Conducting market research in the Hispanic market

Editor’s note: Zamir Lima is the managing director, U.S. and LatAm Sample at ThinkNow. This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared under the title "A Simple and Effective Guide to Segmenting Your Hispanic Market Research Sample."

Conducting market research in the Hispanic market can be challenging, especially for researchers unfamiliar with the community or living in another country. Here is a quick guide to building a representative sample and obtaining accurate results. 

Define the study objectives

Before you begin, establish clear research objectives. Determine the information you need and the questions you want to answer. This will help you focus the study and determine the aspects of the Hispanic community you want to investigate.

Segment the Hispanic market

The Hispanic community is diverse with varying cultural, linguistic and geographical characteristics. To better understand their needs and preferences, consider segmenting the Hispanic market into more specific groups based on factors like country of origin, generation, income level and geographic location. This segmentation will allow for a more comprehensive analysis of each segment. 

Hispanic people are geographically distributed throughout the country, with certain areas experiencing higher concentrations: 

  • Southwest: California, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico have significant Hispanic populations. In California, cities such as Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco have substantial Hispanic communities. In Texas, San Antonio, Houston and El Paso have sizable Hispanic populations.
  • Southeast: Florida is home to a large Hispanic population, particularly in the Miami and Hialeah areas. Additionally, cities like Orlando and Tampa also have significant Hispanic communities.
  • Northeast: In the northeastern United States, cities such as New York, Philadelphia and Boston have considerable Hispanic populations. New York, in particular, boasts one of the country's largest and most diverse Hispanic populations.
  • Midwest: Although to a lesser extent than other regions, the Midwest also has noteworthy Hispanic communities. Chicago, Illinois, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for example, have considerable Hispanic populations.

Design the questionnaire

Create a questionnaire that aligns with your research objectives and is tailored to the Hispanic audience. Use clear and understandable language, avoiding jargon or complex concepts. Translate the questionnaire into Spanish for those who prefer to respond in their native language.

Consider Hispanic culture

Culture plays a vital role in the Hispanic community's attitudes, behaviors and preferences. When conducting your research, consider relevant cultural aspects like family, traditions, values and festivities. Doing so will help you understand how these cultural nuances influence Hispanic consumer purchasing decisions and behavior. 

Use multiple data collection channels

To ensure a representative sample of the Hispanic community, it is important to analyze the ideal data collection channels. These channels include online surveys, telephone interviews, focus groups and in-person interviews to offer options for individuals with different communication preferences. 

Consider linguistic diversity

English and Spanish proficiency among Hispanic individuals vary. If relevant to your study, offer bilingual response options or allow participants to respond in their preferred language. High acculturation levels indicate predominantly English-speaking individuals and medium levels denote balanced bilingualism where individuals speak Spanish and English equally. Low levels of acculturation represent non-acculturated individuals who do not speak or adopt the English language. 

Analyze the results

Once data is collected, analyze it appropriately. Conduct comparative analyses among different segments of the Hispanic community and compare them with other relevant demographic groups. Look for patterns, trends and significant differences to obtain valuable insights.

Remember that each market research study is unique and may require specific approaches. Adapting your research methods and questions to the Hispanic community will help you obtain more relevant and valuable data, enabling informed decision-making in your marketing strategy.