Hispanic Customers Neglected By Pharmaceutical and Skin Care Companies In Spite of Increasing Buying Power

September 18, 2014 by No Comments

Beauty woman
Hispanic and Latina women have long lamented the dearth of cosmetic and dermatological products available to non-Caucasian customers. As an ethnic group with a wide variety of skin tones and types, Hispanic customers often experience significant difficulty finding not only flattering makeup colors, but also effective treatments for conditions like post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and acne vulgaris, which are particularly common in people with darker skin tones. However, with numerous market studies continually showing the purchasing power of the Hispanic and Latino demographic, companies are gradually working to appeal to these customers. While the pharmaceutical and skin care industries have been slow to respond, enough change has taken place to suggest that a wider range of cosmetic and dermatological products might not be that far off.A recent headline from CNBC proclaimed “Retailers: Ignore Latinos at Your Own Risk.” With a buying power projected to grow to $1.5 trillion by next year, the article reported that commercial powerhouses like Macy’s, Kraft Foods, and Walgreens have all begun investing in advertising campaigns and products that will hopefully appeal to Latino buyers. For example, Macy’s is targeting Latina women by launching their “Thalia Sodi” apparel brand, while Kraft Foods released a commercial during the FIFA World Cup that encouraged families to combine its products with chorizo and other traditional Hispanic foods. Even the United States apple industry is taking notice of the potential growth Latino shoppers offer: on August 21, at least one presentation at the U.S. Apple Association Crop Outlook and Marketing Conference focused on the way Hispanic and Latino families are helping drive the food industry towards healthier, fresher products.

But despite these tangible changes, pharmaceutical and skin care companies have been relatively slow to take part in the trend. Representation of Hispanic women in advertising campaigns has increased somewhat over the last few years, with Eva Mendes, Salma Hayek, Penelope Cruz and Eva Longoria all serving as brand ambassadors for major cosmetics lines, including Avon and L’Oreal. Importantly, Salma Hayek even launched her own beauty line called Nuance, which is sold exclusively through CVS. The line includes both skin care products and makeup, but products like these are relatively few and far between, when compared with the beauty industry as a whole.

Few pharmaceutical and skin care companies have targeted Hispanic and Latino women through the products themselves, which likely limits the profits they gain from the group. More importantly, this continues to disadvantage the women who would likely be glad to invest in their products: for example, while 40 to 50 million people in the United States have acne, Latinos are prone to problems of pigmentation and other issues, in addition to typical symptoms of the skin disorder. But because there are few products available to treat hyperpigmentation, a significant number of people have few methods available to them to address a common skin issue.

However, in spite of the slow rate of improvement, change almost certainly will occur due to the growing influence the Hispanic and Latino demographic have on market trends. Recent research has revealed that Latinos help drive trends in everything from food to technology. Additionally, Latinos are still the largest minority group, with 197.8 million people identifying as this ethnicity, and are also expected to triple in wealth over the next 10 years, owning anywhere between $2.5 trillion to $4.4 trillion in assets by 2025. With these statistics, the position of the commercial market seems clear: ignore the needs of your Latino and Hispanic customers at your own peril.

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