Marketers who devote their time and efforts to understanding the growing US Hispanic population gathered in Miami Beach last week for the 2015 AHAA Annual Conference. The main theme this year was “relevancy” as brands aim to ensure their products and messaging resonates with a market that is constantly changing. In her keynote, former Kraft CMO, Deanie Elsner, emphasized the need to follow the consumer; if brands don’t continually adapt to consumers’ changing needs, they will lose out to more agile brands that evolve with the market. In this context, Hispanics Millennials are important to understand because they are driving  change and account for a significant part of this generation.

Furthermore, understanding Hispanic Millennials is paramount as they dictate the direction the overall Hispanic market will take in the coming decades. Younger generations of Hispanics (Emerging and iGeneration) are, for the most part, growing up exposed to American culture at school, while their exposure to the their culture will come mainly from Hispanic Millennials. It is in the hands of Hispanic Millennials to keep the Hispanic market bicultural, embracing both the American and Hispanic cultures – and they seem willing and eager to make that happen.

Aside from being bicultural, Hispanic Millennials have some specific and unique characteristics that need to be taken into consideration when communicating with the demographic. Based on Mintel’s Hispanic Millennials US 2015 report, these differentiating characteristics include:

Hispanics Millennials use multiple devices to surf the web

In the last few years, the share of Hispanics using the internet has increased significantly. This growth is driven by Millennials; they are not only online, but they use a variety of devices to access the internet. The presence of different devices at home is allowing Hispanics to have more control over what, when, and where they watch and interact with content. The internet is changing the dynamic of watching TV at home, particularly when Millennials are present. There are new opportunities to reach the group with relevant content. However, this is also creating challenges as the messages need to be designed for multiple platforms and devices, across smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops.

Hispanic first, Millennial second

Like older generations, Hispanic Millennials believe it is important for them to maintain their Hispanic culture and heritage. They also feel that preserving their culture and heritage keeps them grounded and helps them to approach life’s challenges with optimism. Culture defines the family dynamic in the homes of Hispanic Millennials. So much so that traditional gender roles are still the norm. Additionally, Hispanic Millennial women are in charge of most of the housework and have an important say in the decisions that are made in the home.

Hispanic Millennials’ lives center around their families

Hispanic Millennials are at a critical life stage – experiencing things such as graduating from college, getting married, having children, establishing a career, or making their first significant purchases. Many of these things are pointing them back to their families. From participating in family gatherings, to the way in which they decide what to buy when they are grocery shopping, where to go shopping, where to eat out, and how to spend their leisure time, Hispanic Millennials’ put family first.

What does it all mean?

In one of the keynote presentations at AHAA 2015, MediVest CEO Brian Terkelsen and Comcast SVP of Media Strategies & Sciences Kavita Vazirani discussed how for many years the conversation about the Hispanic market was centered on the ‘why’ and now it is imperative to move to the ‘how’. The challenge here is to determine how to be most relevant when communicating with Hispanic consumers.

The ‘how’ cannot be achieved without having a clear understanding of Hispanic Millennials – how they are changing and how they relate to various brands or products. The majority of Hispanic Millennials are bicultural, and, far from fading, the influence of the Hispanic culture in their lives is still strong; seeing the world through their perspective will allow marketing efforts to achieve greater relevance – let’s follow the consumer to show us how.

Juan covers US Hispanic consumers as part of Mintel Multicultural Reports. Juan has extensive experience working in the US Hispanic research market, helping clients understand the dynamics of the demographic. In addition to his research background, his first-hand experience moving from his native Bolivia to the US allows him to bring an intimate perspective to his field.

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