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The Latino Boom is a Wake Up Call for Marketers

05/13/11 Chiqui Cartagena

Like the Boomer generation before them, Latinos will redefine America for the next 50 years!

It struck me while reading the latest Ad Age Insights White Paper, “50 and over: What’s Next,” sponsored by AARP, that the Boomer generation and the Hispanic consumer actually have a lot in common.

“They were the first youth generation,” the report says, referring to the Boomers. And although their demographic impact started to become evident in the 1960s when the first Boomers entered their teen years, the consensus today is that, as a generation, the Baby Boomers redefined every lifestage they entered over the past 50 years. They affected every category they touched and forced Corporate America and Madison Avenue to change the status quo, too. Still today, Boomers continue to have that effect as they start to retire en masse.

Today’s youth generation is the Latino Boom. Hispanics are almost 10 years younger, on average, than other Americans.  Now, compound that with this fact: as Boomers retire, the labor pool of the United States will begin to decrease by 10,000 people every day. That’s right, every day… for the next 15 years! Sixty percent of those retiring will be white men, and they will be replaced in the labor force primarily by women and minorities.

When you look at the numbers, you can’t help but see the parallels. Today’s Latinos are, in fact, the new Baby Boom—something I have been saying for a while and that the 2010 Census helps us see clearly. Here are just a few facts that put it in perspective for me:

Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) are a large demographic group that is 78 million strong but decreasing in size every year. Latinos are currently 50 million strong but growing by at least 1.5 million people each year. By the time the last of the Baby Boomers turns 65, the Latino population in the U.S. is predicted to reach 77 million!

As a consumer force today, the Boomers have $3 trillion in disposable income, according to Ad Age, while today’s Latino consumers have $1.2 trillion in disposable income and growing fast. According to the Selig Center for Economic Studies, Hispanic buying power is projected to grow to $1.5 trillion by 2014! You can see how Latinos will quickly surpass the $3 trillion mark as the population of Latinos in the U.S. continues to grow. Plus, Hispanic households are filled with children—on average three kids per household—demanding and using more and more products than, say, people in their Golden Years.

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