As Hispanic population grows, retailers recognize importance of reaching group

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT — The Hispanic microsite on Kroger’s new website for its baby products line comes at a time when the country’s Hispanic population growth outpaces that of the country’s total population.

(THE NEWS: New website born for Kroger baby products line. For the full story, click here.)

According to recently released 2010 Census data, the Hispanic population increased by 43% between 2000 and 2010, with Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and Cubans constituting the largest groups. By contrast, the total population of the country grew by 9.7%.

Obviously the addition of people moving into the continental United States explains much of the growth, but so does childbirth. For that reason, a retailing giant with nationwide reach, such as Kroger, would be remiss not to take tap into this rapidly growing market.

Not only that, but research indicated that social media are an increasingly important way for companies to communicate with consumers about everything from new products and services to product alerts to ways to save money. According to research conducted in May by VeraQuest on behalf of marketing and public relations firm Robin Leedy & Associates, friends are just as able to influence people’s over-the-counter and health-and-beauty product purchases as TV.

According to a report released in June 2010 by ComScore, 16.3% of women are social networking when online, compared with 11.7% of men, and 0.9% of women spend their time online on blogs versus 0.8% of men. Indeed, the VeraQuest survey found that blog reviews had greater influence on younger women than older women.

This all represents a market that is ripe for the picking by retailers, especially considering that suppliers have jumped in already. In June, Nestlé USA announced the launch of Nestlé Aguas Frescas, a line of canned beverages with flavors popular in Latin America, such as tamarind, horchata and hibiscus. Nestlé spokesman Juan Motta stated at the time, “Nestlé Aguas Frescas delivers the refreshing and authentic taste of home with the convenience of a ready-to-drink format for the U.S. lifestyle.”

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