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2050 Is Today.

Byline: Don Longo

By 2050, it is projected that minorities will be the majority in the United States; that is, Anglo Whites will represent less than 50 percent of the total population.

It's easy to see why that will happen. With birthrates far outpacing the general market, Hispanics alone are projected to compose 29 percent of the U.S. population (up from the current 16 percent) by 2050, according to most sources, including the Pew Hispanic Center and the U.S. Census Bureau.

"2050 is projected to be the year that minorities become the majority, but 2050 is today. [Los Angeles] is 2050. New York is 2050. Miami is 2050," XL Alliance Managing Partner Lili Gil Valletta said in her co-presentation with Armando Martin at last month's Hispanic Retail 360 Summit. The current minority population is 68 percent in New York and 70 percent in Los Angeles. "In many major U.S. markets, they are already the majority," said Gil.

We got a chance to see 2050 firsthand during our Goya Foods-sponsored Cultural Immersion Tour of Los Angeles on the Summit's first day.

Led by Martin, Gil and their associate, Manny Fields, the tour took hundreds of attendees on three buses to three grocery stores and two prominent shopping neighborhoods. At Food4Less, Ralphs and "R" Ranch Markets, tour-goers got an opportunity to see how three different retailers approach their Latino customer base. For example, we saw how "R" Ranch Markets gave its predominantly Mexican-American customers a real taste and feel of their native country.

Food4Less, on the other hand, was just as successful with its Latino customers, though its stores were more conventionally general market in look, and extremely successful with merchandising and value pricing strategies that appeal to that demographic group.

We also stopped at Olvera Street, the birthplace of L.A., originally known as El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles del Rio de Porciuncula. This colorful village contains 27 historic buildings surrounding a traditional Mexican piazza filled with street vendors and authentic restaurants.

The stop at Huntington Park was my favorite, though. Situated south of Slauson Avenue, this neighborhood is 90 percent to 100 percent Hispanic, according to data provided to tour-goers, courtesy of Geoscape. Local merchants here, as well as national chains like T-Mobile and the AT&T Store, are totally focused on staffing, merchandising and marketing to this Latino/Mexican customer segment. A stroll down Pacific Avenue here showcased dozens of Quinceanera stores, money transfers and authentic food restaurants.

At one point toward the end of the tour, Martin commented, "Do you realize that, except for the people on this bus, we haven't seen a white face for three hours?"

The tour made evident that nothing beats learning the market than being in the market.

"While many of us may comfortably sit in our offices to read whitepapers and reports as we develop our business plans, some of the best learning happens when you see, experience and live the market firsthand," said Gil. "So next time you think of your next marketing plan, best retailer partner to activate with or promotion to launch, it may be worth taking a ride to the places where your top customers shop."

As pointed out numerous times during the conference, 2050 is here today. Are you ready?

Don Longo

Editorial Director

Stagnito Media
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Author:Longo, Don
Publication:Hispanic Retailing 360
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Sep 1, 2012
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