Debates over immigration policy have raised awareness of Hispanic people in the United States, but not provided much of a back story about Spanish influences in America and Spanish as a language and cultural marker.
MotionPoint, which specializes in multilingual website development, has produced an infographic with some startling data points such as there are 40.5 million Spanish-speaking people living in the United States, the second largest language group behind English speakers.
The Spanish language is freighted with cultural meaning for Hispanics, whether they are recent immigrants or have lived in the United States for more than a generation. It shouldn’t be surprising because Hispanic people have left a significant and proud footprint in the discovery and development of the New World and of America.
The larger message MotionPoint makes through its infographic – it is a serious mistake and missed opportunity to overlook Spanish and Spanish speakers. Here is some of the evidence:
- The growth of Hispanic internet users has grown from 65 percent to 84 percent from 2009 to 2015.
- The growth of Spanish-dominant internet users in that same period has risen from 36 percent to 74 percent.
- Eighty-three percent of US Hispanics use a mobile device for product research while in-store, which explains why Amazon.com now features a Spanish language option on its e-commerce site.
- The combined purchasing power of US Hispanics in 2016 totaled $1.4 trillion, roughly 10 percent of total US consumer purchasing power.
- Ninety-five percent of US Hispanics believe future generations should speak Spanish as well as English.
- More than 400 million people view Spanish as their native tongue, making it the world’s second-most spoken language behind Mandarin Chinese. (English is third, Hindi fourth and Arabic fifth)
Connecting with Spanish speakers is more complex than using Google Translate. MotionPoint points to the need for cultural fluency, which requires a certain amount of respect for Hispanic cultural and contributions. Marketers might do well to travel to Spain where influences on America are just about everywhere, from architecture to food to religious faith or to Latin American countries to see their sense of family and their willingness to undertake hard labor to improve their economic lot in life.
The debate over immigration can be raw, mixing together fears of terrorism, gangs and drugs with the aspirations of people trying to escape poverty and oppression. One way to cut through rhetoric is, with MotionPoint’s assistance, to see the broader economic opportunity, to see Hispanics as a sizable, growing bloc of consumers with families to feed and clothe and smart phones to research products and buy them online.
You will be glad you did because Hispanics are becoming a larger segment of the US population, predicted to rise to 30 percent or more by 2060.
[Information for this blog also came from an article written by Robby Brumberg for ragan.com.]