Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Mystery of Bleach, Brand Loyalty, and The Latino Story

Spring is here and cleaning is in the minds of many. For years I have heard that bleach is an important cleansing agent in Hispanic households.  When visiting Latino households I regularly smell bleach in the kitchens and bathrooms.  

Using data from Experian Marketing Services’ Simmons National Hispanic Consumer Study that was collected in the twelve months ending on November 20, 2012, I found that 87% of Hispanic adults live in households that use bleach while only 82% of non-Hispanic adults live in households that use bleach. That represents an index of 105 for Latinos compared with an index of 99 for non-Latinos.

Interestingly, then, the attitudes expressed by Hispanics during my many years of doing research seem to be reflected in quantitative data. Bleach is an important part of the cleaning and disinfecting routine of Hispanics, and to a larger extent than anyone else.

Also, we all have heard about how brand loyal Latinos are. Because of a weak economy and other factors I suspected that private label and less expensive products would be most popular at this time. To my surprise Clorox is the brand of bleach most likely to be used by Latinos, even though it is a more premium brand. The following chart reports the brands used “most often” in Hispanic and non-Hispanic households.

Clearly, brand loyalty is alive and well among Latinos.  How else would one explain that Clorox bleach is their preferred brand? When doing qualitative research with Hispanics I frequently hear comments regarding the importance of staying with brands that have shown their efficacy over time.  In particular, Hispanics seem to be more brand loyal when it comes to products that are more central to the wellbeing of their families. This is good news for the Clorox company and an interesting challenge to alternative bleach manufacturers. This is a category where there is ample opportunity to grow among Hispanics.

Clorox 2 is a different type of product as it is not an oxidant, instead of bleach it uses oxygen as a cleaning agent. Interestingly, this product does not do as well among Hispanics, at least not yet.

At any rate, the story told here serves as a brand loyalty case study and a reminder of the value of cleanliness that Latinos hold dear. This also serves as a reminder that cultural values for product usage can be very powerful in determining consumer behavior.

The data used here is from Experian Marketing Services’ Simmons National Hispanic Consumer Study and was collected from October 24, 2011 to November, 2012. The sample of Hispanics contains 8,521 individuals and the non-Hispanic sample has 17,043 people.