Lingua Franca: Reaching Hispanic Consumers Requires More Than Speaking Their Language

By Lorna Caputo July 14, 2015

Hispanics spend more hours per week outside (22 hrs/wk) and more money annually on outdoor apparel, footwear, equipment and gear ($592) than the average outdoor consumer (19 hrs/wk, $465) (OIA ConsumerVue). In addition, with their population expected to reach 106 million in 2050 (U.S. Census Bureau), Hispanics are a key target audience for the outdoor industry.

Hispanics’ strong beliefs—such as connecting with their cultural heritage, spending time with family and living a healthy lifestyle—have a direct correlation to the brands they buy and the outdoor activities in which they participate. For example, soccer is very popular because the sport is rooted in Hispanics’ ancestry. (Octagon Access study)

Although they gravitate to traditional, easily accessible outdoor activities such as running, biking and swimming, they are very interested in trying new outdoor experiences that take them farther from home with their families. Therefore, instead of just using bilingual communications or showing support via promotion during Hispanic Heritage Month, outdoor manufacturers and retailers have an opportunity to engage Hispanic consumers on a more personal and emotional level by demonstrating how their brand and products support Hispanic values. Here are a three sure-fire ways to appeal to the growing Hispanic market:

Facilitate or promote family friendly outdoor experiences: More than half of Hispanics say outdoor recreation is a great way to spend time with family and that their activities revolve heavily around what their kids enjoy (OIA ConsumerVue).

With very little participation among Hispanics, the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) launched an award-winning campaign that successfully introduced Hispanics to fishing. The bilingual educational microsite, (“Let’s Go Fishing”), and digital communications portrayed how fishing can be a great way to spend time with family. Marketing efforts also included sponsoring catch-and-release fishing programs and boating experiences for families at Walt Disney World Resort. To generate further awareness, participants were encouraged to take a photo of their first catch and post it to social media with #firstcatch. Doing so entered them into a sweepstakes drawing.


Help them connect with their peers via accessible outdoor outings: No one wants to feel like the “token minority” participant in an outdoor activity, and Hispanics are no exception. “People are saying, ‘I want to meet with other people like myself who are doing this,’” says Latino Outdoors founder José González. Hispanics use social media and other channels to find out which outdoor activities and products their peers favor, so brands may want to introduce Hispanic social media users to unique experiences. Doing so will lead to outdoor advocacy among Hispanic communities.

In partnership with community organizations and government agencies, Latino Outdoors organizes group family outings that connect Hispanics with each other and the outdoors. The nonprofit also encourages Hispanics to share their personal outdoor experiences on its blog. Outings have included a day hike at Muir Woods National Monument near San Francisco, California, and overnight camping at Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail that runs through California and Arizona. To make the trip feasible for many, The National Park Service helped with travel expenses and the Nonprofit of the Coast and Redwoods provided basic camping equipment.


Promote their heritage, and help them live a healthy active lifestyle: Hispanics are extremely proud of their culture and heritage, so they’re strongly influenced by famous celebrities and ancestors that embody their cultural values. After growing up playing traditional team sports, many are committed to improving their physical health and are more likely use technology to enhance their outdoor performance than the average outdoor consumer (ConsumerVue).

During the launch of the World Cup 2014, Adidas successfully engaged Hispanics by encouraging them to “give it your all” in television and online ads featuring Argentinian soccer star Lionel Messi and promoting its new miCoach smart ball that tracks and records every soccer kick with a mobile app.

Adidas Ball

Click here to learn how industry leaders are making outdoors more accessible for minorities. Also, stay tuned for OIA ConsumerVue’s infographic on Outdoor Hispanics.