Unilever's Hispanic market study uncovers new shopper insights

Behavior-based research provides retailers real in-store solutions

EnglewoodCliffs, NJ – May 08, 2006 – Viewed for the first time through a behavioral lens, the study entitled "Winning the Hispanic Shopping Trip," examined the actual Hispanic shopper's activities, reviewing more than 3,600 diaries and store receipts. This is a radical departure from the traditional methodology of "Q&A" techniques as the diaries and receipts serve to further verify consumer responses to questionnaires.

This groundbreaking study provides retailers with real practical in-store solutions to meet the Hispanic shopper's needs and expectations.

"Retailers have an important opportunity to build their business amongst Hispanic shoppers. The Unilever Hispanic Shopping Trip Study shows that the Hispanic consumer is less satisfied with their shopping experiences than is the general market consumer," stated Michael Polk, President, Unilever United States. "We're confident that the Hispanic shopper insights in this study will help retailers develop more specific actions as they look to build their strategies for reaching these increasingly important shoppers."

To provide a new perspective on the needs and expectations of the nation's fastest-growing grocery market, the study applied retail growth lessons learned from the 2005 Unilever Trip Management Report, which examined general market consumer behavior.

The new research focused on four of the largest Hispanic markets in the U.S.: Houston, Los Angeles, Miami and New York. 799 participants took part and nearly 9 out of every 10 respondents were born outside of the U.S., either in Mexico, Central or South America, or the Caribbean.

The study also reveals that because food plays such a dominant role in a Hispanic woman's life, all shopping activities are highly planned.

"From family to community, food for Hispanic Americans has an emotional and cultural significance that extends beyond eating. Hence, the Hispanic shopper thinks about every aspect of food shopping and preparation," added Mike Twitty, Sr. Group Research Manager, Shopper Insight, Unilever United States. "She plans her trips carefully – apparently more so than the general market shopper – and not only around what she has at home and what she needs, but around the value she can obtain."

Although much has been said about how different Hispanic shoppers are from each other depending on their countries of origin, this study points out that while they may be different in the foods they want, they're the same in their shopping behavior. This includes the frequency and type of shopping trips they take.

Routine trips are not characterized by any specific item; Hispanic shoppers have different routines for different product categories, but they happen where they find the convenience and service appealing.

The study also warns that the Hispanic consumer is a highly food-involved, smart, efficient and value-oriented shopper; one that retailers ignore at their own peril.

Additional key findings include:

  • The Hispanic Shopper makes a higher number of bigger trips, Fill-In and Major Stock-Up, and far fewer Quick Trips than the general market consumer.
  • Quick Trips are just 44% of all trips she makes vs. 62% for general market shoppers. Non-food items drive Quick Trips for the Hispanic Shopper.
  • Hispanic women are significantly more aware (by a 48% to 36% margin) of "specials" before going to the store than are general market shoppers. Even within the store, Hispanics' awareness of specials is higher than the general markets.
  • Nearly 1 in 4 Hispanic shoppers walk or take public transportation (22%) compared to just 1 in 33 of general market consumers. Geography is responsible for choice, as is value.
  • She knows her needs beforehand, hence a full 56% of her trips are routine vs. 26% in the general market.
  • The Hispanic Shopper may spend less per routine trip, but a full 54% of her total grocery spending occurs on routine trips vs. 22% in the general market.
  • Even more dramatic, only 2% of her trips are urgent, vs. 19% for the general market – that's 1 in 50 compared to 1 in 5.
  • More than half surveyed use cash, one quarter used a debit card and 11% paid with a credit card. Only 2% paid by check.
  • 35% of all Hispanic shopping trips occur after 6 p.m. compared to only 18% in the general market.
  • Hispanic shoppers are shopping with someone else – most frequently with kids – on 29% of all trips, compared to 23% in the general market.
  • They’re nearly twice as likely to be shopping with a non-family member, such as a friend, than is the general market.

About Unilever

Unilever [NYSE: UL, UN], one of the world's largest consumer products companies, aims to add vitality to life by meeting everyday needs for nutrition, hygiene and personal care. Each day, around the world, consumers make 150 million decisions to purchase Unilever products. The company has a portfolio of brands that make people feel good, look good and get more out of life.

In the United States these brands include recognized names such as: Axe, "all," Ben & Jerry's, Bertolli, Breyers, Caress, Country Crock, Degree, Dove personal care products, Hellmann's, Lipton, Knorr, Popsicle, Promise, Q-Tips, Skippy, Slim-Fast, Snuggle, Suave and Vaseline. All of the preceding brand names are registered trademarks of the Unilever Group of Companies. Dedicated to serving consumers and the communities where we live, work and play, Unilever in the United States employs more than 15,000 people in 74 office and manufacturing sites in 24 states and Puerto Rico – generating more than $13 billion in sales in 2005. For more information, visit www.unileverusa.com .

Sabrina Glavan

700 Sylvan Avenue

Englewood Cliffs

New Jersey 07632

T: 877-995-4483

MediaRelations.usa@unilever.com

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