Growing Hispanic consumer power increases need for outreach from retailers, suppliers

Hispanic population grew by 43% in last decade, census data showed

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT — Hispanics represent one of the fastest-growing demographic groups in the United States, so naturally, it would behoove retailers to pay heed to this growing trend.

(THE NEWS: Hispanic consumers' buying power to grow 50% by 2015. For the complete story, click here.)

According to the Census Bureau, the Hispanic population grew from 35.3 million in 2000 to 50.5 million in 2010, a 43% increase, while the non-Hispanic white population is expected to be just more than half of the population in the next 30 years. But many suppliers and retailers aren't waiting to adapt their marketing strategies until then — they're doing it now.

On Tuesday, Coors announced a series of new Web and smartphone media designed to reach out to Hispanic consumers as part of its sponsorship of Mexico's Primera soccer division. Meanwhile, Clorox announced last week a partnership with the National Association of Hispanic Nurses to launch the Hispanic Nurses Network, a healthcare resource for Hispanic families that includes media interviews at local outlets and Q&A sessions at Facebook.com/CloroxLatino.

Retailers have been targeting the Hispanic community as well. Miami-based Navarro Discount Pharmacy, which is Hispanic-owned and serves an area with one of the largest Hispanic populations in the country, has made serving the Hispanic community one of the centerpieces of its business. In November, the company unveiled Vida Mia ("My Life"), a Hispanic-oriented private-label line that includes more than 300 SKUs in categories ranging from food to OTC medicines to household and beauty products with bilingual English-Spanish packaging. Navarro's stores also include products like chili peppers, piñatas and Jumex-brand nectars.

Farther up north, in November 2011, Walgreens signed on as a presenting sponsor of the fifth annual Latino Fashion Week in Chicago, another city with a rapidly growing Hispanic population. Walgreens divisional VP diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer Steve Pemberton was on hand to help kick off the event, which drew more than 10,000 attendees.

Kmart and parent company Sears Holdings also have reached out to the Hispanic community with an online Spanish-language TV series produced in the style of Latin American "telenovela" shows and the Latina Smart scholarship campaign.

Meanwhile, supermarket chain Winn-Dixie unveiled in December 2011 a remodeled store in Miami that includes a full-service Cuban cafe with such items as empanadas, as well as bilingual signage.

Growing consumer power reaches behind the counter and into the healthcare field as well. In October 2011, CVS Caremark announced a partnership with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation to encourage young Hispanics to become healthcare professionals, recognizing more than 30 high school seniors of Hispanic descent for their academic performance, community service and interest in pursuing healthcare careers who would receive educational grants from the company and exposure to experts in healthcare fields, mentoring and internship opportunities in college.

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