Nielsen: Hispanic Millennials Present Big Opportunity for Craft

Nielsen-Logo-Color1It’s hardly news that craft beer is incredibly popular among the millennial demographic. But considering that this consumer base, at least by Nielsen measures, consists of anyone born between 1977 and 1994, it can be hard to market to them armed with that information alone.

As such, the bulk of Thursday’s “Power Hour” conference call, hosted by the Brewers Association, was spent further dissecting this demographic, specifically highlighting the untapped potential there is in the Hispanic population of young drinkers.

To start, drinkers between the age of 21 and 34 consume 35.5 percent of overall craft volume and are 38 percent more likely to buy craft over other legal drinking-aged adults. But while millennials in general may be a strong demographic for craft, there is a lot of opportunity to target younger Hispanic drinkers.

“Addressing the gap on Hispanics in particular could be imperative as the face of America changes and changes quickly,” said Danny Brager, senior vice president of beverage alcohol practice at Nielsen. “We’re making some inroads, which is a good thing, although some of that is attributable to population growth rate differences.”

It’s especially important to target younger Hispanic drinkers, as the median age of Hispanics 21 or older in the U.S. is 28, according to Nielsen. By comparison, among non-Hispanic people, the median age is 42.

“When you think about Hispanics, it’s almost synonymous with youth,” said Maria Monistere, senior manager with Nielsen’s Hispanic Center of Excellence.

To start, Hispanic millennials are picking up some of the traits associated with the average craft beer drinker, said Monistere. They’re more likely to have a college education than the generations that preceded them, leading to a greater chance of landing white collar employment, which in turn leads to higher income. Higher income, of course, is one of the more pronounced characteristics of the average craft beer drinker.

“This is a group that’s scaling upwards in income,” Monistere added.

On that front, the number of Latino households that earn between $75- and $99,0000 grew 31 percent between 2000 and 2011. That’s compared to just 16 percent growth for non-Latino households. Additionally, Latino households earning in excess of $100,000 grew 71 percent against 49 percent growth among non-Latino households during the same time period. All told, the Hispanic demographic is projected to have $1.5 trillion in spending power in 2015.

By marketing to Hispanic millennials, craft beer industry members could make inroads with older Hispanics as well. Monistere said 24 percent of Hispanic Millennials live with their parents and that they impact the rest of the household’s purchasing decisions.

“You may think you’re not reaching the older Hispanics, but because such a large percentage live at home [you are],” she said.

So how can craft reach them? Well, first, Monistere said to view them as equally American and Hispanic.

“See the Latinos as a 200 percent population,” she said. “One hundred percent American and 100 percent Latino.”

She said the demographic is adopting American culture, but not doing it at the expense of its own heritage; 61.3 percent of Hispanic households shop at Hispanic retailers — like Sedano’s, Mi Tienda, Tula Market, and El Super — while 76.8 percent prefer them to English stores, according to Nielsen.

“This is an opportunity for you,” she said. “Are you creating any presence in these stores?”

While it may be worth making a play for shelf space in Hispanic retailers, the demographic is promiscuous as far as where it buys craft beer, according to Monistere, making purchases at a considerably higher rate than non-Hispanics at grocery stores, club stores, convenience stores, and at public events.

“Feel good about what’s happening with the industry because you have this tremendous opportunity with Hispanics,” she said.


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