How Hispanics are Cutting Costs in the Recession

This is part 2 in a series of posts on the results from our Hispanic Shopper Marketing and Retailer Study.

As we delve into our study results, I first want to share with you the mindset of our Spanish dominant Hispanic consumers in relation to the recession. Not surprisingly, the majority of our respondents said they were worried about the economy. Interestingly though, over 30% of them were optimistic that things were going to get better.

This attitude is based partly in culture and partly in a historical awareness of where they come from so there are a couple of very important factors in play.

First, during difficult times, Latinos turn to their strong support system of family, community and spirituality for ongoing support. With Hispanics, it’s family first, than the individual. This means that if there is economic hardship, the family unit tends to band together and share resources – financial or otherwise.

Second, many of the home countries that U.S. Hispanics come from have a history of financial instability. Of course, this doesn’t mean that financial hardships are easier for them, just that they’ve often lived through this situation before and have faith and the knowhow that they will get through it.

As a result of the difficult economy though, they do change their shopping behaviors in order to save money. Some of our findings were not surprising like more frequent use of coupons and shopping at discount stores. Some of the results though, showed a shift in some long-held beliefs about Hispanic shoppers.

Hispanic Shoppers are Increasingly Purchasing Private Label Goods

We’ve often heard that Hispanic consumers won’t buy generic or private label products because there is a stigma attached to them and they prefer and trust brand name goods. The results of our study showed a clear and strong shift in this behavior with 75% of our respondent’s saying that they are “buying more generic products.”

We feel that this shift is a combination of a couple of different factors:

  • Generics are no longer the black and white label brands that they used to be. The private label packaging has it’s own look and feel making today’s generic brand look and feel similar, and sometimes superior to, name brand products.
  • Trusted stores like H-E-B and Target have revamped their own private label brands and the trust of the store creates a trust for the private label product.

Hispanics are Using Large Grocery Stores More Often

Another long-held truth was that Hispanic consumers shopped more frequently and they shopped at the smaller convenience stores and bodegas. What we’re seeing now is that our consumers are altering their behavior a little and saving their purchases for trips to the larger grocery stores where the prices are lower.

Our next post will be on Hispanic Shopper’s interest in discounts, giveaways, rebates, contests, events, internet promotions, and loyalty programs

Source: Mercury Mambo’s Hispanic Shopper Marketing Study, 2009