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Immigration…Marketers, Pay Attention!

I’m fascinated with the role immigration and cultural trends will play in shaping consumer behavior and changing the framework for brand development. Early in my career in advertising and marketing, immigration was not a buzzword and marketers didn’t pay a lot of attention to changes in the country’s ethnic composition and growing ethnic diversity.

That has changed as the United States is in the midst of a profound demographic transformation, as new Americans will replenish our aging population and slowed labor force growth over the next ten years.

According to the American Immigration Council, there will be a growing demand within our economy for younger workers and taxpayers. More and more of these workers and taxpayers will be immigrants and the children of immigrants.

Currently, two-fifths of the population growth in the United States is derived from immigration and immigrants are younger on average than the native-born population. In addition, birth rates among immigrant communities are generally higher, so they represent a large share of the next generation of workers in this country. It is this combination of continued immigration and high fertility that explains the rapidly rising number of young Latinos in the U.S. population and labor force.

The U.S. Hispanic population is now estimated at 52 million (16.7 percent) and is the nation’s largest ethnic or race minority, as identified by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Here are a few more characteristics of note and relevance for advertisers and marketers:

· Hispanics are projected to represent 30% of the U.S. population in the year 2050

· The Hispanic labor force grew by 53% between 2000 and 2010, the largest increase of any segment

· By 2015, 1 in 3 newborns will be Latino

· Hispanic kids currently make up 23% of the 17 and under U.S. population

· Nearly one in seven U.S. Hispanics are Millennials, ages 20 to 33

· U.S. Hispanic purchasing power is expected to reach $1.2 trillion in 2015, growing faster than the buying power of African-Americans, Native Americans and Asians

To help brands connect with Hispanic consumers, marketers need to realize the following:

· Hispanics are one of the most diverse ethnic groups in the U.S. and need to be marketed to with different marketing strategies to reach moms, singles, the youth market and the affluent.

· While the Hispanic population has a major presence in large U.S. cities, much Hispanic population growth is in suburban and exurban regions and smaller cities.

· The upscale Hispanic household is one of the fastest growing Latino segments and has doubled in size in the last decade to approximately 3 million.

· There’s more to reaching Hispanic consumers than just Spanish-language campaigns and Hispanic marketers will need to reach the growing U.S. born Hispanics who are English-dominant and the future of the American Hispanic population.

· For Hispanic consumers, purchases often extend beyond the individual and may be influenced by its impact on the family and the community.

In summary, Hispanics have buying power and trend-setting influence, and forward-thinking marketers and advertisers need to recognize the importance of Hispanics as an economic and business development engine now and in the future.

Sources: Adweek, Forbes, AHAA, U.S. Census Bureau