New survey reveals lessons for selling services — and succeeding — to an increasingly multicultural America
Access the latest research in The Conference Board Multicultural Consumer Survey series. To understand How ethnic identity is reflected in service purchases, the project surveyed 2,000 multicultural U.S. households to uncover their consumer attitudes, preferences and behaviors, including identity expression and sustainability considerations in travel decisions. This is the second in a series of multicultural consumer surveys, following the full 2021 Goods Report.
“The data we collected provides insight into how every business should think about engaging their customers in a demographically diverse America,” Tadpole added. “In the realm of services, these diverse attitudes impact everything from travel plans and leisure activities to restaurants, healthcare, financial services, education, childcare, pet care, fitness, etc., including online and physical shopping channels.”
The results of this latest research are presented in a summary report, Multicultural Consumer Survey: Servicesand the accompanying deep dive on Closing the Gaps in U.S. Financial Services. Among the key information:
- The rise of commerce as an expression of identity. Growing cohorts of Americans are likely to use services to express their ethnic identity, especially high-income Black and Latino consumers and people under 35 in all minority groups (with money to spend ). This leaves companies from a wide range of service industries – including not only digital media, restaurants, travel, personal care and out-of-home entertainment, but also education and fitness, among others – well positioned to consider refining their customer experiences. to respond to the desire for ethnic expression of their multicultural audience.
“In this era of self-expression, brands with a holistic and committed diversity strategy can tap into consumers’ desire to express their ethnic heritage through their purchases,” said Denise Dahloffsenior researcher at the Conference Board. “It can help brands reach young consumers in particular, including those from traditionally less expressive cultures who are acculturated to the United States and even young white people who, surrounded by diverse peers, seem inspired to express their own cultural identity. .”
- Spending on symbols of success is universal, but the definition of success varies. Spending on services, including education and financial investments, can be partly determined by what consumers view as success in life. Yet, no definition of success is universal. For example, for Latino consumers, owning a home and business and sending their kids to college means more success than it looks for other consumer segments. For Asian consumers, who generally favor higher income groups, the financial achievements are relatively greater. This is reflected in their increased use of banking, investment, insurance and financial advisory services compared to other groups.
- Lack of financial services. As explored in our in-depth financial services report, low- and middle-income Black and Hispanic respondents are generally more likely to use various forms of non-traditional financial services compared to their Asian and white peers at similar income levels. These non-traditional services, from payday loans to cryptocurrencies, often carry substantial risk.
“Financial service providers have significant leeway to increase their engagement with Black and Latino consumers, even among high-income consumers in these groups,” said Conference Board Chief Economist Dana Peterson“For financial institutions, closing these gaps can mean reaching a lucrative market currently untapped by banking services.”
- Non-white Americans, especially those in higher income groups, express the most interest in environmentally friendly transportation for travel, as well as accommodation—providing tour operators with a clear focus of sustainable options. Typically, higher-paying consumers within a given racial and ethnic group are more open to sustainability calls than their lower-paying counterparts.
- What consumers value most about offline and online shopping differs by age, income, and ethnicity. This information can help retailers refine their channel design, targeting, and messaging. For example, for younger shoppers, brick-and-mortar stores provide a forum for socializing, while older shoppers primarily enjoy the traditional conveniences of stores to inspect products in person and instantly acquire items.
The ability to save time by shopping online is particularly appealing to Latino and Asian shoppers. The entertainment aspects of a brick-and-mortar store are more likely to appeal to the Latino segment as well as younger white shoppers, and the opportunity to socialize with family/friends appeals to general black shoppers as well as generally younger consumers. especially non-white consumers. These preferences may also be related to other factors such as place of residence and marital status.
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