Latino Spending Boosts Apparel and Footwear Industry


Even with the stagnant economy, the U.S. Department of Commerce reports that overall spending on apparel and footwear has slightly outpaced overall consumer spending over the past two years – and the industry has the Latino market to thank for this. Shoe stores should be especially targeting Latino buyers.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Latinos spend an average of $1998 annually on apparel and services, compared to $1659 for non-Latinos. The difference is particularly striking in the footwear category.  The average Latino spends $476 per year on footwear compared to $280 for non-Latinos, a difference of nearly $200.  Latinos also spend more on clothing for boys and girls ages 2-15 than non-Latinos.
Though overall consumer spending on apparel is up, consumers are dedicating a declining portion of their overall spending on apparel and related items.  Twenty years ago, consumers spent 5% of their disposable income on apparel and footwear.  Today it is 3.3% of total spending.
So, it is no surprise that retailers have taken note of the significant spending power of Latino shoppers.  The Selig Center for Economic Growth estimates the current spending power of the Latino market to be $1.2 trillion.  As a result, retailers such as Macy’s, Wal-Mart, Dillard’s, J.C. Penney, Kohl’s, Kmart and Sears have been more aggressive in attracting Latino customers.
More stores are developing Latino-specific apparel collections, gearing advertising campaigns to the Latino market.  Kmart, for example, signed “Modern Family” star Sofia Vergara to be the face of a young contemporary lifestyle line. In addition, Perry Ellis International (PEI) has developed several Latino lines particularly for the men’s market.  Among PEI’s men’s brands are Cubavera; Centro for Kohl’s; Havanera for J.C. Penney, as well as Solero and Cafe Luna.
Market research shows that the Latino customer tends to be younger, with the median age being 27, opposed to the non-Latino customer’s median age of 39.  In addition, Latinos tend more often than non-Latinos to shop for clothing and apparel with their families as a recreational activity.