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New Generations of Hispanics Reshaping Ad Preferences

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Second- and third-generation Hispanics—American-born and English speaking—now account for the majority (60%) of the nation's Hispanic population, according to a new study by Yahoo.

Proud of their ethnicity, such later-generation Hispanics are sensitive to the media's portrayal of their ethnicity, but they are far less likely to seek out content tied to ethnicity or language.

However, among first-generation Hispanics, who account for 40% of the US Hispanic population, ethnic identity and language cues play a bigger role in advertising preferences. 

Below, additional findings from a survey of 2,200 Hispanics in the US by Research & Insights at Yahoo.

Ethnic Identity Is Important to All Hispanics 


Ethnicity is an important part of the past and the present for both first-generation and later-generation Hispanics:

  • 62% of later-generation Hispanics say their ethnicity is a significant part of their identity, as do 72% of first-generation Hispanics. 
  • 79% of later-generation Hispanics say they are proud of their ethnic identity, as do 78% of first-generation Hispanics.

Connecting With Ethnicity

However, later-generation Hispanics are less inclined to connect with and share their ethnicity: 

  • 29% of later-generation Hispanics say they feel less in touch with their ethnic identity than when growing up, compared with 57% of first-generation Hispanics who say the same.
  • 29% of later-generation Hispanics say they try hard to expose those around them to their ethnic background, compared with 67% of first-generation Hispanics.

Connecting With Hispanic Media

Later-generation Hispanics are also less inclined to consume digital media geared toward Hispanics:

  • 20% of later-generation Hispanics visit websites geared toward Hispanics, compared with 63% of first-generation Hispanics who say the same. 
  • 20% of later-generation Hispanics listen to Internet radio stations in Spanish, compared with 55% of first-generation Hispanics.

Ads Don't Target Hispanics

Despite such differences, both first- and later-generation Hispanics say ads don't target them: 56% of first-generation Hispanics and 49% of later-generation Hispanics say ads are targeted primarily toward Caucasians—and not them.

However, there are subtle differences in ad preferences among Hispanic generations, particularly regarding depictions of ethnic identity—and the authenticity of ethnic ambassadors.

Among first-generation Hispanics:

  • 73% say advertising does not depict their ethnic values at a deep level, compared with 45% of later-generation Hispanics.
  • 78% say they appreciate seeing or hearing ads that are in the language of their ethnicity, compared with 40% of later-generation Hispanics who say the same.

Among later-generation Hispanics:

  • Only 26% say ads do a good job speaking to their ethnicity, compared with 69% of first-generation Hispanics.
  • Only 29% say currently featured spokespersons are true ambassadors for ethnicity, compared with 60% of first-generation Hispanics.

Sensitivity to Negative Representations

Later-generation Hispanics take notice of ethnicity in cases of negative representation:

  • 26% of later-generation Hispanics say media is dismissive or ignorant of their ethnicity, compared with 10% of first-generation Hispanics who say the same.
  • 29% of later-generation Hispanics say Hispanics are underrepresented in media, compared with 13% of first-generation Hispanics.

The Concept of 'Diversity' in Ads Is Key

Among later-generation Hispanics, ads that convey diversity appear to resonate more, though such ads are equally if not more important to first-generation Hispanics:

  • 68% say diversity is the best way to reflect the real world, as do 79% of first-generation Hispanics.
  • 65% say ads would be much better if they showed greater diversity, as do 73% of first-generation Hispanics.

Ethnicity Plays Bigger Role for First-Generation Hispanics

Among first-generation Hispanics, ethnicity plays a bigger role in advertising:

  • 70% of first-generation Hispanics say they notice products and brands that make the effort to reach their ethnicity, compared with 40% of later-generation Hispanics.
  • 69% of first-generation Hispanics say they've been moved by an ad that targeted their ethnicity, compared with 32% of later-generation Hispanics.

Hispanic Populations and Spending Power on the Rise

Between 2000 and 2010, the Hispanic population increased 43%; now one out of every six Americans in the US is Hispanic according to 2010 US Census data.

Moreover, the spending power of Hispanics is forecast to increase 50% by 2015, from 1 trillion in 2010, to 1.5 trillion, according to the report.

About the study: Findings are from a survey of 2,200 Hispanics, conducted by Yahoo Research & Insights in association with Mindshare and Added Value, November 2011.


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