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Did You Know This? Latest Hispanic Car Buying Preferences

by Adam Dennis

There are over 60 million Hispanics are living in the United States and their purchasing power hit $1.7 trillion in 2020, up from $210 billion in 1990! The U.S. Hispanic population continues to grow rapidly, accounting for around half of all U.S. births.  

Rapidly Changing Demographics

Many states are facing rapidly changing Hispanic demographics. Texas ranks #2 and has a Hispanic to white population growth of 9:1, and that same population is expected to become the largest sub-group in the state this year. North Carolina's population, on the other hand, is much smaller, but is also growing rapidly reaching 1 million in 2019. Next, while New York has the fourth-largest concentration of Hispanics in the U.S., their spending power is $170 billion, around 10% of the national average.  

Young Buyers are Good for Your Dealership

Next, the U.S. Hispanic population is very young with a median age of about 30. Compare this with the national average of 38 years, and you can see long-term value in building with the Hispanic community around your dealership. Thinking more broadly about these stats, it is no wonder that U.S. Hispanics are fueling the growth of several key segments of the economy, including the auto industry.  

young car buyer


These numbers are no joke. If you are a dealership and you don't know the volume and composition of the Hispanic market around you, then you are making a big mistake. So let's look at the data first, starting with last year's survey and then the highlights of this year's.

A Snapshot of Our 2020 Survey

We did our first Hispanic Car Buyers survey in early 2020, just before COVID changed everyone's lives.    

In 2020, 58% of our respondents were women, and 42% were men. Over half the respondents were 18-31 years of age. Add just seven more years, and the number jumped above 75%.  

Five things stand out from last year:

  1. Women play a bigger role in decision-making than most people think.
  2. U.S. Hispanics want to touch, feel and test-drive vehicles.
  3. Toyota enjoys a dominant role in appealing to the Hispanic market because they have reached out to them for years.
  4. Selling in Spanish does matter.
  5. Hispanics are online and in force and they respond to digital advertising.

2021 Overview - Who'd We Talk To?

In this year's survey, we sought to overlap but not completely mimic last year's survey. Consequently, we dug deeper to understand Hispanic online buying behavior. Our sample composition is very similar to last year's, although we had more who were 45 and older. The distribution breaks down in the following way:

  • 54% of respondents were women; 43% of respondents were men; 3% Preferred not to say
  • 17% fell in the age range of 18-25; 37% fell between 25-31; 23% were between 35-44; 17% were between 45-54; and 6% were 55 or older. 

As with last year's survey, we hope that this data will encourage executive management at car dealerships and advertising agencies to explore marketing to the community, even if they start with baby steps. The U.S. Hispanic market is growing too fast to ignore and their buying power is exploding. Failing to connect with them will leave any dealership with a large Hispanic population at a disadvantage, especially when competitors act first.

5 Things We Learned in Our 2021 Hispanic Car Buyer's Survey

Massive amounts of data show that U.S. Hispanics are becoming a financial juggernaut in America. Still, yet they are often ignored in advertising either culturally or through the use of Spanish language marketing.  

If the stats in the introduction are not enough proof that U.S. Hispanics are becoming financially powerful, perhaps a current article in the Wall Street Journal will help convince you. According to the WSJ, in 2020, the number of U.S. Hispanic homeowners rose by more than 700,000, the largest 1-year increase in 20 years… and that was during a pandemic!

So what are the highlights of this year's survey and what do they tell us? 

Key Findings in 2020 / 2021

  1. Hispanics are tactile. The data proves over both years that they love to test-drive vehicles.
  2. U.S. Hispanics prefer to be marketed to in Spanish. Of course, this number is nuanced depending on where you are in the States. For example, with such a long history in the U.S., Texan Hispanics require different messaging than those that might be new to our country.
  3. Brand reputation means a lot - whether it is your dealer brand or the manufacturer's. If you market in Spanish and focus on building a solid reputation with the community, then you will be on a good track. And if you sell vehicles whose brand is well recognized, then all the better.
  4. Cell phones are the primary shopping tool for U.S. Hispanics. What does this mean to you as a dealer? Your dealer mobile website best be fast, or you'll lose business. Sadly, dealer websites are often relatively slow. Check out this article I wrote with David Kain and Tom Kline if you are curious.
  5. Like last year's data said, U.S. Hispanics are online and in force. They over-index on social media use and are fully engaged on all the major platforms. This gives you, as a dealer, a straightforward direction to go… get a social media strategy in place and start marketing to Hispanics around your dealership in Spanish.

Final Comments

For this first article, we gave you an overview of our 2021 study and its highlights. Our next article will delve into raw stats, and our interpretations, around search and shopping behavior of U.S. Hispanics. In the meantime, think about what this article series means to you as a dealer. Do you know the size and composition of the Hispanic community around your dealership? Are you marketing to your local Hispanic community? If your answer is negative for either of those questions, then drop us an email, and we'll give you a hand. 


Adam Dennis

Adam has worked in the automotive industry for over 20 years. SurgeMetrix, which Adam founded, provides bilingual Google optimized websites (read as “fast websites”), Google My Business optimization apps, and a specialization in Hispanic marketing. For Hispanic marketing, Adam and his team demonstrate what dealers need to do to capture the Hispanic market and adapt their processes for bilingual sales. Adam started in automotive in 2000 when he founded a SaaS company that provided website, inventory and lead tracking solutions to auto dealers from across the US.