CHICAGO: Brands would be more successful when targeting US Hispanic consumers if they factored in their differing rates of acculturation, bilingual abilities and national ancestries, a new report has argued.

At 50.5m people, Hispanics now account for a sixth of the US population – an increase of 43% since 2000 – and have $1tr of purchasing power at their disposal, said market research firm IRI.

IRI argued that with 70% of this rapidly growing demographic aged under 40, it has become more important than ever for marketers to improve their metrics, MediaPost reported.

For example, brands should assess the levels of acculturation among different Hispanic communities, the report said.

It described 11% of US Hispanics as "mostly acculturated" with no tension between Latin American and US American cultures, 28% as "American Latinos", who experience very little tension, and 21% as "New Latinos", who experience a medium level of tension.

IRI said that means the majority of US Hispanics move between the two cultures with ease and regularity, although – not surprisingly – the less acculturated are more likely to be major consumers of Spanish-language media.

Brands are also advised to take account of the national heritage of US Hispanics – two-thirds (67%) are of Mexican descent, 10% are from Puerto Rico while another 4% each come from Cuba and El Salvador.

Furthermore, US Hispanics have distinct preferences when it comes to shopping, IRI said. It found they are significantly more likely than the general US population to shop at particular types of stores.

Over half (56%) like to shop at dollar stores compared to 30% of the general population, 74% prefer superstores, such as Walmart, (versus 61%) while one-third (33%) like warehouse clubs (versus 23%).

And in perhaps a surprise finding, IRI said US Hispanics prefer to use English-language sites when they shop online.

Regarding language, IRI said over half (52%) of all Hispanics primarily speak Spanish at home, but only 39% do so outside the home while about half are comfortable speaking Spanish in social situations.

Data sourced from MediaPost; additional content by Warc