Wal-mart and Hispanics: A call to action

Tony Rogers, senior vice president of brand marketing at Wal-mart Stores Inc., made what some might think a bold move at the recent SymphonyIRI annual summit in Miami.

Addressing senior leaders from the CPG, retail and healthcare industries, Rogers said Wal-mart wants to strengthen its appeal among Hispanic consumers – so he called upon product manufacturers to bring “insights and innovation” to the retail giant to help it better serve its Hispanic customers.

This wasn’t just a bold move; this was a smart move.

The U.S. Hispanic population has grown to 50.5 million – and it will continue to account for a disproportionate share of overall growth through the next decade.

As evidenced by Rogers’ call to action, Wal-mart clearly understands that these numbers can translate to 50.5 million customers, and it is putting its partner manufacturers on notice to do the same.

As Rogers and co-presenter Elizabeth Ellers, executive vice president of corporate research for Univision, both emphasized, this market cannot be ignored or treated as an afterthought.

Hispanics overindex in many of the retailer’s key customer segments, Rogers said.

They consume more soft drinks than their non-Hispanic counterparts (115 vs 98), imported beer (136 vs 94) and milk (217 vs 81). If you’ve been studying Hispanic consumption trends, you may already know this.

But did you know that Hispanics also overindex general consumers in the following categories as well?

  • Children’s cough/cold products (145 vs 93)
  • Aftershave/cologne usage (115 vs 98)
  • Instant Flavored Coffee mix (137 vs 94)
  • Cellular/wireless phone subscriptions to mobile TV plans (129 vs 95)

Hispanics will continue to make a huge impact in these areas and more – from products with broad appeal (soda) to those that are lifestyle oriented (cologne) and, in some cases, luxe items (smart phones).

Wal-mart Stores, Inc., is asking: Are your brands ready to step up to the call?

Graph: How do Hispanics use their phones?

How do Hispanics use their cell phones? Many Eyes