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A Look at the Intercultural Consumer: America’s New Mainstream Growth Driver

Intermarriage, cohabitation, cultural openness, receptivity and proximity have transformed the face of America and will continue to do so in the years ahead. But these aren’t the only factors changing our country’s makeup; the foreign-born population has more than quadrupled since the 1960s, while the percentage of foreign-born with European ancestry has dropped from 74% to 11%.

Meanwhile, the U.S.-born population of multicultural households has increased exponentially, the blending and mixing of races and ethnicities within households has become the norm for over half of the U.S. population under the age of 50. Fifty-three percent of the U.S. population under 50 now lives in either multicultural households or households that are blended.

So what does this mean for brand marketers aiming for a better way to reach U.S. households in a changing U.S. with mixed races and ethnicities? Nielsen has collaborated with EthniFacts, a consumer research consultancy and cross-cultural insights provider, to bring marketers up to cultural speed. With the recent launch of the Nielsen Intercultural Affinity Segmentation, Nielsen and EthniFacts are helping marketers better understand the new mainstream America, where a majority of the population is either multicultural or highly influenced by multicultural attitudes, products and trends.

With this new tool and methodology, brands can aggregate consumers regardless of race and ethnicity that have shown they have the mindset, behavior and opportunity to think and buy outside of their root culture. This approach will enable marketers to enlarge the demographic “bucket segments” beyond traditional, self-ascribed race and ethnicity choices and to measure the real impact of multicultural influence.

“The Intercultural Affinity Segmentation empowers our clients to broaden their thinking beyond intra-ethnic segmentation to include a much larger consumer base,” said Aret Ratyosyan, Product Leader of North America Buy at Nielsen. “The ability to broaden multicultural reach to a wider variety of consumers, including non-Hispanic whites, will highlight new opportunities that may have been missed in the past by allowing marketers to realize and activate the true size of the multicultural prize with the most efficient marketing spend.”

The Nielsen Intercultural Affinity Segmentation examines five key constructs—competence, aspiration, culture/language valuation, behavior and opportunity—to identify and place multicultural consumers within five segments based on how they think, how they act, and their environment (both virtual and physical). Marketers can then use these segments to gain a deeper understanding of today’s intercultural consumer in the U.S. regardless of race and ethnicity.

Marketers using Nielsen Intercultural Affinity Segmentation will have a number of advantages, including:

  • Maximizing the reach and impact of new and existing products
  • Identifying the best channels for distribution
  • Applying total market metrics to marketing strategies
  • Determining tie-in products for cross promotion
  • Measuring and tracking consumer response to marketing efforts
  • Predicting potential future trends for all consumers through the identification of high intercultural affinity segment behavior.

This new segmentation approach allows marketers to realize and activate the real size of the multicultural prize embracing all consumers regardless of their self-ascribed race and ethnicity, with the most efficient marketing spend. It opens a window to opportunities that may have been missed in the past. Using the Intercultural Affinity model inside Nielsen Homescan and Nielsen Spectra allows marketers to track and measure gains within the different Intercultural Affinity segments specifically for their categories and brands and to mitigate risks within any segments that may be averse to certain communication efforts.