Seven Hispanic Market Stories to Watch in 2016By Jose Villa
As we begin 2016, we anticipate what the New Year has in store for our industry. I have never been afraid of making predictions, but I think 2016 will be unpredictable. So I’ll instead highlight important stories and trends to track. Latin American Immigration This topic has the most direct impact on Hispanic marketing – both in the short- and long-term. Since 2008, net immigration from Mexico has steadily decreased, to where the most recent figures show net negative immigration. In 2016, it’s important to watch net immigration from Central America, the Caribbean and South America, not just Mexico. So many factors influence immigration trends. It’s hard to know how and what effect U.S. and Latin American geo-political and economic factors will have. The 2016 U.S. presidential election, global economic trends, rising interest rates and the Obama Administration’s immigration policies can push immigration in different directions. Fusion The struggling joint venture cable and digital news network aimed at Hispanic Millennials has been in the news recently, as Disney looks to exit. Univision appears to be doubling down on the venture. Fusion will no doubt change its business model and evolve its strategy. This year is likely “do or die” for Fusion. It could be a harbinger for the future of Hispanic media in general. “Total Market” The phrase has entered into the core lexicon of most marketers, ad agencies, and media companies. However, the exact definition of “total market” continues to be debated and how it works is even more nebulous. The phrase’s evolution in 2016 will have significant implications for multicultural marketing and how it lives both inside brands and advertising agencies into the future. Hispanic Advertising Agencies There is no better barometer for the state of Hispanic marketing than the health of Hispanic advertising agencies. Will there be further consolidation in 2016 of fewer and fewer major Hispanic assignments with a handful of large Hispanic ad agencies? Will new upstarts disrupt the industry in 2016? Will there be any new high-profile Hispanic-focused ad shops in 2016? LIBRE Initiative Unless you’re a DC-based politico, you’ve probably never heard of the LIBRE Initiative. This non-partisan, right-leaning non-profit is rewriting the rules for engaging Hispanics nationwide. Regardless of where you stand on its message of economic freedom and empowerment for Hispanics, LIBRE could have a major impact on the 2016 elections at all levels. If effective, its tactics and approach could provide a new model for influencing the hearts, minds, votes (and eventually purchases) of diverse Hispanic populations across the U.S. Independent Hispanic Grocers As my colleague Karla Fernandez-Parker has noted, these grocers are big business among the growing Hispanic market. Grocery chains like Northgate in Southern California and Fiesta Mart Supermarkets in Texas have seen astronomical growth during the last 10 years, providing an in-culture alternative to the big box stores and traditional grocers. However, most face a demographic challenge as the Hispanic population gets younger and more native-born. Will they be able to attract younger Hispanic and other Millennial groups? Retail, CPG, food, beverage, beer and spirits brands should pay close attention in 2016. Hispanic Gen Z As Gen Z comes into greater focus in 2016, will we come to understand the nearly one quarter of Gen Z who are Hispanic? As the largest generational cohort of Hispanics alive in the U.S. today, they will have an immediate impact on the higher education, financial services, QSR, entertainment & media, and food & beverage sectors. More broadly, they will have a profound impact on the future of the Hispanic market. An edited version of this blog post originally ran on MediaPost Engage:Hispanic on January 7, 2016.