Personal Care Ethnic Diversity: A Premium on Staying Healthy

Will ethnic consumers believe your claims about convenience?
Stephen Heitz, Chief Innovation Officer | Tim Trull, Managing Director, Strategy

This article is a brief abstract of our exclusive study that takes the guesswork
out of personal care advertising and marketing.

Download the complete 2017 Southwest Personal Care Marketing Report

If your personal care business isn’t paying attention to ethnic consumers, you’re missing a large, influential and loyal market. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, here’s how ethnicity shakes out: 

  • 62.2% Non-Hispanic White
  • 17.4% Hispanic
  • 12.4% African-American
  • 5.2% Asian
  • 2% Two or more races
  • 0.7% American Indian and Alaska Native
  • .02% Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander

Do the math; nearly 40% of consumers identify themselves as belonging to a specific ethnic group. You can ignore them if you want, but your competitors probably won’t. Effective ethnic marketing often means communicating with consumers in their language and on their turf. Simple translations, which often do more harm than good, won’t do the trick.

To assist the personal care industry with creating optimal advertising, marketing and public relations messages to attract customers, LAVIDGE and Mosaic Multicultural recently fielded a comprehensive consumer survey. Here’s a preview of a fascinating insight about ethnic consumers from the report.


Be authentic and speak their language

Nearly 20% of survey participants identified themselves as African-American, Asian-American and Hispanic. Together, they reveal subtle but meaningful differences about personal care compared to the larger group of Caucasian/white responders.

Ethnic responders chose “We will help keep you healthier” as their top-rated statement, favoring it a substantial 13% more than Caucasians. That’s a fascinating preference, especially because a National Institutes of Health study found that “racial/ethnic minorities generally engaged in less healthy exercise and dietary behaviors than whites, with differences more pronounced in middle adulthood.”

Mark Suarez, Principal and Managing Director at Mosaic Multicultural, says this disparity can likely be attributed to the fact that advertisers rarely focus on ethnic minorities. “Minorities don’t often receive marketing messages about personal care or preventive healthcare,” says Suarez. “That can make them more receptive to authentic communication that promises to keep them healthier. They’ll respond to such messages because, finally, someone is literally speaking their language.”

Ethnic responders also rated several other statements much higher than white survey participants, including:

  • “Treat yourself for a change”
  • “Rejuvenate your body”
  • “You deserve to be pampered”
  • “Your friends recommend us”

Messages of convenience are of moderate interest to Caucasian/White responders, with 40% preferring the statement “We have locations near you.” But that message resonated with only 28% of ethnic responders. Why? 

“Ethnic minorities won’t believe marketing that promises nearby locations because it’s not a credible claim,” says Suarez. “Take a drive to neighborhoods with significant minority populations and you won’t see many personal care stores, and certainly not national brands. Mostly what you’ll find are some mom-and-pop stores that do quite well.”

 In their own words:

Survey responders said...

  • “Improving your health is the most important element in a wellness and beauty routine.”
  • “I don’t want to focus on how I look. I just want to know I am as healthy as I can be.”

  • “Funds are limited, so I need to buy the best value.”

  • “I like products that stand out from the rest. Something that is unique is sure to attract my attention.”


2017 Southwest Personal Care Marketing Report

Marketing Report Brochure

This article is a brief abstract of our exclusive and authoritative study that takes the guesswork out of personal care advertising and marketing. Rather than speculating about what will drive consumers to action, we've asked them.

*all fields are required

Need fresh thinking?

Help is a few keystrokes away.