- Latina consumers represent an opportunity that can make or break domestic sales growth over the next decade and beyond.
- Latinas feel that getting exactly the beauty products they need is more important than price, and they are much more likely to equate brands that are expensive with brands that work.
- IHS Global Insight projects Hispanics will contribute 37% of all spending growth in the personal care category in the next five years.
- Latina faces, cultural relevance and Spanish-language are all keys to connecting with this consumer and harnessing that spending power.
The recent U.S. census results have proven the Latino Explosion is very real, with the Hispanic population growing more than 40% over the past 10 years to surpass the 50 million mark. Its growth was so robust, in fact, that Hispanics accounted for more than half of the total U.S. population increase from 2000 to 2010. And that growth shows no signs of slowing down.
Over the next 10 years, Latinas 18–49 will grow by another 3.2 million while non-Hispanic women in that age group will actually decline by more than a million. Latinas—currently one of every six women 18–49 in the U.S.—will represent one of every five women in that demographic by 2020.
Those numbers are enough to get any marketer’s attention. But for beauty marketers, specifically, the Latina consumer represents an opportunity that can make or break domestic sales growth over the next decade and beyond. In addition to being a demographic force, the Latina consumer’s habits and practices in regard to personal appearance make her a veritable beauty enthusiast.
Mintel tells us that this consumer over-indexes versus non-Hispanics in average expenditure on personal care products—including cosmetics, fragrances, skin care and hair care. In an effort to better understand what was driving this disproportionate category spending, Univision, in conjunction with Roslow Research Group, conducted consumer research with Latinas across the country. Through a mix of traditional focus groups along with in-home visits, these consumers revealed insights that help explain the cultural importance of appearance while shedding light on the key drivers that influence purchase decisions.
Unlike the more general U.S. culture, which claims that beauty is only skin deep, the Latina consumer clearly says that her outer beauty is a reflection of her inner beauty. It is also clear that this emphasis on appearance was instilled from a young age by her mother. These insights were later validated by a national phone survey of both Latinas and non-Latinas conducted by Experian Simmons.
Latinas were 45% more likely to agree, “How I look on the outside projects the way I am on the inside.” Wearing makeup and looking good is essential to these consumers, more so than their non-Hispanic counterparts. Sixty-nine percent of Latinas (vs. 46% of non-Latinas) agree that, “It’s very important to wear makeup and look good.” Forty percent of Latinas (vs. 30% of non-Latinas) agree that, “I always have makeup on when I leave the house.” The research also showed Latinas were more likely to use multiple products in a typical day across skin care, hair care and cosmetics.
Given the cultural importance of looking good, it’s not surprising to hear that price is not a significant purchase consideration. In fact, Latinas were much more likely to agree that “price isn’t the most important factor—it’s getting exactly the beauty products I need” (68% of Latinas vs. 56% of non-Latinas); and they are much more likely to equate brands that are expensive with brands that work (32% of Latinas vs. 19% of non-Latinas). This willingness to spend in order to get just the right product was probably best articulated by the Latina who said, “My face has no budget.”
The rewards are clearly high for the companies and marketers who get it right with Latinas. IHS Global Insight projects Hispanics will contribute 37% of all spending growth in the personal care category over the next five years.
The great news for marketers is that the Latina consumer actually wants to hear from you. Latinas are more than twice as likely to feel that ads for beauty products are educational. But, she does expect marketers to do their part. She wants to see herself and her lifestyle reflected in advertisements: It’s an acknowledgment of her spending power as well as an indication that the product is truly for her.
At a recent industry event, Martine Reardon, executive vice president of marketing and advertising at Macy’s, shared that in more than 100 Macy’s locations, in-store visuals for Lancôme were changed to show faces and skin tones that appealed to Latina customers. The results spoke for themselves; test stores performed 600 basis points better than Macy’s overall sales trends.
Latinas also want to learn about products in her own language; this motivates her to buy. Fifty-one percent of Latinas agree that a Spanish-language TV commercial would entice her to buy a new beauty product vs. 16% of non-Hispanics with English-language TV commercials.
Latina faces, cultural relevance and Spanish-language are all keys to connecting with this consumer and harnessing that spending power. Suave Professionals recently got it right on all three counts in a winning campaign targeting Latinas. In summer 2011’s Premios Juventud, the top youth awards show on Spanish-language television delivering an average of 1.6 million women 18–49, Suave created an integrated campaign designed to reach Latinas.
Suave enrolled “Hispanic America’s sweetheart” Blanca Soto, star of the hit novela Eva Luna and the upcoming Talisman, and allowed fans to vote on the hairstyle she would wear on the red carpet. In addition to television, online and print advertising throughout the campaign, Suave used product packaging and in-store promotions to drive votes. Suave also knew that Latinas responded to explicit and educational messages, so they created webisodes featuring step-by-step tutorials on how to create Soto’s hairstyles with their celebrity stylist Leonardo Rocco. The voting page drove traffic to Suave’s dedicated Spanish-language Facebook page.
The campaign also included on-site sampling, touch-up stations and photo booths, so that Premios Juventud fans could document their experience and share it with friends via e-mail or social media. Suave experienced a 477% increase in Facebook likes and received more than 36,000 requests for a coupon during the first 24 hours of the promotion.
Like Suave, many other beauty brands have recognized that Latinas are essential to their growth now and in the future, and have upped their investment. In the past five years alone, marketers of beauty products have increased their national spend on Spanish-language television by nearly 30% to more than $200 million.
“The Latina consumer is a big asset for our brands in Unilever Personal Care,” said David Rubin, Unilever’s director for hair. “She is very knowledgeable about products and actively chooses the brands that connect with her via campaigns that feature her idols, speak her language and resonate with her personal evolution as a U.S. Hispanic. She’s a big influencer for her peers, her family and even the masses. We have found that in many cases, if we win with the Latina consumer, we win overall.”
Based in New York City, Peter Filiaci is vice president of Brand Solutions at Univision Communications Inc. His team advises beauty industry clients on how to develop and execute their strategies to drive sales with Hispanics.