This time of year everyone comes out with lists of the biggest trends of the past year or bold predictions for the upcoming one. However, you can often forego bold predictions by paying close attention and adapting to big changes taking place right before our eyes. Using this lens, here are eight seismic changes to the Hispanic market that occurred in 2014, with huge implications for how to engage Hispanics in 2015 and beyond:
1. Lower Growth Projected for U.S. Hispanic Population
The U.S. Census lowered previously published Hispanic population projections for 2050 by almost 30 million due to lower than expected Hispanic immigration. While the Hispanic population will continue to grow, U.S. births will be the primary driving force.
2. The Pay TV Bundle Begins to Crumble
In 2014, ESPN, HBO, CBS and DIRECTV launched independent subscription services that have the potential to disrupt the pay TV subscription model. While it will take more defections to fully dismantle the pay TV system, these high profile moves indicate a potential for other programmers to follow and for consumers to cut the cord. While Hispanic consumers have traditionally lagged general market consumers in shifting their media consumption towards streaming and other digital platforms, the decision by DIRECTV to launch Yaveo – an over-the-top service targeted to U.S. Hispanics – indicates one key pay TV player who is betting the crumble might begin to crumble among Hispanic consumers. If DIRECTV is right, the implications for the Hispanic media marketplace cannot be overstated
3. Emerging Hispanic Markets
The emergence of new Hispanic markets, such as Atlanta and Charlotte, North Carolina, was top of mind in 2014. Mexicans have been migrating to nontraditional states in the Southeast and Midwest — Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Wisconsin, Nebraska, etc. — and less to traditional areas in the Border States and the Southwest. These markets may become the next Hispanic population centers.
4. College Enrollment by Hispanics Surpassed Whites
For the first time in 2012, Hispanics’ college enrollment rate among 18- to 24 year-old high school graduates surpassed that of whites, by 49 percent to 47 percent. From 1996 to 2012, college enrollment among Hispanics ages 18 to 24 more than tripled (240 percent increase), outpacing increases among blacks (72 percent) and whites (12 percent). While the high school dropout rate among Hispanics is still higher than for blacks and non-Hispanic whites, it has been dropping as well. The implications for higher education, employers and brands are significant.
5. Brands Speak Spanish in the General Market
2014 saw brands like Hyundai, Target, ESPN, Corona, and Dish Network start to speak in Spanish to the general market. While some view this as an anomaly related specifically to 2014 World Cup advertising campaigns, others see it as one of the ways major brands are beginning to take a “Total Market” approach.
6. Growing Wealth of Hispanics
Hispanics were the only major racial or ethnic group to see a decline in its poverty rate, according to Census Bureau figures released in 2014. The drop in the poverty rate among Hispanics – from 25.6 percent in 2012 to 23.5 percent in 2013, indicates a socio-economic shift taking place in the Hispanic market, being driven by a number of demographic aforementioned trends (education, immigration status, etc.)
7. Hispanics & YouTube
Google announced in 2014 that YouTube views of top U.S. Hispanic channels continued to increase 125 percent per year. One prime example was the bilingual multi-channel network MiTú, which has grown its audience to more than 36 million subscribers. When you consider that Univision tops 10 million viewers during primetime, the emergence of new “networks” and content channels like Hulu and DIRECTV’s Yaveo might indicate a crack in the Hispanic media duopoly of Univision and Telemundo.
8. Hispanics Make Up 20 percent of Kindergartners in One-Third of U.S. States
According to the Pew Research Center, there are 17 states where Latino children comprise at least 20 percent of the public school kindergarten population. Today’s kindergartners offer a glimpse of tomorrow’s demographics – indicating a much more Hispanic population in states like Kansas, Nebraska, and Idaho. In states like California and Texas, Hispanics represent the majority of kindergartners.
An edited version of this post originally ran on MediaPost Engage:Hispanic on January 2, 2015.