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    Are Hispanic Shoppers Harder to Please?

    New Unilever study shows only 35 percent of Hispanic shoppers are completely satisfied with their shopping experience.

    CINCINNATI-- Hispanic shoppers are far less satisfied with supermarkets, drug stores and other high-frequency retail outlets than the general population -- and while they shop at supercenters much less than the general population, they prefer big-box stores when they're available, according to data from a new study released today by Unilever.

    Results of the study in four major Hispanic markets -- New York, Los Angeles, Houston and Miami -- also found Hispanic shoppers are highly resistant to using frequent-shopper cards because of privacy concerns, reported AdAge.com.

    The study is the first extensive behavioral research on Hispanic shoppers, Mike Twitty, senior group research manager for shopper insights at Unilever, told AdAge.com.

    Unilever's research, which looked at diaries and shopping receipts from more than 3,600 consumers, found Hispanic shoppers in general shop much more like the general market than previously thought, but also are much less satisfied with their shopping experience than previously thought, Twitty told AdAge.com.

    "Only 35 percent of Hispanic shoppers are completely satisfied with their shopping experience today," he said. "In the general market, that number is 58 percent."

    The findings would seem to indicate a need for stores serving large Hispanic populations to stock more products from their shoppers' home countries, try new Hispanic-oriented formats such as that used by Publix in Florida and offer more bilingual signage or Spanish-speaking employees to help Hispanic shoppers, AdAge.com reported.

    Compared to the general market, Hispanic consumers in the study were only half as likely to shop at supercenters, but twice as likely to shop at drug or health stores. Much of that result, however, stems from lack of supercenters in such markets as New York and Los Angeles, Twitty said in the report.

    "The only area we looked at that had a really high concentration of supercenters was Houston," he said. "And in Houston, Hispanics use supercenters very heavily."

    Though 51 percent of Hispanic consumers in the study had frequent-shopper cards, only 44 percent of those who had them used them. This is despite the fact that Hispanic consumers are more value-conscious and prone to buy products on promotion than the general population, suggesting they're losing considerable savings because of fear of sharing personal data, according to the study.

    Twitty suggested in the report that stores set up separate Spanish-language sign-up efforts that highlight privacy protections and tailor special offers, such as rewards for children, to encourage Hispanics to participate in the programs.

    The study shows Hispanic shoppers plan more and spend less per trip because they buy more ingredients and cook more at home rather than using more highly processed or prepared foods. "They don't do as many of those uneconomical quick trips that the rest of the U.S. market seems to be caught up in," Twitty said in the AdAge.com report.

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