5 Important Things to Know About Young Latinos

As the fastest growing demographic in the U.S., young Hispanics are increasingly important to marketers. Because of the bicultural world that they are born and raised in, communicating with them isn’t about language, it requires cultural relevance and a keen understanding of who these kids and young adults are.

Here are 5 key things to consider when talking to this audience.

1. Latinos are the new mainstream

In 2009, Hispanics constituted 16 percent of the nation’s total population. What is even more interesting, is that Hispanics comprised 22 percent of children younger than 18 and, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, one in four Americans will be Hispanic by 2050. While today the U.S. foreign born Hispanics dominate the 18-34 age group, young Hispanics age 0-17 are mostly 2nd or 3rd generation Hispanics. This means that the majority of Hispanics under the age 18 grew up speaking English and language alone is not an effective strategy for reaching this market.

2. Young American Latinos love being bicultural

Being bicultural is part of their core cultural identity. The line between Hispanic and general market is increasingly blurred, they embrace being American while at the same time love their Latino heritage. They watch both English and Spanish language TV and their iPods are filled with both mainstream English artists like Lady Gaga, as well as Spanish artists like Winsin & Yandel.

3. Language is fluid and often situational

Language is an important link for young Hispanics to family, food and culture. While the overwhelming majority of them speak English, their Spanish often keeps them connected to their family, culture and friends. It’s common to speak English only at work or in school, and then go home and speak only Spanish.

4. Young Hispanics are always connected

Internet connectivity and being online is essential to the lives of young Hispanics – both at home and on the go. They love to chat and communicate with friends and family, spend time on social media sites such as Facebook, share photos, shop, watch videos, and listen to music.

5. Language, identity and culture are important

Spanish is not only used to communicate, it’s used to connect. For some young Latinos, communicating in Spanish is yet another way they identify with other Latinos. Their identity and culture is a mix of American life and their Latino roots and tend to stress shared activities, common interests, connectedness. This is strongest in connection with their family, which always comes before self.

When you’re speaking to young Hispanics remember, it’s not about language, it’s about cultural relevance.

What brands do you feel are doing the best job being relevant?

Sources: National Vital Statistics Reports, Telemundo GenYLA Study, Simmons, Full Yr. Spring 2010  online usage last 30 days, TRU 2008, Cooltura 2010 AHAA internet study