The Hispanic American Consumer

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The Hispanic American Consumer

The Hispanic American Consumer

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The Hispanic American Consumer


Historically, retailers have placed the majority of their marketing strategies and advertising on the Anglo-American consumer (Herbig & Yelkur, 1998). Even when businesses finally began to recognize that minority markets were in fact viable, marketers and retailers treated these ethnic groups in a similar fashion as Anglo-Americans. Successful marketing campaigns merely had their language and personalities altered for the intended ethnic market that companies were trying to reach. Marketing strategies aimed at the Hispanic consumer consisted of little more than translating commercials and print into Spanish. It was a common practice to simply treat ethnic markets as extensions of the Anglo-American market (Herbig & Yelkur, 1997). The idea was that of mass marketing, which treated the marketplace as one homogenous group. The melting pot theory of assimilation was the foundation of the mass marketing concept. Through assimilation, it was believed that ethnic groups would ultimately blend in with the Anglo-American way of life, thus becoming part of the mass market (Berman, 1991).

Today marketers are focusing in a different direction through a concept known as “demassification.” Demassification is the marketers' response to an ever-diverse America (Berman, 1991). The shift is towards recognition of the importance in changing the retail mix and marketing strategies to better meet the needs and wants of minority markets (Doocey, 1993). Through the demassification process target markets are defined through characteristics such as age, sex, socioeconomic levels, and/or ethnicity (Berman, 1991).

The reason for this change includes the fact that the white majority has been experiencing a steady reduction in population percentage. Researchers determined through the 2000 Census that whites were the majority in 52 of the 100 largest U.S. cities, down from 71 of the top 100 U.S. cities in 1990. At the same time, the number of ethnic minorities continues to rise dramatically (Phillips, 1997). For example, California is experiencing a significant change in its ethnic composition. Hispanic-Americans, Asians, and African-Americans now exceed 50% of the population in that state (Gitlin, 2000). Also, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Hispanic-Americans will be the largest minority in the United States by the year 2005 (Lannert, 1999).

The Hispanic-American market has received much attention from marketers in recent years. With its extensive growth, this ethnic market is making it necessary for companies to offer an assortment of products and services that will appeal to Hispanic-Americans (Herbig and Yelkur, 1997). The Hispanic population accounts for approximately 13% of the U.S. population, or just over 35 million people (Cassidy, 2001). The 2000 Census reported a 58% increase in the Hispanic population over the 1990 Census. The numbers indicate that Hispanic-Americans are on the verge of becoming the nation's largest minority group, surpassing African-Americans (Barone, Tharp, & Brenna, 2001).

The growing Hispanic population is due to several factors. Hispanic women have the highest fertility rate among all ethnic groups. They average about 3 births each compared to ...
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