A few weeks ago Nielsen released a multicultural report titled “The Multicultural Edge: Rising Super Consumers.” Within the detailed research, there are numerous explanations as to why marketers and advertisers should be focusing on this multicultural demographic.
Among the top reasons is life expectancy, the multicultural influence on the mainstream and multicultural consumers being in their prime. There are others of course, about the fact that multicultural demographic is extremely connected and mobile savvy and bicultural—maintaining their cultural heritage while simultaneously seeing themselves as part of the new mainstream, “allowing them to mix and match endless choices and products to suit their effortless duality in lifestyles and tastes,” states the report. However, it seems that the last two points have been discussed more frequently than the others.
So, what makes a “Super Consumer”? A Super Consumer is at the top 10 percent of households who drive at least 30 percent of sales, 40 percent of growth and 50 percent of profits.
A key factor to note, which has been explicitly stated before, is that multicultural consumers seek brands that speak to their culture, self-image and aspirations. This is important for brands, especially in social that look for that social engagement and results from likes, shares and comments. If an individual cannot relate to content, they will be less likely to engage with that content.
Among those listed as multicultural consumers are Blacks, American Indians, Asians, Pacific Islanders, those who define as “Other” and those of two or more races. Hispanics are considered multicultural consumers that can fall into any race, since the term is seen more as an ethnicity and not a race.
How Life Expectancy Drives Advantage
The multicultural demographic is fairly young and diverse. According to the report, “Each successive generation is becoming more multicultural.” For example, compared to those over the age of 80 where the generation is only 16.9 percent diverse, the percentage of diversity for the Millennial generation is almost 45 percent.
Additionally, according to the CDC, the life expectancy in the U.S. is at an all-time high. Among the multicultural population, African-Americans’ life expectancy is 74.3, Asian-Americans is 87.3 and Hispanic is 83.5. Knowing that the median ages of these three groups are 27-35 and that they have at least 42 years of buying power left leaves room for the discussion of the advantage of targeting the segment.
With smart marketing toward the multicultural consumer, the opportunity for more years of consumption as well as consumer loyalty will add up on a better return on investment.
The Influence on the Mainstream
This has more to do with geographical locations than anything else. Multicultural population is over 50 percent in Hawaii, District of Columbia, California, New Mexico, and Texas with Nevada, Maryland, Georgia, Arizona, Florida and New York approaching the same status. When speaking of metro areas, 21 of the top 25 most populated counties in the US are already more than 50 percent multicultural.
Just knowing this, the need for ethnic and cross-cultural marketing and messaging is necessary. This will mean a demand in not only specific multicultural marketing strategy but also a strategy based on increased cultural influence on the non-multicultural population.
According to the report, “Proximity to other cultures and the sharing of cultural influences, attitudes and behaviors in these Super Geo clusters magnifies the multicultural opportunity… living near or in a high multicultural-density area can have a big influence on what non-multicultural consumers watch and buy.”
The Multicultural American
Because most multicultural consumers also see themselves as American as anyone, the result is shown through the cross categories. For the most part, food purchases are the most highly impacted by the multicultural Super Consumer—Multicultural shoppers make larger purchases of dried vegetables and rice, and account for 53 percent of hot sauce Super Consumers.
But along with that, due to an influx in births, Hispanics lean on purchasing baby foods, diapers, and other baby needs, along with women’s fragrances and the family planning category. African-Americans impact the ethnic hair & beauty aids category along with feminine hygiene products category. The Asian-American population impacts the Asian noodle category as well as photographic supplies.
However, the multicultural Super Consumer also has grown to impact the cross categories of men’s toiletries, refrigerated meal starters, shelf stable meal starters, diet aids, ice cream, bottled water and cosmetics. “Despite the fact that they were maintaining their cultural ties to cooking styles…[these consumers] were also heavier consumers of convenient meal starters…indicating an increased desire for speed and ease of preparation in cooking those meals.”
Overall, the multicultural Super Consumer pulls a lot of weight in multiple categories which stem from but are not limited to their cultural ties.
If brands begin to understand the related categories and well-roundness of the multicultural consumer, marketing dollars will be better spent and strategies better executed.
– Christina Elizabeth Rodriguez is a Senior Account Executive at Zócalo Group. Follow her on Twitter at @kiki416. Christina also blogs about her experiences with diabetes at Kikisbetes.com. Zócalo Group is a digital, social and word-of-mouth marketing agency focused on making our clients the most talked about, recommended and purchased brands in their categories.