Qué Pasa? Ambicultural Hispanics & Other Multiculturals

Photo by Moodboard on Flickr

Ambicultural Hispanics are the fastest-growing market segment of multicultural super consumers – a subset of the larger group of overall consumers that drive the most value with 30-50% of the sales, growth and profits. Young multicultural super consumers are technologically proficient, particularly in the areas of social media and online shopping. Ambicultural refers to their ease straddling their root culture and mainstream American culture. Hispanics, Asians and African Americans comprise the three largest multicultural growth groups, with Hispanics in the lead, expected to make up 29% of the total U.S. population by 2060, up from 17% a few years ago.

Source: The Multicultural Edge: Rising Super Consumers (Nielsen white paper)

That’s taking into consideration the fact that U.S. immigration growth has been slowing for years. Consider this: By 2050 Hispanics are expected to drive a full 85% of the total U.S. population growth.

Bilingual Ambicultural Hispanics

Marketing to Hispanics isn’t just about Spanish translation. A Pew Research Center study shows that the majority of Hispanics are bilingual and the children of immigrants are the most likely to be bilingual at around 50%. Multicultural super consumers possess a high degree of technological proficiency and use, with ambicultural Hispanics shopping online in both languages. For companies considering localization for Spanish-speaking American consumers, the shoppers aren’t necessarily looking for Spanish because that’s their primary language but because it connects with them emotionally as consumers who look for that personalized edge from marketers, products and brands that clearly understand their desires, preferences and their culture. That’s an important point for your marketing strategy, which needs to consider why you need Spanish localization. Is it because they like marketers who recognize their multiculturalism or because they’re not English-proficient enough for an English language website? You’ll want to localize for both but the process and approach will differ.

Young African-Americans and Asians, along with Hispanics are also highly multi/ambicultural and are key to sharing and spreading the word about brands, products and services they like to their “Non-Hispanic white friends” as marketers like to refer to them. Today’s youth love exploring other cultures and adopting what they like in a cultural mix ‘n’ match.

According to a study by EthniFacts and LatinWorks, Hispanics more than any other multicultural group particularly aspire to be ambicultural. They fully embrace their Hispanic and American identities and aspire to be comfortably between both worlds.

Related: “Hispanic” vs “Latino” vs “Latin”

Spanish, English & Spanglish

Spanish search inquiries are going up but that doesn’t mean Hispanic youth necessarily prefer Spanish.  Only twenty percent will look for a Spanish website if they find an English website instead. What matters most is getting the information they need from the quickest route possible. Google research indicates that Spanish search queries have risen 200% across key categories in a recent three-year period, yet plenty of primarily Spanish speakers are still accustomed to searching online in English.

‘Spanglish’, is the linguistic blending of Spanish and English that combined with the proper relevant messaging offers another way to reach out to ambicultural Hispanics seeking that happy medium. It resonates particularly with Hispanic Millennials.

Related: What Language to Use When Communicating with Hispanic Millennials (IPsos white paper)

Understanding the needs, desires and values of multicultural consumers, particularly young super consumers, is a critical component of your localization strategy. For American companies, the first localization language is Spanish but it’s a mistake to assume that it’s only for those Americans who aren’t fluent in English. Young Hispanics, whether they’re immigrants or children of immigrants, are far more bilingual and desire Spanish localization not because they’re not comfortable enough with English but because they appreciate brands and organizations that appreciate them, their culture and values.

Spanish localization, along with any other translation effort, involves considering your target audience and what’s important to them. A multicultural approach combined with a strong and accurate translation effort will be of service to those who prefer to shop in their own language and will also provide the ambiculturals who successfully navigate two cultures and languages with recognition from the retailer.



Yappn Corp is an enhanced machine translation company offering translations in dozens of languages and the ability to work with multicultural marketing requirements. For more information please contact sales@yappn.com or call us at +1.905.763.3510 x246.


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Written by Nicole Chardenet, Sales Development Rep at Yappn


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