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Changing US demographics bring marketing opportunities: Nielsen

By Caroline Scott-Thomas , 16-Mar-2010

Specific ethnic groups have distinct trends in shopping habits, and product marketing should be tailored to reflect them, advises market research organization The Nielsen Company.

By 2050, it is predicted that more than half the US population will be non-white, Nielsen said. Currently, the African-American, Hispanic and Asian populations in the United States are responsible for about $299bn of CPG (consumer packaged goods) spending, and the market researcher estimates that this could rise by as much as 25 percent over the next 10 years, to $373bn in today’s money.

For food marketers, tapping into the trends of different ethnic groups means understanding not only how people eat, but also through which media they are likely to pay attention to product marketing. For example, Nielsen says that African-Americans tend to spend more on food consumed at home when compared to the general population, but do not use coupons or buy products on deals as often as other demographics.

Coupons

As the recession deepened in the United States, food manufacturers were urged to increase the prevalence of coupons and other discounts in their marketing strategies, as more consumers were looking for ways to save. Coupon use rocketed. Inmar CMS Promotion Services, which acts as a middleman in promotional transactions, including coupons, said that marketers made 317 billion coupons available in 2008 – bringing volume back up to levels from a decade ago.

However, Nielsen’s research suggests that such a strategy may not prove as popular with African-Americans. On the other hand, this group has “the highest TV usage of any demographic at nearly 80 hours a week per household.”

The research organization said that Hispanic households also tend to spend more on food consumed at home than the population as a whole and, like African-American households, watch more broadcast and satellite TV.

In contrast, Asian-Americans tend to eat more often outside the home on average than the population as a whole, are more likely to have newer technologies, and watch less television.

Nielsen figures show that currently Hispanics represent 11.8 percent of CPG spending, African-Americans 11 percent, and Asian-Americans 3 percent.

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