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Outreach to Hispanics more important than ever

MIAMI — Manning the Discover Boating center at the Progressive Miami International Boat Show surely reminds me that Hispanic families like boating and that they are an important target market for boating’s future growth.

It might be more apparent in Miami where more than 61 percent of the population is Hispanic, but many areas around the country boast large communities. In fact, there are already more than 25 key Hispanic markets in the U.S.

In the Discover Boating center here, we get the chance to talk with so many Hispanic families that show manager Cathy Rick-Joule arranges for a Spanish-speaking assistant in the display. And if there’s any doubt Hispanics are interested in boating and fishing, just spend an hour in this exhibit.

For dealers wanting to reach Hispanics, providing information that’s mobile-friendly for smartphones is a key route. Hispanics use their mobile devices more than 14 hours a week for apps, audio, video and web purposes. That makes them the most avid smartphone users around, according to Nielsen’s recent Total Audience Report.

More specifically, the average Hispanic mobile user consumes 658 minutes per month on their mobile plan. This is far more than the average 510 minutes per month for consumers overall. Compared to other ethnic groups, they are highly loyal customers, too, least likely to switch and change. It clearly suggests that Hispanics stay with brands they like and with which they are familiar. Their high usage of mobile devices provides a lucrative opportunity for those dealers in the mobile space.

Targeting the Hispanic market makes sense on many levels. For example, Hispanics will represent more than 50 percent of the population growth in the nation by 2020 and nearly 85 percent of the growth by 2060. In addition, their current $1.4 trillion spending power will only grow.

It’s a major reason why the New Markets Task Force of the Recreational Boating Leadership Council is undertaking an educational initiative to help dealers and other stakeholders understand diversity and successfully engage and sell to markets like Hispanics.

The New Markets Task Force is producing a 45-minute industry training module incorporating a mix of updated data and content, including video segments featuring best practices by marine retailers and other businesses who are reaching diverse markets.

“For us to grow boating, we believe the equation must involve embracing and engaging new diverse audiences,” task force chairwoman and veteran marketer Wanda Kenton Smith said. “The demographic trends are compelling.” Their goal is to launch live presentations and webinars this spring that everyone can access.

Already launched and completing a very successful first year is the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation’s program and microsite Vamos A Pescar.org, This consumer campaign is taking the message to America’s 53 million Hispanics — especially the 14.2 million identified as enjoying the outdoors — that boating and fishing are great family fun and right for them.

The RBFF program also provides states and industry stakeholders information and materials that they need to connect with this consumer group. Specific Hispanic market research, webinars and presentations have provided stakeholders with pragmatic and actionable guidance for attracting this key market to boating and fishing.

Finally, as part of the industry’s Discover Boating campaign, there is a video in the Stores of Discovery aimed at Hispanics and in the boat show display we have printed information in Spanish to help guide boating newbies toward the boating lifestyle.

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