New survey reveals lessons for selling services — and succeeding — in an increasingly multicultural America

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Enter the latest research into The Conference Board Multicultural Consumer Survey Series. Understand How ethnic identity is reflected in purchasing services, the project surveyed 2,000 multicultural U.S. households to uncover their attitudes, preferences and consumer behaviors – including considerations about identity expression and sustainability in travel decisions. It is the second in a series of multicultural consumer surveys following the comprehensive surveys of 2021 Report on goods.

“The data we’ve collected provides insights into how each business needs to think about how to target their customers in a demographically diverse America,” Pollard added. “In the services space, these diversifying attitudes are affecting everything from travel plans and leisure pursuits to dining, healthcare, financial services, education, childcare, pet care, fitness and more – including online and brick-and-mortar shopping channels. “

The results of this latest research are presented in a review report, Multicultural Consumer Survey: Servicesand the associated Deep Dive on Closing gaps in the US financial services space. The most important findings:

  • The rise of trade as an expression of identity. Increasing cohorts of Americans are likely to use services to express their ethnic identity, particularly higher-income Black and Hispanic consumers and those under the age of 35 from all minority groups (with the money to do so). As a result, companies across a variety of service sectors — including not only digital media, restaurants, travel, personal care and out-of-home entertainment, but also education and fitness, among others — are well positioned to consider refining their customer experiences around the desire of their multicultural audience for ethnic expression.

    “In this age of self-expression, brands with a committed, comprehensive diversity strategy can capitalize on consumers’ desire to express their ethnic heritage through their purchases,” he said Denise DalhoffSenior Researcher at the Conference Board. “This can help brands reach younger consumers in particular, including those from traditionally less self-aware cultures acculturated in the US, and even younger whites who, surrounded by diverse peers, seem inspired to express their own cultural identity .”
  • Spending on success symbols is universal – but the definition of success varies. Spending on services – including education and financial investments – may depend in part on what consumers see as success in life. But no definition of success is universal. For example, for Latino consumers, owning a home and a business and sending their children to college means more success than it might seem for other consumer segments. Financial achievement is relatively more important to Asian consumers, who generally tend to be in higher income brackets. This is reflected in their greater use of banking, investment, insurance and financial advisory services compared to other groups.
  • Financial services gap. As explored in our detailed report on financial services, Black and Hispanic respondents with low and middle incomes are generally more likely to use different forms of non-traditional financial services than their Asian and White counterparts with similar income levels. These non-traditional services – from payday loans to cryptocurrencies – often come with significant risks.

    “Financial services firms have significant leeway to increase their exposure to Black and Hispanic consumers — even to higher-income consumers in those groups,” he said The Chief Economist of the Conference Board Dan Peterson“For financial institutions, closing these gaps can mean entering a lucrative market that is currently untapped by banking services.”
  • Non-white Americans, particularly those in higher income brackets, express the greatest interest in eco-friendly modes of transportation for travel and lodging.To provide travel companies with a clearly defined goal for sustainable options. In general, within a given racial and ethnic group, higher-income consumers are more receptive to sustainability appeals than their lower-income counterparts.
  • What consumers value most about offline and online shopping varies by age, income, and ethnicity. Such insights can help retailers refine their channel design, targeting, and messaging. For example, brick-and-mortar stores provide a forum for younger shoppers to socialize, while older shoppers tend to appreciate the traditional store benefits of in-person product inspection and instant purchase of items.

    The ability to save time by shopping online is particularly appealing to Latin American and Asian shoppers. The entertainment aspects of a physical store tend to appeal to the Latino segment and younger white shoppers, and the ability to socialize with family/friends appeals to black shoppers overall and younger consumers in general, especially non-white consumers. These preferences may also be related to other factors such as place of residence and marital status.

About the Conference Board
The Conference Board is the member-run think tank that provides authoritative insights into the future. Founded in 1916, we are a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status in the United States. www.conference-board.org.

SOURCE The Conference Board

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