Online Exclusives

Beauty's Latina Factor

By Nancy Jeffries, Correspondent | March 30, 2010

The Fashion Group International takes a closer look at this dynamic demographic.

The Latina community represents one of the fastest growing beauty and fashion demographics today. In fact, the Hispanic market is leading consumer confidence indexes, appears to be fairing better, and presenting growth opportunities in hair, beauty, and personal care, said Patricia Kelpie, Director, Strategic Development-Fashion and Beauty, Revolucion Hispanic Brandmakers, quoting recent findings in Packaged Facts.

No wonder then, that The Fashion Group International dedicated a session to the Latina Factor last month. The event was hosted by Revolucion Hispanic Brandmakers and People en Español.

In addition, Kelpie noted that an important question has arisen in this time of economic challenges. With a world’s population of 6.7 billion, 15-20% of the population white, and the significant growth of the Latina market, why aren’t more people marketing to this market?

“Latinas are transforming the American consumer landscape, so much so, that marketing is a business imperative,” she observed.

Kelpie said that there are 50 million Hispanics in the U.S. today, with 10% in the tri-state area, comprising 15% of the total population, and 85% of the Hispanic population living predominantly in 10 states in the U.S.

Left to right, Kristyn Page, Director, Multicultural Marketing, Macy’s, Daniel Villarroel, director, diversity marketing Maybelline New York-Garnier, L’Oréal USA, Lucia Ballas-Traynor, publisher, People en Español, Barbara Trujillo Gómez, TV personality and author, Barbara por Atras-A Latin Woman’s Guide to Fitness, with moderator, Patricia Kelpie, director, strategic development-fashion and beauty, Revolucion Hispanic Brandmakers, at the Latina Factor presentation, March 23, 2010.
“The Hispanic population is growing at a rate 10 times higher than non-Hispanics, and it surprises me that more marketers aren’t speaking to this market,” she added.

Kelpie divided the Hispanic population in the U.S. into three categories, non-acculturated, or foreign born, totaling nearly 40% of the Hispanic population; Bi-cultural, U.S. born, and representing 25%; and Acculturated Hispanics, representing 35% of the Latina market. That stated, Kelpie explained the tremendous interest in specific consumer categories and the growth of Hispanic buying power, saying, “In 1990, the buying power of the Hispanic market in the US was $212 billion. By 2007, it had reached $862 billion, and by 2012, the Hispanic buying power was expected to reach $1.3 trillion.”

Kelpie noted that this population consisted of “voracious beauty consumers,” highlighting the fact that emphasis on beauty in the Hispanic market is generational, and that beauty rituals are instilled at an early age, from ear piercing, to makeup, dressing up, and the continual parental pride that manifests in presenting their children in fashionable finery.

“The Hispanic woman leads and over-indexes in almost every category, and wears more color during the weekdays, as well as reapplies makeup, even for the commute home,” she said.

In addition, Hispanic women plan to spend more money on beauty and beauty aids than other demographic, shop for pleasure, and love to be engaged in beauty conversations, spending on average 48 minutes at beauty counters, versus 22 minutes for non-Hispanic consumers. In addition, she is six times more likely to try or buy a new product if she is given an in-store demonstration.

“This is a great shopper marketing opportunity,” said Kelpie, who described the aspirational shopping style of this woman.

Similarly, Hispanic men were found to outnumber Caucasian and African-American men in their facial product use, with more than half, 52% of Latinos using moisturizers, creams and lotions, than their counterparts.

“In fact, it has been suggested that ‘macho-sexual,’ become a replacement term for the popular, ‘metro-sexual,’” stated Kelpie.

In addition, Kelpie noted that nearly two-thirds of the purchases made by Hispanics were online purchases, and that Hispanic consumers are not only younger, but live longer, to a median age of 83, as compared to 81, and represented a greater lifetime profit margin contribution. Kelpie went on to introduce the panelists who provided beauty insights from retail, fitness and beauty perspectives. They were, Lucia Ballas-Traynor, publisher, People en Español, Kristyn Page, director, Multicultural Marketing, Macy’s, Barbara Trujillo Gómez, TV personality and author of Barbara por Atras-A Latin Woman’s Guide to Fitness, and Daniel Villarroel, director, diversity marketing, Maybelline New York-Garnier, L’Oréal USA.

Key Takeaways Surround Differentiation

Ballas-Traynor noted that getting to know what differentiates the Latina consumer is key, and that it is important to find out how she is different.

“While the Latina consumer is tuned in to the traditional market, she also has key preferences,” she said.

Trujillo Gómez agreed, “We are not a one size fits all and I urge the industry to take a look at us to know the individual nature of the Latina market.”

Villaroel of Maybelline New York-Garnier, emphasized research.

“Make sure you test all areas of the marketing mix and do the research to find out what will work, for example, nourished hair, better color, luminous lashes,” he said. “We don’t always focus on the general market. It’s important to know your consumer, do the research and know how you are reaching the Latina consumer,” he added.

“Develop key relationships with media to build initiatives in the multicultural space," added Page of Macy’s.

She noted the success of the Tu Corazon heart health initiative, Latina Scholarship program, and other campaigns which bring in diverse vendors, and help them grow their business plans while enabling Macy’s to better serve their customers with special needs. Page noted that 16-17% of Macy’s consumer demographic is Hispanic.

Villaroel noted that his business model differed from Kristyn’s, stating, “We didn’t have to change our messaging completely, but did change models, and also initiated marketing teams to view multicultural perspectives. It’s important to know all the media buying companies. We have all the moving parts working together and we are able to bring them together in the stores, with our products,” he said.

Kristyn Page emphasized the importance of understanding by door, what your customer is looking for, and making sure they have the right products for the community. Ballas-Traynor, People en Español, said that while beauty has traditionally been an important aspect of Latina purchase, she is noting a more relaxed trend now, as more Latinas are entering the market.

“We are seeing a little more relaxed beauty routine as Latinas become more acculturated. You can still look great in the morning, but can cut down on some of the products. This new, empowered Latina, does tend to be a bit more relaxed now,” she said.

She emphasized the changes that have been taking place over the generations, stating, “It’s more a bi-cultural reality now, where Latinas feel good about their heritage and are also becoming more acculturated and relaxed about it.”

Trujillo Gómez agreed, “The contemporary Latina is blending two cultures. We love to socialize, to talk to people, to look good, and to shop for our family. The Latina is living her dream, and even if she’s running around in her Reeboks, her stilettos aren’t far behind.”