4 in 5 Gen Zers say multicultural and diverse communities largely shape brand preferences, along with more than half of the general population

by | Apr 9, 2024 | Public Relations

Multicultural marketing has been a hugely important strategy for directly and appropriately targeting an increasingly diverse population to widen brand reach, but new research from marketing and advertising tech platform Direct Digital Holdings shows this approach goes beyond those borders. The outsized influence that multicultural and diverse communities have on the brand choices of mainstream consumers—especially Gen Z—makes multicultural marketing not only more important, but the new standard that marketers should view as a seismic shift to intentionally and authentically connect with multicultural and diverse consumers.

The firm’s new report, Cracking the Code: How Multicultural & Gen Z Reshape Mainstream Marketing, based on a survey of more than 2,300 U.S. consumers conducted by Horowitz Research, reveals that 81 percent of Gen Zers—the most diverse generation in history—and 72 percent of Millennials say that multicultural and diverse consumers have a big impact on their brand choices, and surprisingly, 48 percent of Gen Xers, and 32 percent of Boomers report the same.

multicultural marketing

While younger consumers are at the forefront of this market shift, results reveal that the level of multicultural and diverse peoples’ influence on the overall market surpasses their current share of the population—with more than half (57 percent) of today’s mainstream consumers saying that multicultural and diverse communities’ tastes and opinions strongly influence their own brand preferences.

When looking at the impact specifically on major brand categories, a very high percentage of Gen Zers said that multicultural/diverse communities have an influence on a wide range of product and service choices. Top categories where Gen Z cite big/some influence, include:

  • Food/Restaurants – 90 percent
  • Fashion – 89 percent 
  • Entertainment – 88 percent 
  • Beauty/Wellness – 87 percent 
  • Household/Cleaning – 82 percent 
  • Technology – 76 percent  

“There was a time when brands had a Hispanic budget, a Black budget, etc. Today, it’s everybody’s responsibility to reach these audiences,” said Michael Roca, executive director of ELEVATE at Omnicom Media Group, in a news release. “Brands and agencies need to make this a business priority, and the siloed approach doesn’t work anymore.”

multicultural marketing

Examining the presence of diversity in various circles of family, friends, colleagues and neighbors—as well as celebrities, influencers, and other public figures followed on social or other media—the survey confirmed that diversity is real and present in U.S. consumers’ lives. Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of mainstream consumers say that at least some of their closest connections do not share their race, ethnicity or sexual identity. Gen Z consumers, however, were the most likely to say that their connections, at every level, are primarily diverse.

“These groups have been disproportionately influential. And today, cultural circles are more heterogeneous than ever before,” added Dr. Marcus Collins, clinical assistant professor of marketing at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, and author of For the Culture, in the release. “Marketers have been a little slow to this. Particularly the impact and influence of network effects.”

multicultural marketing

The report tapped into the perspectives of a wide range of leading executives from across the media and marketing industry, as well as top academics. 

“Among the younger consumers who will dominate the market in the future, the deep-rooted presence and influence of multicultural and diverse people has become staggering – making intentional and authentic connection with these communities critical for any brand seeking success in the marketplace,” said Mark D. Walker, CEO and co-founder of Direct Digital Holdings, who wrote the introduction to the report, in the release. “Moreover, the research makes clear that this isn’t just about tomorrow. Black/African American, Hispanic/Latin, AAPI and LGBTQIA+ people already have an outsized influence on the brand choices of 57 percent of the broader market today. It’s a tipping point that cannot and should not be ignored.”

multicultural marketing

Download the full report here.

This study included quantitative research and analysis conducted by Horowitz Research. A total of 2311 online surveys were conducted November 16-27, 2023. 1,021 general market interviews among 13+ U.S. consumers, plus an oversample of 1,290 Black, Hispanic/Latin, and AAPI consumers. Data have been weighted as needed to ensure results are representative of each of the individual segments and the U.S. population as a whole.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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