By Doreen Hemlock | Business Writer | Sun-Sentinel
Corporations are quickly boosting their spending on ads aimed at U.S. Hispanics, but their outlays still fall relatively short compared to the number of Latinos in the U.S. population.
That’s the conclusion of a study released Wednesday as part of an Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies (AHAA) meeting now under way in Coral Gables.
The report looked at 671 major corporate advertisers and found they spent 5.1 percent of their total U.S. ad budgets on Hispanic media last year, up from 3.6 percent in 2000.
Still, that falls below the 9 percent the researchers figure they ought to spend in the mainly Spanish-language media, so they can reach those Hispanics who prefer Spanish or who are comfortable in both Spanish and English.
“While progress has been made, American corporations continue to show insufficient investments to spark sustained, profitable, revenue growth that is proportionate to the huge opportunity in the Hispanic market,” Aida Levitan, the Miami-based Hispanic marketer and AAHA president said in a statement announcing the results.
The report comes as Hispanics rapidly strengthen their position as the largest minority in the United States, accounting for about 12.5 percent of U.S. residents in 2000 and forecast to reach nearly 15 percent next year. Nearly two-thirds of U.S. Latinos are estimated to prefer Spanish or use both Spanish and English, the study found.
Many giant corporations, including McDonald’s and PepsiCo, long have spent heavily on Hispanic media, exceeding 9 percent of their total U.S. ad outlays last year.
The biggest growth now is coming instead from companies outside the top 100 advertisers and ranked in the 101-250 range, said the report, “Advertising Budget Alignment: Maximizing Impact in the Hispanic Market.”
By business category, retailers spent proportionally more than manufacturers: 7.3 percent of their ad budgets compared with 4.8 percent last year, said Carlos Santiago, president of the New York-based Santiago Solutions Group that prepared the study.
Consumer electronics chains, food retailers, drug stores and telecom companies are among the biggest spenders proportionally. Those spending least include pharmaceutical makers, apparel makers, financial services and entertainment firms.
“The value of the Hispanic market is still largely unrecognized in America’s highest boardrooms and planning organizations, while enterprises with an eye on cash registers, store traffic and call volumes best seize Hispanic wallets,” the report concluded.
San Diego-based TNS Market Development/CMR analyzed the data for the study, which will be formally presented at the AAHA meeting at the Biltmore Hotel today.