Hispanic consumer market on the rise

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Hispanics comprise 13.3 percent of the U.S. population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That equates to 37.4 million people. A number of estimates suggest their buying power, already at $686 billion dollars in 2004, will hit one trillion – yes, trillion with a "t" – within the next several years. The University of Georgia Selig Center for Economic Growth puts the buying might at $10.9 billion in Georgia alone.

Companies throughout the South and across the country have lost no time going after the growth opportunities these figures represent. Hispanic Business Inc. reported that Proctor & Gamble spent $85.6 million on advertising to the Hispanic community in 2004. Coca-Cola shelled out more than $44 million.

Similar developments are unfolding rapidly in 2005.

BellSouth launched a major advertising campaign aimed at continuing the company”s growth in usage of The Real Yellow Pages among the growing Hispanic residential and business communities located in the Southeast.

"The Hispanic consumer market is growing faster than any consumer market in our region," says Ken Ray, vice president of marketing for BellSouth advertising and publishing. "Within our region, most notably the Atlanta metro area, South and Central Florida, the Hispanic market will be a focus for The Real Yellow Pages, and our newest advertising campaign is an example of the importance we see this market playing in our region”s economic growth."

Home Depot, meanwhile, announced that it was placing an emphasis on recruiting more Hispanic employees to assist with current commerce and to appeal to yet more Hispanic home improvers.

Then there”s BB&T. It released the seventh installment in a series of Spanish-language audiotapes that seek to help newly arrived Hispanics adapt to their new country. The bank provides the free tapes throughout its 1,400-branch network across 11 states and Washington D.C. The goal is to reach the 2.3 million Hispanics – and their $40 billion in buying power – in the bank”s target area.

The growth of the Hispanic community doesn”t benefit just big businesses and big cities, though. In places like Hall County, Latinos and their purchasing dollars are playing a role in overall economic growth.

"There's a whole cycle that Hispanic purchasing power contributes to our economy," says Adrian Cotasaenz, corporate relations manager of economic development for the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce. " Latinos come here, begin consuming our goods and services – driving revenues to local businesses. As they settle down, they increase the need for housing. Many then start their own businesses and create employment for people. All of that creates a major economic impact."

More evidence of the increased attention on the Hispanic community is found in the growing number of businesses turning to advertising firms specializing in that market.

"There has been a tremendo

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