The US Hispanic Youth Market Study 2009 - Research report written by Morgan Stanley's teenage intern-turned-analyst Matthew Robson showed this month, marketers are very interested in understanding the youth market. This fascination with the teen market also carries over to the world of Hispanic advertising and rightfully so. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Hispanic youth represent 20% of the total U.S. teen population. In fact, more than one-third of all U.S. Hispanics are 18 or younger, and half of all Hispanics in the U.S. are under 26.
The Hispanic youth market is different from the rest of the Hispanic population. For instance, 80% of Hispanic youth are U.S.-born. For the most part, this group is bilingual, going in and out of languages because its members grew up speaking Spanish at home but were educated in English. Yet most can't read or write Spanish.
They are already an economic force to be reckoned with, wielding a purchasing power of $25 billion or more than half of the total purchasing power of the overall U.S. Hispanic market. In fact, Hispanic youth are driving a major demographic shift in the overall youth population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 10 years, 62% of all teens will be Hispanic.
In 2008, the Intelligence Group released an indepth psychographic study of the Hispanic youth market, "2008 Latino Lifestyle Study." It highlighted four key insights about Hispanic youth:
"The 40% Perception." When asked what percentage of the U.S. they believe is Hispanic, the average of all responses was 40% (the actual Census figure is 15%).
"Latina Rising." Young Latinas feel empowered and excited about the independence and choices they have (a big difference from previous generations).
"Cautious Optimism." Young Hispanics are largely optimistic and social. They more likely to say they are "happy" compared to non-Latinos (63% versus 53%).
"Social Networking." There is no statistical difference between Hispanic youth and the general youth population in relation to their heavy use of social media like Facebook.
A lot of marketers have taken to a new moniker for this rising demographic - "New General Latinos" or NGLs. NGLs are a different animal. They're all about lifestyle activators - music, food, entertainment, literature and travel - more than education, hard work and "The American Dream." They are extroverted, outgoing, outspoken and, above all, wired. They are defined by culture, not exclusively by language at least not the Spanish language. They have tremendous Latin pride, and social networking is a starting point for their large web of social interactions.
The top three media consumed by Hispanic youth are 1) Internet, 2) TV 3) radio. The first two shouldn't surprise anyone. However, Hispanic youth have shown a stronger connection to radio than their non-Latino friends. According to the Radio Advertising Bureau, Hispanic teens listen to 23% more radio per week than the general teen market. Equally important, they don't read newspapers, rarely pick up magazines and don't watch Spanish-language TV.
So, where should advertisers start in trying to reach this elusive, rapidly growing segment? There are no silver bullets in reaching young Hispanics. The good news is that the media landscape and technology have evolved so rapidly in the last 10 years that we now have the tools necessary to engage this audience.
Start with key entry points. Social and music are usually good starters.
Multiple platforms - Take advantage of the fact that more and more Hispanic and lifestyle media companies now offer multiple platforms in-house
Target online and offline channels while testing emerging media.