culturati Hispanic Segmentation) combines the power of Nielsen’s Homescan Panel data with Culturati’s attitudes and values-based U.S. Hispanic segmentation model.

Leveraging the segmentation model and additional quantitative and qualitative shopper insights, Culturati developed a framework enabling advanced understanding of the Hispanic shopper by looking beyond the numbers to reveal the values and cultural mindset that drive behavior.

The segments identified include:

Culturally Hispanic (Latinistas) – Driven by a traditional value system and Hispanic-centered cultural mindset; the least focused on blending cultures.

Bicultural Hispanics (Heritage Keepers and Savvy Blenders) – More progressive than Culturally Hispanics and more culturally diverse. Most Heritage Keepers are first-generation Hispanics, prefer to speak in Spanish, and are focused on preserving their heritage. Savvy Blenders are bilingual and are focused on preserving their heritage and blending cultures.

Culturally American (Ameri-Fans) – Take most of their values from American culture and have a significantly diluted Hispanic cultural connection. The majority prefers to speak in English.

Path-To-Purchase Snapshot

Culturati took an in-depth look at the Hispanic segments along with a Non-Hispanic benchmark sample to uncover insights that represent opportunities for brands and retailers. The result was a Path to Purchase model that reveals how cultural mindset and value system impact shopper behavior. The category purchase behaviors can be tracked by the Nielsen-Culturati Segmented Household Panel data and brought down to the store level through Nielsen Spectra data.

Culturally Hispanic (Latinistas) believe shopping is a form of relaxation and personal reward for their hard work. They are the most likely to buy on impulse but are also the most loyal of all segments. They look for Hispanic brands because they “feel” familiar and are the segment that spends more at Hispanic tailored stores, because they value a comfortable Hispanic environment. To be considered, retailers need to offer the right cuts of meats, fresh produce and Hispanic brands that they use.

70 percent – Always buy the same brands they know and trust

77 percent – Seek out stores that sell Hispanic products

Bicultural Hispanics value authenticity, are open-minded and less risk-averse than Culturally Hispanic shoppers, but differences exist between the two bicultural segments.

Heritage Keepers are deliberate in what they take from Hispanic and American cultures and are intent on preserving their heritage. They value social connections and warmth and appreciate store environments that allow them to connect with other shoppers and the store/retailer. Therefore, they are the segment that spends the most at Club stores. They do not necessarily feel that Hispanic or American brands are better; they pick the best of each and shop at multiple retailers to find them.

59 percent – Always buy the same brands they know and trust

60 percent – Seek out stores that sell Hispanic products

Savvy Blenders are the least brand loyal of all Hispanics. They look for new experiences, and if they choose an ethnic product (not only Hispanic) it has to be authentic. They also seek an efficient shopping experience and are the most diverse in how they choose to spend their dollars. They shop at multiple retail channels and are most likely to shop at specialty grocery.

51 percent – Always buy the same brands they know and trust

37 percent – Seek out stores that sell Hispanic products

Culturally American (Ameri-Fans) shoppers are the most similar to Non-Hispanics in their independent nature, practical and price-focused mindset. They value efficiency, so they tend to spend most of their dollars at mainstream grocery and are the least likely to shop at Hispanic stores because they are not looking to connect with the Hispanic culture.

59 percent – Agree price is more important than brand names

17 percent – Seek out stores that sell Hispanic products