Courier October Courier - Page 18

BUSINESS The Interview INDUSTRY INSIGHTS FOR NTA MEMBERS Making the most of the multicultural market The United States’ steady march to multiculturalism is what experts are calling the defining demographic force of our era. By 2044, the country’s population is projected by the U.S. Census Bureau to be a plurality of racial and ethnic groups, with no single group in the majority. Terry Soto, CEO of Burbank, California-based About Marketing Solutions Inc., helps clients deepen their understanding of the Hispanic market, and, in the process, boost their sales. Courier asked Soto to share her market insights and offer suggestions to leaders in the travel industry. Terry Soto, CEO of About Marketing Solutions Inc. Courier: Why is it important to understand multiculturalism? Soto: America’s population is rapidly becoming majority multicultural, by which I mean people with a heritage other than European. The fact that this dynamic has continued to unfold at such a rapid pace has huge social, political, economic and business implications for the travel industry. The U.S. multicultural population is over 120 million strong and increases by 2.3 million people each year, 191,932 each month, 6,310 every day and 263 every hour. The multicultural population represents 38 percent of the U.S. population and controls $3.4 trillion in buying power. This market’s growing size, clout and buying power require thoughtful understanding of what they represent to an organization’s bottom line. The need for a culturally focused and strategic roadmap to this consumer has never been greater. Courier: How does multiculturalism affect consumer trends? Soto: The multicultural population is not only driving growth for dozens of products and services, but it’s exerting unprecedented influence on the attitudes and consumption habits of non- Hispanic white consumers, upending outdated assumptions and expanding the multicultural market opportunity. While some worry about the effect that foreign cultures have on American culture, the truth is that America’s culture has always evolved and continues to change. America has its roots in divergent sets of immigrants whose cultures continue to make an indelible mark in modern society. Courier: Can you give some examples? Soto: When a multiculturally casted and messaged Broadway show like “Hamilton: An American Musical” can command $800 and up for one ticket— and be sold out for months—it becomes a leading indicator of change and multicultural influence. Another example of cultural influence on an even broader market is Justin Bieber reaching out to Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, two of the most celebrated artists in Latin America and among U.S. Hispanics, because he wants to be a part of their hit record, “Despacito.” On that recording, Bieber sang in Spanish for the first time in his career. Last spring the “Despacito” video reached one billion YouTube views in 97 days, becoming the second-fastest video to reach the milestone (behind Adele’s “Hello.”) Keep in mind that a song in Spanish achieved such spectacular fame at a time when nativism is at an all-time high, and there is much concern over protection of borders. Courier: What about influences outside of entertainment? Soto: Food is another critical area in which multiculturalism has considerable influence. U.S. consumers have never been so curious about—and adventurous with—their food choices. Hispanic foods, the most ubiquitous in the U.S., is a $17.5 billion industry that is projected to grow to over $21 billion by 2020. Consumers also can’t get enough of Asian foods, and demand for foods from Japan, Korea, Thailand and Vietnam catapulted to new heights in the past five years. Younger consumers hunger for diversity in their everyday experiences, including their friends, their music and the countries they travel to—all in search of greater authenticity. 16 October 2017