The Hispanic population in the United States continues to increase, having been recently projected by the U.S. Census Bureau to account for one-third of the country’s population by 2050. With this growth, some online retailers are noticing an increase in Spanish-related analytics – from Spanish language referral links to on-site search terms in Spanish – and are evaluating their strategy related to Hispanic consumers in the U.S.. So how can online retail brands appeal more to Hispanic consumers? Here are a few insights…
An increasing percentage of the Hispanic population is bilingual – According to Pew Research, 38% of the Hispanic population currently living in the U.S. said their conversations were “Spanish dominant”. However, only 2% of the third-generation (grandparents immigrated to country) Hispanic population in the U.S. are “Spanish dominant” – a sign that an increasing percentage of the Hispanic population in the U.S. is bilingual. With the close nature of many Hispanic families, some younger Hispanic consumers are helping older Hispanic consumers shop online (sometimes frequently) with their bilingual skills.
Spanish language advertising may be cheaper and lead to higher engagement rates – Especially for paid advertising on Google and in particular Facebook, it’s become clear that Spanish language advertising can have high engagement rates. With approximately 23 million active Hispanic Facebook users in the U.S. (based on language preference), this creates an opportunity for appealing directly to Hispanic consumers that prefer the Spanish language. As an added bonus to search marketers, cost-per-click prices can be significantly lower when working with the Spanish language as there are fewer competitors for keyword terms and phrases.
A Spanish language site can increase sales – For an optimal user experience, a Spanish advertisement should drive a consumer to a Spanish site. Creating an entire online retail website in Spanish can be expensive, but the investment can potentially be a rewarding initiative for some major retail brands, especially if that brand caters to an older (and less likely to be bilingual) demographic. With site details including bilingual product pages and checkout processes, this can be a way to appeal to new customers without having to deal with the back-end specifics (shipping technicalities, taxation, etc.) of launching online retail solutions in other countries. A Spanish language site can also be leveraged should a brand wish to expand into a Spanish speaking country in the future.
Establishing trust with Hispanic consumers – Although the majority of Hispanic consumers in the U.S. are now bilingual, it still makes sense for online retailers to understand their consumers and their specific preferences. Some Hispanic consumers may just expect advertising and on-site experiences in English at this point, but creating these elements in Spanish can build trust with Hispanic consumers. This trust can make Hispanic consumers feel as if the brand understands their culture and their needs better than other competitive brands which may drive additional sales.
In conclusion, the relationship between Hispanic consumers and online retail in the U.S. is complex and unique. While the “need” for Spanish language advertising and sites may not be as prominent as a decade ago due to the growing bilingual population, these solutions may still be applicable to brands. Even though specific demographic information will likely be needed for online retail brands to launch their initiatives with Hispanic consumers in the U.S., this process can be a good stepping stone for brands looking to expand into a different language market (French, Chinese, etc.) for the first time.