Those born after 1996 are considered Gen Z and their evolving profile as consumers is catching the attention of marketers as a generation born and raised in a digitally dominant world. Gen Z Latinos are leading the way in a growing Hispanic population, and are on their way to becoming the main engine of population and economic change in the U.S. within the next decade.
One in four Gen Zers are Hispanic. The explosive growth of the Latino Gen Z market requires consideration now. All companies, both small and large, must pay close attention. Gen Z has faced the COVID pandemic, the acceleration of global warming, a divided nation due to social unrest and are a force to reckon with in elections as a mighty voter bloc.
Hispanics were also responsible for 81 percent of US labor force growth from 2008 to 2018 and Gen Z is key to recruitment by corporate America and across most industries for the foreseeable future.
Also, worth noting is the median age for Hispanic Americans: 29.8—nearly nine years lower than the median age of 38.5 for the U.S. population as a whole and a catalyst for Hispanic trends fueling the economic engine in the U.S.m which include:
- Increased homeownership
- Increased wealth
- Increased representation in the Labor Force
- The rise of Gen Z
According to Pew Research, “Members of Gen Z are more racially and ethnically diverse than any previous generation, and they are on track to be the most well-educated generation yet. They are also digital natives who have little or no memory of the world as it existed before smartphones.”
Corporate America must invest in talent pipeline development to create a robust U.S. labor force and economy. Consider that what makes Gen Z Latinos different from the rest of the Latino population is their educational attainment. The gap between Hispanics’ and Whites’ high school completion rate has been closing in recent decades. Nonetheless, completion of postsecondary education remains low, limiting Latinos’ access to jobs requiring these credentials.
I believe that creating pathways for educational, entrepreneurial and economic opportunities for Hispanics is the driver for job creation and consumer spending, and is key to building intergenerational wealth. Identifying allies within the nonprofit Hispanic organizations and forming partnerships to address diversity, equity and inclusion in companies is a proven strategy to leverage Hispanic representation and progress across all industries.
Moreover, investing in DE&I initiatives is most effective when the C-Suite leads a company’s transformation as a business imperative. DE&I tactics go beyond diversity in hiring and celebrating an affinity group, race or culture once a year. An effective DE&I model digs deep and wide across an enterprise to have a clear assessment of how a company is poised to manage growing expectations from the people they desire to engage. Gen Z has grown up in a decade in which people hit the streets to claim social justice, and they pay attention to what a brand represents.
Is your company ready to include Hispanic marketing as a business imperative? Get going!
Knowing what we know about buying power, age, demographics, consumer habits and the explosive growth of this market segment, it makes business sense to consider these facts.
Gen Z is the demographic power block of future consumers. Most 11-year-olds in the U.S. are Hispanic; so, in effect, the future is now. They are establishing brand loyalty, are tech savvy and leading the way in the metaverses, having been immersed in gaming and social media platforms in the last decade.
Doubtful? Consider urban musical phenomenon, Bad Bunny and his skyrocketing success—record-setting, sold-out concerts, and a social media following of 30M+ on Instagram alone. The Puerto Rican-born singer made history when he won artist of the year (2020) at MTV's Video Music Awards—according to the L.A. Times he is the first non-English-language performer to win the title.
Once referred to as the sleeping giant, this community is no longer drowsy.
Gen Z Latinos are ready, and able, to live the American Dream all of us are afforded, if given the hard-earned opportunity.
Gloria Rodriguez is president and CEO of Comunicad.