By Paul Barbagallo
In just four decades, the U.S. Hispanic market has more than quadrupled in size, from 6.9 million potential consumers in 1960 to more than 35.3 million in 2000. Hispanic buying power is increasing faster than that of any other minority group, notes Jeff Humpreys, director of the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business.
The U.S. Hispanic population currently represents approximately $600 billion in total household spending. Humpreys projects that by 2007, Hispanic buying power will top $926.1 billion.
"There's been a huge boom," confirms Lori Collins, director of business development, FocusUSA, a list company that manages many Hispanic lists. "About one out of every eight people in the United States is Hispanic. Mailers have been realizing the potential in this market."
Rick Blume, vice president of multicultural markets for list company 21st Century Marketing, concurs, but still perceives a sizeable corporate blind spot when it comes to the Hispanic market.
"I read a statistic recently that said only 30 percent of the companies in the United States are marketing to Hispanics," Blume says. "That's just too low."
Dependent on Data
An incentive for marketers considering entry into this market is the maturity of the marketing data and intelligence, according to M. Isabel Valdés, author of "Marketing to American Latinos: A Guide to the In-Culture Approach."
"Having intelligent and mature data gives businesses a more effective way to measure and track the market, and in turn, communicate with Latinos," says Valdés.
Indeed, a wealth of Spanish-speaking and Hispanic surname lists are available for rent.
Of the two, Blume notes a recent surge in companies targeting Hispanic Americans with Spanish-speaking lists.
"Hispanic Americans who speak Spanish at home do not get a lot of mail in Spanish, so when they do, they tend to open it," observes Blume. "That is one of the major reasons why Spanish-language marketers generally receive better response rates than English-language Hispanic marketers."