In my (many) years working with the Hispanic segment in the U.S., one constant criticism has been the relative lack of reliable data to support marketers’ decision-making process. I believe that, while we probably will never have the “perfect” amount of data, we may have more than we realize. The challenge is not just data availability; rather, it’s extracting the most value from the data we do have. Personally, I love a little data “scavenger hunt,” looking for patterns, meaningful differences and similarities, and ultimately looking for a story to emerge. With so many resources out there, it’s important to find the tools and data sources that enable data storytelling at its best!
For example, a few months ago we ran an analysis of yogurt and smoothie consumption over the 2012 to 2017 period. This was part of a strategic analysis the Alma team did for a key brand in this category that has never invested in marketing to Hispanics and doubted whether the segment had solid purchase patterns that justified future investment. We ran an analysis to track the estimated absolute number of users of a specific brand and assessing the performance of Hispanic vs. non-Hispanic consumers over time.
Using Simmons’ National Hispanic data comparing the number of people who reported that they eat yogurt, a story started to take shape.
First, the percentage of Hispanics that consume yogurt is higher than among non-Hispanics, as you can see from the first chart below.
By just looking at Chart 1, one can conclude that, while consumption among Hispanics has been consistently higher when compared with non-Hispanics, it has slightly declined over the past few years; a trend that is also observed among non-Hispanics.
However, Chart 1 only reveals part of the story. If you run the same analysis and observe the absolute number of consumers by segment that purchase yogurt or smoothies, here’s what you find:
As you can see, despite the slight decline in penetration of yogurt/smoothie consumption among Hispanics observed in Chart 1, when we look at the total number of consumers, the decline becomes an increase: one that is fueled by the Hispanic population growth observed in the past few decades.
One of the consequences of the data in Chart 2 is that the percentage of sales of yogurt/smoothies that come from the Hispanic segment has grown in the past few years too, as we can see in Chart 3.
It is estimated that annual yogurt and smoothie sales in the U.S. are around US $11.2 Billion. At first glance, growth from 15% to 17% of sales doesn’t seem significant, but in the context of the size of the category, the difference is approximately US $220 Million in sales!
But the data storytelling doesn’t end here. There’s one additional angle that is hidden in these numbers: the importance of Hispanics from an incremental number of consumers from 2010 to 2017.
If we take Chart 2 as the base, we can calculate the incremental number of consumers for each segment between 2010 and 2017, and we can calculate the share of Hispanics of the total number of incremental consumers, as seen in Chart 4.
Why is the analysis in Chart 4 important? Because we live in times of anemic growth, and the data demonstrate that not only do Hispanics represent a significant % of today’s yogurt and smoothie consumption, they disproportionately comprise new consumers. In fact, Hispanics represented 47% (2.8M) of new yogurt consumers between 2010 and 2017, while non-Hispanics represented 53% (3.1M).
This information can be extremely important in the context of budget allocation since most companies tend to allocate their resources based on their past allocations instead of trying to anticipate where are the most promising sources of growth may come.
In an era when storytelling is so in vogue, I believe there’s still room for us to increase the adoption of data storytelling as one of the most important tools marketers have in their hands to make their brands grow again. The data is available; the opportunity lies on the creative usage of it. It’s time for data storytelling!