Hispanics' grocery shopping habits differ from average US consumers
- The latest "Why Behind the Buy" report by Acosta and Univision Communications finds that Hispanic consumers shop more often and visit a greater variety of stores than the overall U.S. consumer base, reports Supermarket News.
- The survey found 30% of Hispanics purchase groceries at ethnic-focused stores. In addition, 91% have bought some groceries and household items at traditional grocers during the past six months.
- Hispanic families look at shopping more as a group activity than other racial demographics. They are more likely to grocery shop with their spouse or partner and children. And they like to plan meals, participate in cooking classes and try new products.
With about 60 million Hispanic shoppers in the U.S., many of whom crave the authentic flavors and experiences of Mexico and Central America, Hispanic grocers are poised for rapid growth. According to Nielsen data, Hispanic consumers spend $175 more per year on fresh foods than the average individual.
Grocery shopping for many Hispanic shoppers is a special trip, often made with family members. More than two-thirds of Hispanics say they enjoy grocery shopping, while 79% — nearly twice the percentage of total U.S. shoppers — say they shop with at least one other person, according to Nielsen
Hispanic supermarkets are typically sensory experiences — places where people can sample fresh-made tortillas and juices, watch butchers slice up roasted meats, and buy a wide range of culturally significant products like tropical produce and authentic prepared foods. Their offerings overlap with traditional grocers in many areas, but are distinct enough to earn the loyalty of millions of customers.
One chain, Cardenas Markets, is focused on expanding its footprint beyond its home in California. The retailer recently purchased seven Los Altos Ranch Market stores in Arizona from Northgate Gonzalez Markets. Its goal is to become the nation's largest Hispanic retailer. Meanwhile, two other Hispanic grocery chains, Northgate Gonzalez Markets and Superior Grocers, are focused on building out the Southern California market, with Superior Grocers now even teaming with Instacart on home delivery.
Hispanic grocers and other ethnic stores have become major competitors in select markets throughout the country. In addition to serving a rapidly growing Hispanic population, these retailers also serve a number of non-Hispanic consumers that visit for the authentic products and food stations these stores offer.
But as the Acosta/Univision Communications study shows, Hispanics also like to shop around at various stores, including traditional supermarkets and other grocery stores. As a result, mainstream supermarkets have an opportunity to capture more shopping dollars from Hispanic consumers, especially if they understand some key nuances in their shopping patterns compared to the general consumer population and other demographic groups.
Some large chains such as Kroger and Walmart have already started remaking stores in key regions to include tortillerias, which turn out fresh-made tortillas, as well as increasing the amount of authentic Hispanic products they carry. Southeastern Grocers has been busy converting some of its Winn-Dixie stores to its Fresco Y Mas banner in Florida. Earlier this month, Albertsons announced it made an investment in El Rancho Supermercado, a 16-store chain in Texas that serves predominantly Latino customers.
A recent LoyaltyOne study reveals there is enormous opportunity for retailers in the area of ethnic marketing because many shoppers aren't finding the products they want and need in their local grocery stores. Many say they would buy more from stores that stock ethnic products. With the U.S. Census Bureau projecting the number of Hispanic consumers to more than double in the U.S. during the next 40 years, it would be smart for more conventional grocers eager to boost sales and margins to figure out how to cater to this increasingly influential consumer segment.
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