BBDO studies political impact on Hispanic consumers

The study reveals "a strange paradox."

The study reveals “a strange paradox.”

Despite an
“increase in displays
of prejudice,”
Hispanics are
actually spending
more than ever.

Chicago marketing and advertising powerhouse Energy BBDO partnered with Culturati Research & Consulting, Inc. to conduct a study on whether or not the Hispanic community has been buying and shopping less as a result of anti-immigration fervor and a tense political atmosphere in the United States.

The white paper, titled Forging a Bond with Hispanic Consumers: How to Unlock Brand Potential in a Challenging Political Environment, reveals a strange paradox.

According to the study, members of the Hispanic community feel as though they are experiencing an “increase in displays of prejudice since the last election.”

Despite this, the study also shows that Hispanics are actually spending more than ever.

These results contradict speculation from major-media outlets – such as Bloomberg News, Reuters, and CNBC – that Hispanics would shop less due to the turbulent-political scene in the United States.



“The importance and impact of (the Hispanic community) on population growth, economic power, and American culture will continue and, more importantly, will likely increase regardless of the political rhetorical backdrop and/or debate of the day,” comments Energy BBDO’s SVP Group Strategy Director Ludwig Ortiz.

The study incorporated 1,021 online surveys of documented Hispanics, undocumented Hispanic immigrants, and non-Hispanics. It included focus groups as well.

The following three trends became clear:

1.) Members of the Hispanic community are spending and shopping significantly more than in the past.
2.) How and where Hispanics shop have changed in response to political challenges and fears.
3.) Optimism is down and prejudice is up.

The following statistics from the white paper relate to shopping/spending increases:

· 49% of Hispanics reported shopping more often than the prior year
· 56% of undocumented Hispanics—those who could feel threatened by deportation—claim they are shopping more than they were a year ago
· 60% of Hispanics and 68% of undocumented Hispanics claim they are spending more than they ever have

However, there is a noticeable shift in how Hispanics are shopping. According to the study, “they are opting to shop at retailers that offer value and familiarity.” In other words, they are more likely to go to a Hispanic grocery store, discount store, and mass merchandiser (such as Target or Walmart).

· Hispanics are making 33% fewer trips to mainstream grocery stores and 40% fewer to convenience stores
· Instead, they are making 46% more trips to mass merchandisers, 41% more to dollar stores, and 31% more to discount clubs
· Trips to Hispanic grocery stores are also on the rise—up 28% among Hispanics and 40% among undocumented Hispanics

Overwhelmingly, according to the study, the sense of optimism among Hispanics has sharply dropped, and prejudice in the country and discrimination towards customers is on the rise.

· Hispanics are 50% more likely to have doubts about their place in America versus a year ago
· 70% of Hispanics describe an increase in displays of prejudice since the last election
· 1 in 4 Hispanics has experienced race and ethnicity-driven poor customer service in the past few months

The white paper interprets this as “Hispanics are feeling a clear void and sense of displacement, but brands can help fill that void by showing their support to the community.”

Definitively, the message of Energy BBDO and Culturati’s study is that the Hispanic community continues to exert a strong economic force worthy of special attention by brands and companies.

President and CEO of Energy BBDO Tonise Paul states, “There’s no denying the growth potential the Hispanic market represents for our clients’ brands.”

In the present moment, Forging a Bond with Hispanic Consumers urges brands’ need to tap into the market potential of the Hispanic community that is critical to the cultural and economic life of the country.

Forging a Bond concludes, “The time is now for brands to take action to play a larger role in these people’s lives when it matters most, thereby building trust and long-term loyalty.”

If brands fail to demonstrate loyalty and support during the Hispanic community’s time of need, they risk alienating the economic might of nearly 20% of the United States population.

As CEO Paul states, “In this time of vulnerability for U.S. Hispanics, what we do to address the community, directly or indirectly, is more important than ever before.”

For more information, request the full white paper here.

Contact Joey Filer at or follow him on Twitter @FilerJoey.