Hispanics: Pharma’s Untapped Consumer
Perspectives > Blog Post

Hispanics: Pharma’s Untapped Consumer

September 8, 2015

Melissa Pitts

Much has been written about the growing influence of Hispanic consumers for brands. Everything from retail, restaurant, and tech industries have seen a boost in numbers in large part because of concentrated efforts targeting Hispanics. One area where this demographic remains largely untapped: pharmaceuticals. And, while Hispanics contributed $23 billion from 203-2014, to the U.S. pharmaceutical market, there is still room for enormous growth.

Much has been written about the growing influence of Hispanic consumers for brands. Everything from retail, restaurant, and tech industries have seen a boost in numbers in large part because of concentrated efforts targeting Hispanics. One area where this demographic remains largely untapped: pharmaceuticals. And, while Hispanics contributed $23 billion from 203-2014, to the U.S. pharmaceutical market, there is still room for enormous growth.

The obvious reason for the growth trend is the sheer increase in population, but dig a little deeper and there are other reasons why Hispanics are becoming more active participants in healthcare and how pharma can leverage this growth:

  • The Affordable Care Act: Before the ACA was signed in 2010, significant barriers contributed to lower rates of Hispanics being enrolled in some kind of insurance plan. However, things are looking up for uninsured Hispanics and positive numbers around enrollment have starting coming in. After last year’s first enrollment period, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, Hispanics made up about 7 percent of enrollees on the federally run marketplaces and that share had climbed to 10 percent by January 2015. With an increase in enrollment, comes the inevitable increase in demand for treatment and health education.
  • Chronic Illness: While Hispanics have a lower prevalence of many chronic conditions than non-Hispanic Whites such as hypertension and heart disease; obesity and diabetes are prevalent when compared to their Non-Hispanic White and Non-Hispanic Black peers. As nearly 1/3 of adult Hispanics are obese and 1 out of every 5 suffers from diabetes, it’s critical for pharma to talk to this demographic in a meaningful and culturally relevant way (remember: this is not a homogenous group!) that speaks not just to treatment, but also prevention. Brands who have these conversations now, will see growth as more Hispanics enroll in healthcare plans.
  • White Space. According to from the AHAA: the Voice of Hispanic Marketing, pharmaceutical “marketers increased their aggregate Hispanic advertising investment by only 4 percent between 2010 and 2014 to $165 million. Among the top 500 U.S. advertisers, the pharmaceutical category allocation to Hispanic dedicated media remained basically unchanged at 2.5 percent–less than the national average of 8.5 percent.” Even with little resources spent, the results are encouraging— 20 percent of Hispanics versus 12 percent Non—Hispanics in a different poll, saw a doctor for a new illness due to health information received from television.

At this moment there is a window of opportunity for pharmaceuticals to engage with the fastest growing population—and whatever brand(s) tap into this young, diverse demographic will not only see short-term gains, but long-term as well.

Melissa Pitts

Manager, Brand Development

As Manager of Brand Development at Kelton, Melissa is dedicated to crafting a story and strategy that meets our client’s individual needs. She is an avid storyteller, and uses this strength to...

Up Next