What Amazon Knows About Spanish-speaking Markets – and You Should, Too

Press enter to search
Close search
Open Menu

What Amazon Knows About Spanish-speaking Markets – and You Should, Too

By Craig Witt, EVP, MotionPoint - 05/21/2017
Overseas, Amazon is making big waves. The e-commerce juggernaut now serves consumers in 13 of the world's top 17 economies. It just acquired e-commerce marketplace Souq.com to make inroads in the Middle East. And closer to home, it's doubling down on the Hispanic and Spanish-speaking markets. In early March, it added Spanish to its U.S. website, and launched its Prime service in Mexico.

The Hispanic and Mexican market moves are bold; e-retailers should take notice
Hispanics are exerting more cultural and economic influence in the States — especially within the past decade. They currently represent nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population, a number that will grow to 28 percent by 2060. This year, their buying power will hit $1.7 trillion.

English fluency is always increasing among Hispanics, but Amazon's decision to serve them with Spanish online experiences is super smart. Nearly 75 percent of these shoppers still speak Spanish at home, and nearly all insist it's important for future generations to speak Spanish, too.

To reach these consumers in meaningful ways and build brand trust, Amazon — and businesses like yours — must consider both the linguistic and cultural relevance of key messages. If done correctly, being bold will pay off for your brand, and you will see significant gains among this market — much like Amazon undoubtedly will.

Timing is everything — and the time is now
By adding Spanish to its U.S. website, Amazon will empower more than 40 million native Spanish speakers in the States — and more than 10 million bilingual Spanish speakers — to switch their online experience between English and Spanish at will.

That's a big deal. Even among bilingual Hispanics, language connects people in powerful, persuasive ways. It's one of the best means to build customer trust and streamlines the transactional experience.

The wisdom of Amazon's move becomes even clearer when you examine how Hispanic consumers shop on the web. Google research identifies Hispanics as “power users” of mobile devices, and with good reason. They're on their smartphones 25 percent more per week than the national average. Nearly half prefer accessing the web via their mobile devices. They shop on their phones more than any other ethnic group in the U.S., too. Most Hispanics are buying more online than they were a year ago.

This perfectly jibes with Amazon's mobile-friendly strategies. Amazon's sites are sticky — especially for mobile users. Customers spend about 100 minutes each month on Amazon's mobile experiences. This crushes the competition: Target and Walmart shoppers spend about 20 and 14 minutes on their mobile sites, respectively. Shoppers visit Amazon's mobile site more than twice as often each month, too.

The company's unmatched mobile presence — and now the addition of Spanish to its U.S. website — will undoubtedly help it reach the Hispanic market, and further grow market share.

Prime in Mexico: another way to woo customers
In the same week it debuted its Spanish-language U.S. website, Amazon also launched its popular Prime membership in Mexico. For an annual fee of 449 pesos, or approximately $23, customers now have access to perks such as video-streaming services and free shipping. For example, in Mexico City, Guadalajara, Puebla and QuerÉtaro, customers now have access to free, one-day shipping on select products. In Mexico City, same-day delivery on thousands of products is now available.

Serving Mexicans in Spanish is an obvious requirement, but to convert them, you must support the customer experience like a local business. This includes supporting local currencies, preferred payment methods and great shipping options and offers. You've got to make the customer feel valued — and that's exactly what Amazon is doing here.

E-retailers shouldn't just take note of Amazon's bold moves — they should be moving quickly to emulate them. And the opportunities don't end with Spanish speakers.

With so many global markets primed for growth, and with smartphone adoption rates hitting new highs, companies that engage these consumers on their devices of choice — in their languages of choice — stand to gain a powerful competitive advantage.


Craig Witt is an executive vice president at MotionPoint, a company that delivers technology and services for website translation, localization and optimization.