P&G, Wal-Mart look to multicultural shoppers

04 January 2010

NEW YORK: Procter & Gamble and Wal-Mart are among the US companies planning to place a heightened emphasis on multicultural shoppers over the course of 2010.

As previously reported, Bob McDonald, the chief executive of P&G, has stated that Hispanic and African-American consumers will be key target segments for the FMCG giant going forward.

One of the Cincinnati-based firm's goals in this area is to "integrate" its approaches in regions like north Mexico and the south of the US, in order to suit the needs of shoppers travelling across the border.

It has also recently launched new variants of two of its detergent brands, which are aimed directly at people with Hispanic backgrounds living in the latter of these two markets.

Wal-Mart outlets in states including Texas and Arizona are thus now stocking Ariel USA, one of these offerings, alongside Tide, Cheer and Gain, the three main detergents in Procter's US portfolio.

While Americans generally favour cardboard boxes, Ariel USA will be available in 1.5 kilogram and 3 kilogram bags, which are typically more popular in Latin America.

The packaging for this product will contain messages written in Spanish, like "limpieza cinco estrella", which translates as "five star cleaning."

P&G has also introduced bags of Gain, currently its best-selling detergent with the Hispanic audience, promising "frescura que dura por semanas", or "freshness that lasts for weeks."

Lauren Thaman, the company's associate director of external relations, said that buyers of these goods "are primarily from Mexico, and are used to buying their laundry detergent in bags."

Furthermore, she added, the Hispanic demographic often exhibits a greater preference for floral-scented detergents than is the case across the US as a whole.

Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer, also opened two hypermarkets designed to appeal to the specific tastes of Hispanic consumers in 2009.

Trading under the banner of Supermercado de Walmart, these stores were based in Houston and Phoenix respectively.

Such an initiative resulted from the organisation's "store of the community" programme, which seeks to ensure that its local units stock items of particular interest to the localities they serve.

Eduardo Castro-Wright, head of Wal-Mart's US arm, has already outlined the objective of expanding this format in the future.

"We have now the model that will allow us to ... bring that format to places around America to places that will benefit from that product offering," he argued last year.

In a similar fashion, Wal-Mart unveiled its first Mas Club, a discount warehouse, in Houston in 2009.

Coca-Cola, the beverage specialist, is another corporation which has announced its intention to drive up sales among minority groups as part of its efforts to double total revenues by 2020.

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by Warc staff