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2012: Economic Optimism – A Shared Perspective?

As we kicked off 2012, we launched a study in Communispace’s proprietary Idea Space communities in collaboration with SMG Multicultural to get a pulse for consumer feelings and emotions – and how they might differ across Hispanic and General Market (non-Hispanic) segments.

Both groups of respondents share a similar perspective as they look back on 2011, and outlook as they think ahead to 2012. Not only do they select the same emotions (from an aided list) to describe their feelings towards the past and future [a], but they also use the same terms when asked to share the top three words that come to mind as they launch into the New Year (open-ended) [b].

[inset a]

[inset b]

(General Market Consumers)

 (Hispanic Market Consumers)

Admittedly, we had gone into this study expecting to see more differences, considering that, Hispanics tend to be more ‘optimistic’ and ‘hopeful’ than their non-Hispanic counterparts when it comes to attitudes toward the economy. The data says otherwise, perhaps suggesting that Hispanic optimism (as is the case with other cultural factors) might be rubbing off on their non-Hispanic counterparts.

So if we’re feeling the same emotions, does that mean we’re one homogenous market after all? Not quite. A closer look at our findings reveals nuances which reinforce the need to distinguish the Hispanic market as a distinct consumer group to ensure meaningful communication.

For one example, both groups (Hispanics and the General Market) expressed the same emotions towards 2011 and 2012, but Hispanics tended to feel the positive emotions more strongly and the negative emotions less strongly than did General Market respondents [c]. And although both groups have similar plans and aspirations for the coming year, they are motivated by different benefits.

[inset c]

Yes – everyone wants better, more stable jobs and additional dollars in their savings account. Many also hope they’ll be more relaxed, less stressed and healthier in 2012. However, drivers for Hispanics’ responses hinge on family values (ability to support the family, promoting unity and spending more time together) while General Market respondents, on the other hand, seem to be more motivated by universal or individual success. ‘Spending more time as a family’ is the number-one activity Hispanics hope to “do more of” in 2012 (65% select this, compared with 46% of General Market respondents, whose top selection was ‘exercise’). And interestingly, roughly 70% of Hispanic community members believe their family values are somehow different than “regular” family values in the U.S.

“For this year I just want to be home with my family and for all my loved ones to stay in good health. A little bit of extra money wouldn’t hurt either to allow me to spend more time with family members.” – Cecil R., Hispanic community member

“On a completely personal level, I’m hoping to find a true partner this year, someone who can enrich my life and make me happier. I’m tired of being single. Speaking more broadly, I’m hoping the country–and the world–will do whatever it can to improve everyone’s standard of living and make life more comfortable (financially and otherwise).” – James G., General Market community member

While Hispanics’ “resilient optimism” and devotion to the family unit may be known, the fine distinctions between General Market and Hispanic market mindsets will prove important to keep in mind as brands develop Hispanic marketing campaigns and strategies for 2012 and beyond. The next generation of Hispanics may be speaking our language (on more than one level), but they’ll still relate better to messages delivered in their accent.

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