This story first appeared in the May 27, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

By 2042, half of all Americans will be women we now call minorities. As senior vice president and general manager of SoftSheen-Carson, Angela Guy spends much of her time researching this kind of specific demographic data to get close to her customer, specifically people of color. Guy used 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data, as well as other sources, to educate the crowd on the shopping habits of Hispanics and African-Americans and how marketers can better target introductions based on their specific needs.

Hispanic women, for example, place the highest value on looking their best every day. Data also showed Hispanic women have a greater bias toward making a purchase decision while in the store than at home, are significantly more likely to purchase a product if incentivized by a coupon or special pack and are greatly influenced by recommendations by family and friends. Hispanics, Guy said, dramatically changed the way they shop as a result of the economic downturn, spending 45 percent less on beauty overall and becoming more willing to buy store brands.

African-American women, on the other hand, are not as concerned about wrinkles as Hispanic and Caucasian women, but are more concerned about balancing their skin tone. This group also skews lower in makeup usage, according to Guy’s data, presumably because there are a limited number of shades available to match their skin tone. While African-Americans represent 13 percent of the population, they account for 30 percent of hair care category spending. African-American buying power, Guy said, has been growing at a rate of 6 percent per year since 1990. Unlike Hispanics, African-American women are more likely to make a cosmetics purchase at home where there are more shade ranges. And while this group has the highest unemployment rate, they are the least likely to shift to home hair care options from salon services.

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