Amazon to offer shopping in Spanish
In coming weeks, Amazon’s U.S. site will be available en Español as well as English, its first incursion into new language options in 20 years and a boon to the 40 million-plus native Spanish-speaking and 10 million-plus bilingual Spanish-speaking Americans, an Amazon spokesperson told CNET.
The move, which enables consumers to toggle between English and Spanish product listings and information, signals an attempt to appeal to Spanish speakers in the U.S. as well as in the increasingly important Mexico market, where Amazon expanded its Prime shipping service earlier this week. The e-commerce giant's official Amazon Mexico and Amazon Spain sites are already presented in Spanish.
Amazon operates many of its overseas sites using native languages, including several in Europe, and offers dual- or multiple-language shopping opportunities on its sites in Canada (English and French), and in Germany (German, English, Dutch, Polish and Turkish).
Spanish-speaking Americans will likely cheer this development, but it may worry Target.
The big-box retailer was the 28th largest spender on Hispanic media in 2013, and has focused several past marketing efforts on reaching Hispanic shoppers: In 2015 it launched an advertising campaign dubbed #SinTraducción (“without translation”) that the retailer’s SVP of marketing Rick Gomez said “celebrates the untranslatable moments in our Hispanic guests’ lives.” That was expanded to include a comprehensive integration and product placements into the hit CW sitcom “Jane the Virgin,” which features mainly Latino characters.
CVS Pharmacy has similarly expanded its Hispanic-focused “CVS y más” initiative, first launched in Miami in 2015, to nine Los Angeles-area stores last year. In addition to other features, the format includes bilingual signage and staff and more than 1,500 products favored by Hispanics in California.
Thanks to income and population growth, Hispanics of all ages in the U.S. will drive consumer spending beyond millennials’ influence by 2020, according to recent research from Morgan Stanley analysts. Retail spending by Hispanic-Americans will rise by 1.6 percentage points by 2020, more than millennial spending growth of 0.6 percentage points and spending growth by 65-years-old-plus whites of 0.4 percentage points, according to Morgan Stanley. With a median age of 29, there are plenty of Hispanic millennials, for that matter: Some 60% are millennial-age or younger, according to Pew Research Center data.
Yet, limiting outreach to U.S. Hispanics solely through Spanish-language media would be self-defeating, considering that 80% of native-born Hispanics younger than 18 years-old speak only English at home, according to Pew. Plus, Hispanics born in the U.S. account for nearly two-thirds (64%) of the Hispanic market, according to Nielsen, and 35% of all Hispanics living in the United States speak both English and Spanish at home.
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