Trump Backlash Shows Latino Consumers' Growing Influence
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
Macy's is the latest company to sever ties with Donald Trump, saying it will no longer carry his menswear line. Trump also has been dumped by several media companies over disparaging comments he made about Mexican immigrants when he announced his presidential run. Those include NBC, which says Trump will no longer host "The Apprentice" and the Spanish-language network Univision. Univision will no longer air the Miss USA or Miss Universe pageants, both partly owned by Donald Trump. Here's his reaction yesterday on CNN.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
DONALD TRUMP: That's the problem with our country. Everybody folds under pressure. Instead of doing the right thing, they have two people go outside with a sign. Then they immediately say, oh, gee, we have to do - this is pressure, pressure. People can't handle pressure.
MONTAGNE: Alexandra Starr, of NPR's Codes Switch team, reports that the backlash shows the growing influence of Latino consumers.
ALEXANDRA STARR, BYLINE: Donald Trump is not backing down from his characterization of many Latino immigrants as criminals or otherwise undesirable.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
TRUMP: People are coming into our country. We have no idea - and they're from all over the world. We have no idea who they are.
STARR: But retailers and media companies do know who they are. They make up one of the fastest growing groups of consumers. There're 52 million Latinos living in the U.S. Their purchasing power is expected to reach $1.5 trillion this year, up 50 percent from 2010.
LINDA GONZALEZ: And that's growing. They're expecting that to grow by another 50 percent in five years.
STARR: Linda Gonzalez is president of ViVA Partnership, a Hispanic marketing agency in Miami. She points out that Latinos are coveted because they are young. Their average age is 27, which means many are just entering their prime buying years. And retailers are particularly eager to win over this group because unlike most millennials, they don't do much online shopping.
GONZALEZ: They're the ones who are keeping the malls open because they go to the stores.
STARR: And media companies, especially Spanish-language broadcasters like Univision and the NBC-owned Telemundo, are vying for Latino viewers. They're also a coveted demographic for mass media. Mark Hugo Lopez is director of Hispanic research at the Pew Research Center.
MARK HUGO LOPEZ: That young Latino is going to be the big part of audience growth moving forward because that's where a lot of the growth in the nation's youth population is coming from.
STARR: This emerging generation tends to be bilingual and bicultural. By 2050, about one third of the U.S. population is expected to be Latino. With those rising numbers comes more influence. Fernand Amandi is a principal with Bendixen & Amandi, a research and communications firm specializing in the U.S. Hispanic market.
FERNAND AMANDI: You cannot risk insulting or alienating this community without there being now an economic price to pay.
STARR: He argues that Latino-Americans are at a tipping point, where they realize they have the power to punish Trump for his unfounded comments. As the backlash continues, Trump is fighting back. On Tuesday, he sued Univision for $500 million, and he's considering filing suit against NBC as well. Alexandra Starr, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.