New HMC Study Reveals the Cross-Cultural Influence of the Multicultural Majority on Non-Hispanic Whites

New York, NY (October 4, 2023) – In the latter half of the 20th century, a theory emerged—and is still promoted today—that the cultural orientations of Hispanic and Asian immigrants and their descendants would diminish as they “became more acculturated.” A new study by the Hispanic Marketing Council (HMC) shows the opposite is true: non-Hispanic white (NHW) 13-to-49-year-olds have been more influenced by Hispanic, Black and Asian cultures. With the multicultural majority already a reality for Americans under 25 & estimated for all people under 35 by the end of this year, it is safe to say that the construct of a white American “general market” is dead, upending long-held marketing paradigms centered around an increasingly non-existent NHW majority.

HMC’s latest research, “IT’S TIME: The Growing Power of the Multicultural Majority,” provides a comprehensive study on multicultural majority consumers and the shifts happening with society. It covers key values; the relationship between identity and race, ethnicity and culture; socio-political movements; purchase behavior; content consumption; workplace attitudes; the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) effect; and much more.

“This study tracks trends from previous 2014-2020 areas of study and includes new data unique to 2023 that will help marketers and content creators navigate the U.S. shift to a multicultural majority,” said HMC Research Chair Nancy Tellet, founder, brand & consumer navigator at PureClarity LLC. “While culture wars may rage on in the media, we see Gen Z and Millennials normalizing and celebrating cultural diversity and exploration in the content they consume, the music they listen to, and the brands they choose. There is no longer a world where ‘whiteness’ is the default identity surrounded by multicultural satellites— for 13-to-49-year-olds, the walls between the worlds have melted, and that’s a wake-up call for many brands.”

The Cross-Cultural Influence of the Multicultural Majority on Non-Hispanic Whites

Evidence of the multicultural influence is everywhere—music, food, entertainment and beauty, to name a few—but the influence of Gen Z and Millennials is also impacting the mindset of NHWs, particularly as it relates to the diversification of America. NHWs are moving towards Multiculturals in their thinking, having shifted their perspectives to echo multicultural attitudes.

·        The percent of NHWs saying, “Hate & racism is a top-three issue,” jumped 30% from 2020 to 2023, narrowing the gap with multicultural sentiment from 15 percentage points to eight percentage points in just three years.

·        NHWs are just as positive about the multicultural majority, mirroring Hispanic, Black and AAPI segments—a 26% jump in three years from 2020 to 2023. In fact, two-thirds of all 13-to-49-year-olds, including NHWs, now agree that this demographic and cultural transformation will change American values for the better.

·     Fewer NHWs and Multiculturals are living in cultural siloes compared to what they reported in 2020—this means the needle is moving, and they are experiencing greater diversity in their friendships, schools and neighborhoods.

Media Consumption Reflects a Hunger for Culture & Authenticity

The seismic shift from network, satellite and cable TV to digital apps that stream in-culture, global and user-generated content has created a viable ecosystem for the cross-consumption of culture, including NHWs who now have access to a whole new world of programming.

·     Cultural storylines are driving bingeability, with nearly 75 percent of 13-to-49-year-olds watching content featuring a cast from another segment and themes outside their own culture.

·        Six out of 10 people ages 13 to 49 watch shows in a language they don’t speak.

·      81 percent of 13-to-49-year-olds—spanning English-speakers of all segments—want Spanish-language in-culture content to be available to them via dubbing or sub-titles. Qualitative respondents agree that they want the same for Asian-language in-culture content.

Culture as the Harbinger for Supercharged Marketing Campaigns

With the 50-and-under segment poised to become a multicultural majority as early as 2028, culture will continue to be central to identity.  In addition, HMC findings show that advertising and marketing become super-charged within in-culture Hispanic, Black and Asian environments, as well as within culturally literate in-culture and diverse ads on any platform.

·     In-culture spaces across TV and digital are effective for reaching multicultural audiences, especially Gen Z teens of all segments– eight in 10 Hispanics watch traditional Spanish-language television channels, and five in 10 Asians watch traditional Asian channels.

·        Multicultural segments split their in-culture content consumption equally between the language of their heritage and English.

·        Gen Z and Millennials pay more attention to brands that market to them with in-culture content, regardless of language.

·     Half or more of multicultural respondents pay more attention to, have greater trust in and are more likely to try, buy or use a brand that markets to them within in-culture environments. The same applies to in-culture and/or authentically diverse ads in “mainstream” content spaces.

The implication for marketers remains clear: the “general market”/multicultural paradigm has been flipped on its head. The new general market for many categories with a core Gen Z and Millennial customer base is now dominated by Multiculturals. New mainstream strategies have to keep pace with rapidly evolving demographics and media growth. Culture marketing experts will play a more critical role—from the C-suite and creative directors to media buyers, brand marketers and consultants. Navigating cultural nuances in an authentic, appropriate and non-performative way will be the key to connecting with America’s multicultural mainstream.

Methodology & Funders:

·        Thanks to a partnership with the Asian American Advertising Federation (3AF), the HMC study included qualitative and quantitative data on the AAPI segment.

·        The study received financial or operational support from Kantar, TelevisaUnivision, ThinkNow and 3AF.

·        Quantitative research came from 4,600 13-24s (Gen Z) and 25-49 (Millennials/Xers) with sample representation of Hispanics (HISP), non-Hispanic Blacks (NHB), non-Hispanic Asian American Pacific Islanders (NH AAPI) & non-Hispanic Whites (NHW) from February to April 2023.

·        Qualitative interviews with 48 respondents (24 Gen Z and 24 Millennials/Xers), in-home pairs (HISP/NHB/NHW/AAPI) with video (edited for inclusion in webinars).

For more information, visit hispanicmarketingcouncil.org and follow the HMC on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hmchispanic.

About HMC: Founded in 1996 as the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies, the Hispanic Marketing Council is the national trade organization of all marketing, communications and media firms with trusted Hispanic expertise.