Hispanic/Latino Consumers Say Heritage Influences What They Buy

These multilingual households say they strongly prefer brands that speak their first language.

September 21, 2022

CHICAGO—Fifty-eight percent of Hispanic/Latino consumers say heritage is important to their identity and purchasing decisions, according to a new report by Numerator.

“Overall, Hispanic/Latino households are young, diverse, multilingual consumers whose heritage identity plays a role in the brands they choose to buy and the retailers where they choose to shop,” according to Numerator.

The report found that 49% of Hispanic/Latino households consist of four or more members, and the age range of those members skews the youngest compared to any other ethnicity. Four in five Hispanic/Latino households are multilingual, and they prefer brands that speak their first language. Eighty percent of Hispanic/Latino homes are multilingual, which is three times the national average, and more than one in four of these consumers say they trust brands using the language spoken at home more than brands that do not.

Heritage identity is extremely important to Hispanic/Latino consumers. Fifty-eight percent of Hispanic/Latino households consider heritage central to their identity—the largest of any ethnicity (compared to 52% of Black consumers, 47% of Asian consumers and 27% of White consumers). Heritage identity heavily influences consumer behavior. Hispanic/Latino consumers say that nostalgia and familiarity factor into their purchasing decisions both in the brands they buy and the retailers where they shop, Numerator found.

Heritage also plays a role in shopping preferences. Compared to all Hispanic/Latino consumers, those of South American heritage are 28% more likely to be deal-focused shoppers, while those of Western European or Caribbean heritage are more likely to be coupon clippers (42% and 31% more likely, respectively), and those of North American or Mexican/Central American heritage are more likely to be impulse buyers (40% and 30% more likely, respectively).

Retailer preference is also influenced by heritage. While total Hispanic/Latino channel purchasing follows U.S. trends, segmenting by heritage identifies critical differences. Compared to all Hispanic/Latino consumers, those of North American heritage are more likely to spend their CPG dollars at mass retailers such as Walmart or Target, while those of Caribbean heritage are more likely to focus their CPG spend in club stores like Costco or Sam’s Club.

Dietary restrictions are most common among Hispanic/Latino households, with 25% of Hispanic/Latino households having some sort of dietary restriction, more than any other ethnicity group (compared to 22% of both Asian and Black households and 14% of White households). Compared to the total U.S. population, Hispanic/Latino consumers are 75% more likely to be vegan, 63% more likely to be lactose-free, 45% more likely to be vegetarian, 22% more likely to be gluten-free and 18% more likely to be pescatarian.

Hispanic/Latino consumers could be leading indicators for emerging food trends, according to Numerator. Over three in five grocery categories where Hispanic/Latino households over-index in are categories that are growing share within grocery. Top categories that are capturing significant share among Hispanic/Latino consumers include nectars, lentils, canned/powdered milk, coconut water and in-store bakery.

Alcoholic beverages preferences also vary by heritage. Hispanic/Latino consumers of South American, Western European and Caribbean heritage are more likely to spend their alcohol beverage dollars on wine, while those of Mexican/Central American heritage are more likely to place their alcohol beverage spend on beer.

Hispanic/Latino households are also dining out frequently. These consumers are 72% more likely to eat out six or more times a week compared to the total U.S. population. Caribbean households are more likely to place share within the top three quick-service restaurants (McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A, Wendy’s), while Taco Bell over-indexes with consumers of North American and Western European heritage compared to all Hispanic/Latino consumers.