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Cracking the Latinx Code

December 19, 2023

Understanding Generational Latino Differences to Achieve Effective Marketing

Navigating the US Latino market is a complex endeavor. As brands start to reach this target audience, they need to do more than just slap on a few Spanish words. They must dive headfirst into the culture’s nuances, idioms, history, and traditions. Sound like a lot? It’s only the beginning. 

Recent population studies show that the Latinx experience continues to change and evolve over time. From our special connection to the language to Latinos’ identity struggle, we explore it all in a recent episode of the Chancleta Generation podcast – and this state of cultural flux makes it even harder for brands to resonate with the community. Yet, despite this moving target, some companies manage to become household names among Latinos. How do they do it?  

Here’s the secret sauce: These savvy brands recognize that it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. They get that there are different generations within the Latino community, each with their own unique experiences. If you’re ready to dig deep into these generational nuances, this blog is here to guide you through those subtle differences that make a real impact with US Latinos.

Language Shift

One of the major changes among second and third-generation Latinos is in their use of Spanish. It turns out, not as many of them speak the language like their parents and grandparents used to.

Experts at Pew Research Center have been keeping an eye on this trend. In a 2023 survey, they found that the percentage of Latinos speaking Spanish at home has actually dropped over the years – from 78% in 2000 to 68% in 2021. And for those born in the US, this number has gone down from 66% to 55%.

Does this mean that Spanish is slowly disappearing? Not at all! The evolution of the US Latino culture is more subtle than that. What we see nowadays is that the youth use Spanish to emphasize certain words that are so intrinsic to the culture, they simply don’t hit the same in English. Rather than Spanish dying, what we’re seeing is how Spanish transforms to reflect our cultural experience.

With language as an important part of the culture, this shifting dynamic changes the way younger Latinos relate to their roots, families, and heritage. By understanding how language impacts Latinx cultural identity, brands can create campaigns that are more relevant, authentic, and representative of what audiences are going through.

Progressive Belief Systems

When looking at social values, it’s important to note that first-generation Latinos often hold views considered more conservative compared to later generations. According to the Pew Research Center’s study on Generational Differences

  • 46% of first-generation Latinos find divorce unacceptable, while only 36% of their second-generation counterparts share the same beliefs
  • 83% of first generations oppose abortion, versus 64% of second-generation Latinos who are pro-life
  • 91% of first-generation Latinos believe children should live at home until marriage, while only 61% of second generations feel the same way

These differences in social values across generations can play a big role in how brands connect with different subgroups of the Latino market. Whether you’re trying to reach the more conservative first-generation crowd or speak to the second-generation’s liberal perspective, it’s important to understand these evolving views and create messaging that resonates with the audience’s mindset.

Increasing Financial Opportunities

Latino wealth has been on the rise for the last 20 years. A new Brookings Metro Report found that second-generation Latinos are doing particularly well in terms of economic progress and educational opportunities. 

Of course, we still have a ways to go in terms of closing the disparity gap between Latinx and white families. But with second-generation Latinos having a higher net worth and more upward mobility than previous generations, brands can tap into this increased access to disposable income to craft campaigns that reflect Latino success and empower the community.

Growing Media Consumption

Latinos in the US tend to be younger than other ethnic groups. In fact, about a quarter of Latinos are millennials while a third of the Latinx in this country are under the age of 18; and this shows in how the community consumes media. A whopping 91% of Latino millennials use social media and young Latinx own devices at the same rate as non-hispanics.

With so many Latinos liking, sharing, and commenting on online content, brands need to connect with this youth-driven community. This means that marketing campaigns targeting this group should go where Latinos go. By taking advantage of social media channels and mobile platforms, you can effectively reach and get your message out to the community. 

Marketing to Generations of US Latinos

To run top-notch campaigns that hit the mark, it’s crucial to understand the generational differences among Latinos. 

If you want to learn more about how the evolving US Latino experience affects our choices, reach out to the Moira team today. Our collective life experiences and deep understanding of the market can help your brand engage with the different generations of Latinos in this country and seize the opportunities to connect with this influential demographic.

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