Latin Beat

Seize Your Opportunity

Is the Latino market right for you? To analyze your product or service's potential with the U.S. Latino market, first look for any natural demographic or cultural affinity that might give you an advantage. For example, if you sell children's clothing, the fact that Latinos tend to have more children than the general population might mean there's tremendous potential for your product. On the other hand, if your product is an electronic denture cleaner, the fact that Latinos tend to be younger than the general population might suggest your opportunity is limited.

Second, do your homework. The following are a few examples of the kind of information that can be easily found in a library or on the Internet:

  • Latinos tend to use more personal-care items (especially cosmetics and fragrances) than non-Latinos.
  • Latinos tend to have larger households than non-Latinos. This means the primary shopper generally shops more often and buys larger quantities.
  • Latino parents tend to outspend other parents when it comes to their children, particularly on clothing.
  • Latinos spend a great deal of time (and money) keeping in touch with their families back home. Probably for this reason, they outspend their non-Latino counterparts in such areas as long-distance calling, air travel and wire money transfers.

One key to successfully targeting Latino customers: Don't make assumptions. If your product targets a relatively affluent group, such as a home improvement product targeted at homeowners, it would be a mistake to assume there's no opportunity in the Latino market. Almost 60 percent of Latinos in Dallas own their own homes. Where are they buying their home improvement products? Your opportunity might be enormous if you find that no one has addressed this group before--and you step forward to become their home improvement company.

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This article was originally published in the June 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Latin Beat.

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