Recession… Repressing the Hispanic Community?

Two Possible Conclusions:
1)    Hispanics are LESS affected by the economic downturn.  Why?  They typically carry less debt, prefer to pay with cash, and are generally more optimistic when it comes to the economy.   

2)    Or, Hispanics are MORE affected by the economic downturn.  Why?  Hispanic unemployment is higher than in the general market and their incomes are typically lower.

So which is it?
There’s a wealth of discussion on the net analyzing and theorizing about what makes the Hispanic consumer tick, especially in light of our current economic situation.  Some of these voices are negative, some are positive.  Spending, as a whole, is down, but Hispanics are displaying certain unique tendencies.  Maybe, just maybe, Hispanics are playing a major role in turning this unwieldy economic beast around.

A recent webinar presented by BIGresearch and Televisa Publishing and Digital discussed many of the major themes underlying Hispanic consumer behavior in light of the recession.  Some of the more relevant ideas included:

1)    “Hispanics are more confident about the economy than the general market.”
2)    “Hispanics are more likely to live in the moment, and therefore spend on more big-ticket items than the general market.” 
3)    “Compared to 3 years ago, Hispanics are decreasing their overall spending and focusing on essentials and paying off their debts.” 

The basic tenants of Hispanic culture reinforce an optimistic attitude and encourage reliance on community and family.  Hispanics are more likely to embrace their lives at the present.  Though they’ve been spending less, they’re still willing to spend in categories where other consumers shy away.  Overall, Hispanics are more confident in the economy, and we all know “confidence in the economy correlates and translates into future spending.”  (Information Source: Home Textiles Today)

With the release of new Census data in 2010, we’ll be privy to even more information on Hispanics and their growing impact on the economy.  More likely than not, more marketing dollars will be allocated toward capturing the purchasing power behind the Hispanic market.  It is estimated that “Hispanics have about $863 billion in discretionary annual income, more than any other minority group in the country… [but] agencies argue that spending power is still underestimated and that upcoming Census findings – expected to be released in early 2011 – will deliver a wake-up call to marketers.” (Information source: AdWeek)

To wrap it up, yes, Hispanics have been hit as hard as any other group by the recession.  But, as a result of their numbers, buying power, and cultural tendencies, Hispanics are contributing to and participating in our economy more than ever.