A View of Today’s Value- Seeking Shopper: Multicultural Consumers

By Curtis Tingle, Chief Marketing Officer, Valassis
Published Wednesday, Sep 28, 2016

A View of Today’s Value- Seeking Shopper: Multicultural Consumers

In our final week highlighting results from the Valassis RedPlum Purse String Survey, we’ll focus on the purchasing and saving behavior of multicultural shoppers, specifically Hispanic, African American and Asian* consumers. Collectively, these important segments will wield a buying power of $4.2 trillion by 20201, and as projected by the US Census, by 2044, 50 percent of all Americans will be minorities2.  To be clear, ethnicity and culture comprise only a piece of a consumer view – life stage and countless other variables all play a critical role in driving shoppers’ motivations, interests and outlook. The below will share some of the nuances seen in the Purse String Survey results, with the intention that they can be augmented with additional data for a more comprehensive consumer view.

Multicultural consumers are more likely than white/Caucasian consumers to spend over two hours each week looking for coupons, deals and savings, with Hispanic shoppers leading the pack in this activity (69 percent vs. 55 percent of all respondents). However, it is the African American consumers who are using the most coupons per shopping trip – 53 percent use more than six coupons (vs. 48 percent on average) and 33 percent are using 10+ coupons (vs. 27 percent on average). This consumer group is also the most likely to be planning shopping around circulars, coupons and deals more so than last year.

In looking at categories where coupons are of interest, groceries again ranked as the top choice, and the next highest-ranking categories are similar across the multicultural groups.  The biggest differences can be seen among those categories not falling in the top four of interest: multicultural consumers show more interest in offers for household items vs. pet items/services, and Asian/Pacific Islander and African American respondents desire coupons for electronics, entertainment and travel at a higher rate than the other groups.

 Q: Which of the following categories are you interested in finding coupons, coupon codes and deals? (Select all that apply)


Key: Gray highlight = top 4 coupon category; green font = significantly higher than All Respondents at the 90 percent confidence level; red font = significantly lower than All Respondents at the 90 percent confidence level

Turning to online purchasing behavior, Hispanic respondents were more likely than all respondents to have increased buying groceries, health and beauty products online and having the items either delivered to their home (14 percent vs. 8 percent overall) or to the store for pick-up (10 percent or 5 percent overall). Interestingly, this increase was not consistent when asked about purchasing items across multiple categories for home delivery – only 20 percent of Hispanic respondents increased this behavior since last year vs. 28 percent of all respondents.

One hypothesis is that Hispanic consumers are already heavy online purchasers, and when looking at Prosper data, that theory has merit: 37 percent of Hispanic consumers are Amazon Prime members vs. only 33 percent of all adults3. These data points suggest Hispanic consumers are on the leading edge of purchasing groceries and consumer packaged goods products online – a relatively untapped category for ecommerce.

Not surprisingly, the use of technology for offers and deals is high among multicultural consumers – this is another area where this data corroborated other research. What could be surprising is the level of multicultural adoption of technology for savings behavior, especially when compared to white/Caucasian responses. For example, at least 70 percent of multicultural respondents visited a store, restaurant or other business after receiving an offer on their mobile device when they were near that business location (vs. 48 percent of white/Caucasians).  At least 83 percent of multicultural respondents look for offers while in-store via their mobile devices as well (vs. 66 percent of white/Caucasians).

Although Hispanic respondents still showed mobile saving activity higher than overall respondents, it was the Asian/Pacific Islander respondents who noted greatest incidence for the below activities on their mobile device in the past 30 days:

  • 62 percent used/redeemed a coupon code (vs. 46 percent overall)
  • 55 percent print a digital coupon/offer (vs. 37 percent overall)
  • 49 percent compared deals online and in-store (vs. 35 percent overall)
  • 28 percent looked for deals on Facebook (vs. 19 percent overall)
  • 14 percent looked for deals on Instagram (vs. 5 percent overall

As noted in my initial blog highlighting the RedPlum Purse String Survey results, t)oday’s value-seeking shoppers are multi-faceted when it comes to savings. Understanding consumer nuances, whether by region, household income level or ethnicity (as a starting point), will only help advertisers as they seek to engage and connect with consumers.  

About the 2016 RedPlum Purse String Survey: For the eighth year, in conjunction with National Coupon Month in September, RedPlum has conducted a savings survey to gain insight from today's shopper; learn more about their shopping behaviors; where consumers are looking for deals; what they are doing with their savings; and what influencers are driving their behaviors. The 2016 RedPlum Purse String Survey is based on insights from more than 8,880 respondents. The survey was conducted on redplum.com from May 16th to June 16th, 2016.

Source: 1Selig Center for Economic Growth, UGA Today, September 2015; 2US Census Bureau, “New Census Bureau Report Analyzes U.S. Population Projections”, March 2015, multicultural defined as any group other than non-Hispanic white; 3Prosper Insights & Analytics™, Monthly Consumer Survey, July 2016

*Note: in the RedPlum Purse String survey, the Asian race/ethnicity option was noted as Asian/Pacific Islander