The most influential segment since the baby boomers, upscale Hispanics are driving shifts in category consideration, purchasing behavior and brand relationship, according to a study conducted by AHAA: The Voice of Hispanic Marketing in conjunction with Nielsen.
AHAA studied Hispanic households earning $50,000-$100,000 a year, dissecting demographics, lifestyle, financial and investment behavior, purchasing habits, media consumption and technological adoption. The preliminary meta-study mined Nielsen's responder data, including P$ycle, Homescan, and Nielsen People Meter.
Young, urban and connected
In 2012, upscale Hispanics accounted for 29 percent, or 15 million, of the U.S. Hispanic population, a figure that is expected to double by 2050. Younger than upscale non-Hispanic whites -- at 33 years old on average, compared to 39 years old -- they are living active lifestyles, often with young families.
Their families are larger, too, with 85 percent of upscale Hispanics having a household size of three or more, compared to 65 percent of upscale non-Hispanics.
While upscale Hispanics reside across the country, they are mostly concentrated in urban areas such as Los Angeles, New York, Houston and Miami, although the show significant representation in secondary markets such as Honolulu and Washington, D.C., and Oklahoma City.
Upscale Latinos are technologically savvy, being more likely to use smartphones, own tablet computers and subscribe to one of the top four U.S. mobile providers.
Education and investments
With more than half having attended college, upscale Latinos are more likely to be business owners than upscale non-Hispanics.
Accordingly, the upscale Hispanic segment has a higher concentration of white collar professionals than total U.S. Hispanics. They also represent a larger share within the workforce, with only 19 percent currently not working.
Heavily involved with wealth creation and preservation, upscale Hispanics place a greater emphasis on saving for education compared to upscale non- Hispanics. This segment tends to be homeowners and are financially savvy, with half having investments and 86 percent using savings accounts. They're also more likely to manage their financial accounts from a mobile device.
Mutual funds and stocks are the most commonly used investment opportunities among upscale Hispanics, with the majority more likely to invest in stock plans provided by their employers. In addition, more upscale Hispanics use mutual funds compared to total U.S. Hispanics (21 percent compared to 16 percent).
Media consumption and purchasing behavior
Deeper pockets do not translate to increased assimilation, according to the study. Upscale Hispanics live in two cultures, with three-quarters speaking both English and Spanish.
While they are slightly more English-dominant, their strong cultural duality and bicultural behavior is reflected in their media consumption. More than a third of upscale Hispanics watch content in both languages, with English-language comedies, documentaries and children's programming as the most watched.
However, upscale Latinos will switch to Spanish-language television for cultural events, concerts and sports.
Upscale Latinos have the disposable income to pamper their image, with health and beauty products comprising the overwhelming majority of categories above and beyond upscale non-Hispanic Whites and Hispanics overall.
Men's toiletries, women's fragrances, hair care and cosmetics dominate with an emphasis on brand choices, while alcohol and baby care categories skew to store labels.