A study, commissioned by Unilever , has provided new insight into the shopping habits of Hispanic consumers in the US.

Conducted using shoppers’ diaries and store receipts rather than the more conventional Q & A approach, the “Winning the Hispanic Shopping Trip” survey showed that the Hispanic consumers were less satisfied with their shopping experiences than other consumer groups, Unilever said.

However, the company believes its research will provide retailers with practical in-store solutions to meet the Hispanic shopper’s needs and expectations.

“Retailers have an important opportunity to build their business amongst Hispanic shoppers,” said Michael Polk, president, Unilever United States . “The Unilever Hispanic Shopping Trip Study shows that the Hispanic consumer is less satisfied with their shopping experiences than is the general market consumer. We’re confident that the Hispanic shopper insights in this study will help retailers develop more specific actions as they look to build their strategies for reaching these increasingly important shoppers.”

The research, which focused on four of the largest Hispanic markets in the US, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami and New York, also showed that because food plays such a dominant role in Hispanic life, all shopping activities were highly planned. The research indicated that only 2% of shopping trips were described as urgent by Hispanic shoppers, in comparison with 19% among consumers in general.

Although the products Hispanic shoppers look for differ according to their country of origin, the study showed that Hispanic shoppers are similar in their shopping behaviour, for example in terms of frequency and the type of shopping trips they take. Routine trips are not characterised by any specific item. Hispanic shoppers have different routines for different product categories, but they generally shop where they find the convenience and service appealing, Unilever said.

Hispanic Shoppers make a higher number of bigger trips, and far fewer quick trips than the general market consumer, the survey revealed. It also showed that Hispanic shoppers are significantly more aware (by a 48% to 36% margin) of ‘specials’ before going to the store than are general market shoppers.

Some 22% of Hispanic shoppers walk or take public transportation to shop compared to just 1 in 33 among general market consumers. Hence, geography plays a key part in store choice, along with value. The study also revealed that a higher proportion of Hispanic consumers (35%) shop after 6pm than is seen among the general population where the figure is 18%.