Hispanic Car Buying Preferences
Social Media and Culturally Sensitive Advertising
Most people these days can be found on one social media site or another spending countless hours looking at whatever pops up that piques their interest. It doesn’t matter who you are, or where you're from, you're more likely to be on social media than not.
The Hispanic community is no different than the general population in that they are online and in force. Actually, that’s not exactly true. In 2021, Pew Research found that Hispanic women can be found repeatedly above the national average for Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok usage. Hispanic men, on the other hand, were found to spend more time than the average on LinkedIn, Twitter, WhatsApp, and Reddit.
In the case of advertising, any advertiser knows that advertising works. Spend money, focus that money on a message that will be heard, and you can get sales. For the Hispanic community, there is a lot of data which shows that if you market to them in Spanish (especially with a culturally tailored message), you will be heard.
For our 2022 Hispanic Car Preferences survey, we collected data that gives perspective on Hispanics use of social media and the impact of Spanish language advertising. Let’s look at the numbers…
We asked a series of questions about the social media platforms that Hispanics prefer and their attitudes regarding auto dealers who market to them in Spanish and/or speak Spanish themselves. The survey did not delve into the nuances of culturally flavored advertising, but is widely understood that Spanish language advertising works well, but is even better when you provide a cultural twist such as recognizing events celebrated by Hispanics throughout the year.
Will You Visit Dealers with Spanish Ads?
This is the essential question when it comes to Spanish language advertising. When you look at our data, and those of others, you quickly see that advertising in Spanish works. So, when our respondents were asked, “How likely are you to visit a car dealer who advertises in Spanish?”, 63.4% of the respondents answered “Very” or “Extremely Likely”. But that’s not where it gets interesting. For the same response, 100% of the women agreed, while only 37.5% of the men only said that they were “Very Likely”, and none said that they were “Extremely Likely”.
Travel Plans Anyone?
When asked “Would you travel further to shop at an auto dealership if they marketed to you in Spanish?”, the results are quite interesting with 100% of women responding with an emphatic “Yes”, while only 55.5% of men shared similar sentiments. Average the two and you get 74% agreeing to the question.
Referring Dealers if They Speak Spanish?
Let’s play out the idea a little further. What happened when we asked “How likely are you to refer a customer to a dealer who speaks Spanish?”? Women spoke up again, in very clear terms, with 100% of those surveyed saying that they were Very or Extremely Likely to refer a customer to a dealer who speaks Spanish. Men, as you will again and again, had a different view. Only 48% agreed with the women. None of the men actually said that they were Extremely likely. Those are some real differences that should inform any dealer marketing to the community.
Favorite Social Media Platforms
Now we get to look at the community’s favorite social media platforms. When asked “Which are your 2 most favorite social media platforms?”, both men and women picked Instagram (at 33.3%) and YouTube (at 27.5%). Interestingly, men and women held roughly the same view on YouTube at ~27%, but widely differed when it came to Instagram. For Instagram, men preferred at 72% while women favored it at only 27.4%.
Digital Sources You Use For Research?
Our final survey question wanted to find out how people shopped for vehicles so we asked “Which online sources are you likely to use when you research buying a car, truck, or SUV? (Check all that apply)”. What we found was that there was no definitive source although men’s search behavior was considerably less diverse than women’s. Here is how the information broke down:
What Stands Out
What’s notable for these data segments is that men and women often differ in their beliefs and behaviors. You see this repeatedly in an extreme way with the advertising segment, but less so with social media behavior. Nevertheless, these differences should stand out as you consider your approach to the market.
Trends From Previous Years
Advertising in Spanish
Our first survey was done in 2020. At that time, when we wanted to explore if Hispanics preferred dealers who are bilingual, we found that roughly 55% of the respondents preferred to buy a vehicle from a dealership that advertised in Spanish. In 2021, when respondents were asked if they would visit a car dealer who advertises in Spanish, 79% chose that they were moderately likely or higher. Moreover, 66% said that it was moderately to extremely helpful if a dealership advertised in Spanish, and 43% said that they would travel further if a dealership advertised to them in Spanish. Compare this data to our 2023 report and it looks like shopping with dealers who advertise in Spanish, and traveling further to shop with those dealers is trending up from the previous years.
Our 2020 survey told us that Hispanics are very engaged online with search engines and the dealer website as their primary source of information. And, even more interesting, Hispanic women were found to use more channels when researching cars than men so we can see that the pattern we found in 2023 has roots in the previous years. For example, for 2021, our survey found that the three most popular social media platforms are Facebook (34%), Instagram (47%), and YouTube (42%) indicating that Facebook use has declined in 2023. Finally, when it came to researching a vehicle, 88% used major search engines and 59% cross-selected with dealer websites. The numbers varied a bit from 2023, but it is clear that Hispanic online activity consistently tracks heavily from year to year.
What Does This Data Tell Us?
The data here suggests quite strongly that you should market to customers in Spanish if you have a large community around your dealership. Furthermore, the trends over time support the argument that marketing in Spanish is a tactic that is growing in value, as opposed to declining. Next, the data also shows that you should have bilingual digital presence targeting a range of social media platforms if you want to be heard by the community. Finally, and to us most importantly, if you are a dealer who wants to reach the community, you should seriously consider crafting a mixed message for men and women… whether when you advertise or conduct sales. For example, the data tells us that women more than men will drive further if a dealer advertises in Spanish and prefer a test drive almost exclusively. In response to this information, if a Hispanic woman is shopping for a car and I were a sales person, I would always offer a test drive as part of my primary pitch.
Facts and data give you the power to sell well and succeed over time. We hope that you put this data into practice and reach out to us if you have any questions. For now, feel free to download the surveys by following this link…
With over two decades of experience revolutionizing the automotive industry, Adam leads SurgeMetrix who, through Bilingual Marketing Strategies, AI powered SEO, Market Intelligence Analytics, & Cybersecurity solutions, help dealerships build new markets.
Focused on data - finding it, understanding it, leveraging it and protecting it - Adam is invested in providing solutions which help dealers make informed decisions about how best to sell cars.View full profile