The U.S. population is becoming increasingly diverse, and the Hispanic population is a big contributor to the country’s changing demographics. According to the U.S. Census’ latest data, there has been a 23% increase in the Spanish-speaking population since 2010, totaling approximately 62.1 million Hispanics as of 2020. This growth is projected to reach 99.89 million by 2050[i], and the importance of developing business strategies to connect and engage with the Hispanic consumer segment is paramount.
This diversification is not limited to race and ethnicity—it also includes language. In 2013, approximately 6 out of 10 (62%) of Hispanics were bilingual (English & Spanish)[ii] and by 2050, it is anticipated that 1 out of every 3 people in the U.S. will speak Spanish[iii].
What exactly does this mean for your business? Accurately and authentically engaging with Hispanic consumers will allow you to earn their respect, trust, and business.
Companies that intentionally hire bilingual team members to communicate and engage with the Spanish-speaking population have a competitive edge, making language proficiency an undeniable superpower. In ACTFL’s 2019 report titled “Making Language Our Business: Addressing Foreign Language Demand Among U.S. Employers”, 1 out of 3 U.S. employers reported a language skills gap with the greatest need in the following top 5 business areas:
- Customer Service
Approximately 9 out of 10 employers reported relying on employees for language skills other than English. Therefore, companies that have bilingual employees who can communicate with their Hispanic customers with both linguistic and cultural competence not only tap into a competitive edge that directly affects their bottom line, but more importantly, they also nurture brand loyalty and longevity with a segment of the population that is often overlooked by other companies. As the largest growing population in the United States, the Spanish-speaking consumer segment can no longer be ignored.
In 2020, the buying power of the Hispanic market was predicted to reach $1.7 trillion. More specifically, Hispanic entrepreneurship grew by 31.6% since 2012, along with the use of digital tools. Approximately 98% of Hispanic entrepreneurs use digital tools to run their businesses, and about 75% of them use social media for business purposes. The online environment provides direct access to the Hispanic market like never before. In an article titled “Companies Engaging Hispanics Win Big in the U.S.—and Beyond” the author, Jessica Rivera, stated “…research shows that best-in-class companies that aim at least 25% of ad spending at Hispanic consumers are growing by 6.7% annually.”
Are you ready to activate your company’s Spanish language superpowers? Here are three (3) quick tips to get you started:
- Recruit certified Spanish speakers: Having team members that can communicate in Spanish will provide your company the bilingual capabilities needed to engage with Spanish-speaking people authentically and appropriately. Make sure to test your Spanish-speaking employees for reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
- Collaborate with Hispanic businesses and entrepreneurs: Your supplier mix should represent the diversity of the community you are serving. Onboard Hispanic-owned businesses as part of your pool of suppliers as they will be your gateway to doing business with the Hispanic market.
- Market in language, in culture, in context, and online: Leverage technology and digital accessibility to connect, communicate, collaborate, and create business opportunities with Hispanic consumers and the community at large.
Now, more than ever, businesses need to be ready to activate their Spanish language superpowers. You can confidently partner with Language Testing International (LTI) to test and certify current staff members, and to hire prospective employees. LTI administers language assessments to thousands of candidates every year and is one of the largest and most respected foreign language proficiency test providers in the world. It offers the highest level of client service as well as convenient online test scheduling and reporting over secure client networks.
Visit www.languagetesting.com to learn more about how to certify the language proficiency of your bilingual employees and new hires.