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Communicate with Hispanic Millennials in English and Spanish, Report Suggests
Thursday, June 12, 2014 6:35 AM

With 38 percent of Hispanic Millennials speaking Spanish more than English or speaking Spanish exclusively, one can conclude that using Spanish is the most efficient way to communicate with Hispanic Millennials. But it's really not as simple as that, according to an Ipsos report, “What Language to use When Communicating with Hispanic Millennials.”

Historically, marketers and market researchers have used language spoken at home as the key variable to determine the best language to communicate with Hispanics. However, Ipsos research suggests that this approach may not be the most appropriate when determining which language to use when communicating with or marketing to U.S. Hispanic Millennials.

Among the 502 Hispanic Millennials interviewed in their survey, close to half report speaking English and Spanish equally at home (44 percent). While 38 percent report speaking Spanish more than English or speaking Spanish exclusively, just 18 percent report speaking more English than Spanish or speaking English exclusively

When Hispanic Millennials were asked which language they preferred for consuming different types of media, without the option of “both equally,” English emerges as the language of choice among the majority of this audience for each type of media: six in 10 (61 percent) indicated that they prefer watching TV in English vs. 39 percent who prefer it in Spanish, and 56 percent prefer listening to English-language radio vs. 44 percent who prefer Spanish. The same pattern is found for print media, with nearly twice as many indicating a preference for English over Spanish (63 percent vs. 37 percent, for both newspapers and magazines). In fact, the gap in language preference is especially dramatic for Internet use, where 69 percent prefer English, compared to just 30 percent who prefer Spanish.

A clearer preference for English is more evident when it comes to online and print media consumption. When consuming online media, roughly one third (36 percent) indicate having no language preference, while a plurality indicate a preference for English (45 percent), and just 19 percent for Spanish. While to a lesser extent, English also has an edge when it comes to print media (newspapers and magazines), with also about one-third indicating that they have no preference for either language (34 percent for newspapers and 36 percent for magazines), four in 10 preferring English (41 percent and 39 percent respectively), and one-quarter Spanish (25 percent for both).

Two key findings emerge from this study. First, that as far as Hispanic Millennials are concerned, it should not be assumed that the language that is dominant in the home will also be the language that is preferred for media consumption, or vice-versa. The second is that forcing Hispanic Millennials to choose one language over the other as that which is preferred for media consumption leads to an overstatement of a preference of English over Spanish.

These findings translate into two key implications for researchers and marketers. The first is that, whenever possible, language preference for media consumption should be asked systematically when conducting research among this audience. Furthermore, that any question referring to language of preference for media consumption should avoid forcing respondents to choose one language over the other; a mid-point option of equal preference or no preference should be included.

A second implication and conclusion is that while it is possible to reach a majority of Hispanic Millennials using either Spanish or English, monolingual communications will result in the exclusion of a sizeable proportion of this audience. Therefore, to reach the entire population of Hispanic Millennials, communications should still be in both English and Spanish.


Helpful Resources: Cornerstone Credit Union League Juntos Avanzamos or Together We Advance outreach initiative. The goal is to identify credit unions that have the capacity and infrastructure to meet the financial needs of Hispanic families, and present them with the designation so they can in turn use the Juntos Avanzamos designation as a way to market themselves in the Hispanic community.

To learn more about Juntos Avanzamos, please visit