Segmenting a Local Latino Market Using Berry=S Acculturation Taxonomy

Rachel Maldonado, Eastern Washington University
Patriya Tansuhaj, Washington State University
ABSTRACT - Consumer adaptation to a cross-cultural consumer market is investigated in this study from an acculturation perspective. This study explores Berry’s acculturation model as a useful taxonomy to understand consumer acculturation and its influence on brand choice. The taxonomy is operationalized through an acculturation measurement scale called the Cultural Life Style Inventory (CLSI). By applying the CLSI to a local Latino market, we were able to successfully segment the market into acculturation categories that exhibited distinct attitudinal and behavioral patterns. These patterns were reflected in brand choice, which varied across categories as predicted.
[ to cite ]:
Rachel Maldonado and Patriya Tansuhaj (2002) ,"Segmenting a Local Latino Market Using Berry=S Acculturation Taxonomy", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 29, eds. Susan M. Broniarczyk and Kent Nakamoto, Valdosta, GA : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 414-420.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 29, 2002     Pages 414-420


Rachel Maldonado, Eastern Washington University

Patriya Tansuhaj, Washington State University


Consumer adaptation to a cross-cultural consumer market is investigated in this study from an acculturation perspective. This study explores Berry’s acculturation model as a useful taxonomy to understand consumer acculturation and its influence on brand choice. The taxonomy is operationalized through an acculturation measurement scale called the Cultural Life Style Inventory (CLSI). By applying the CLSI to a local Latino market, we were able to successfully segment the market into acculturation categories that exhibited distinct attitudinal and behavioral patterns. These patterns were reflected in brand choice, which varied across categories as predicted.


This study investigates the role consumer acculturation plays in brand choice. Consumer acculturation is the process of movement and adaptation to a new consumer cultural environment (Pe±aloza 1994). Marketing researchers can no longer ignore this human phenomenon. In the United States alone, the annual number of new immigrants is estimated to be over eight hundred thousand. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that over nine million people immigrated legally to the U.S. from 1990 through 1998. These new consumers, combined with people of ethnic descent born and raised in the United States, form rapidly growing markets with increasing buying power. It is estimated that by the year 2010, thirty percent of the U.S. population will be members of ethnic communities, and that this figure will grow to forty percent by 2050 (U.S. Department of Commerce 2000). This makes it increasingly important to provide marketers segmentation tools they can use in targeting ad influencing consumer behavior in these growing markets.

The purpose of this study is to expand our understanding of consumer acculturation and introduce a measurement tool that marketers can use to investigate consumer acculturation categories and their influence on consumer behavior. Acculturation categories represent lifestyle patterns based upon an individual’s ethnic identity (an attitudinal variable) and involvement in ethnic versus host cultural behaviors (a behavioral variable). We begin by providing an overview of consumer acculturation and related literature. Based upon the dimensions identified in the overview, we import a categorization tool and conclude by showing how this tool was successful in predicting brand choice.


There are two views of the process by which individuals adapt to a different cultural environment. Assimilation is a view of adaptation that assumes that over time, a person adjusting to a new culture will become increasingly like the new culture and less like their old culture (Reilly and Wallendorf 1984). In contrast, acculturation recognizes that the adaptation process may result in different lifestyle patterns. Jun, Ball and Gentry (1993) adopted the definition of acculturation as those phenomena that result when groups of people from different cultures come into continuous first-hand contact with each other, thereby changing the cultural patterns of one or more of the cultural groups. Acculturation recognizes that changes take place over time but that one may not necessarily become more like the new culture.

Pe±aloza (1994) applied the definition of acculturation to address how immigrants adjust to a new consumer cultural environment. While the application of acculturation constructs to the consumer environment is an important advancement in consumer acculturation, defining consumer acculturation as the process of movement and adaptation to the consumer cultural environment in one country by persons from another country excludes the application of acculturation research to many consumers who were born and raised in ethnic families and communities in the U.S. As these individuals transmogrify (change or commute) from one culture to another within the same country, they are likely to encounter the same adjustment challenges as immigrants. Past studies on acculturation patterns among immigrants and subsequent generations have indicated that while some later generations of immigrants typically show a decline in some of their cultural practices, many ethnic group members retain a strong identification with and commitment to their ethnic group (Keefe and Padilla 1987; Phinney, Chavira and Williamson 1992; Rosenthal and Feldman 1992). We thus propose to expand the definition of consumer acculturation to include these individuals. In this study, consumer acculturation is the process of adapting to a different consumer cultural environment.

Consumers encounter many new roles with different behaviors, attitudes, and perceptions when adjusting to a different culture. During this time, attitudes and behaviors may sway back and forth between ethnic and host cultures, and attitudinal and behavioral components of acculturation may change at different speeds (Hui et al. 1992). Eventually consumers settle into routines or lifestyles characterized by more stable (though not permanent) attitudinal and behavioral dimensions.

In contrast to the assimilation view, which ssumes that consumers will become more and more like the host culture, consumer acculturation recognizes that a strong ethnic influence may remain (Pe±aloza 1994). This is reflected in the four acculturation categories of marginalization, segregation, integration and assimilation. Category determination is based on whether host or ethnic influences have a stronger influence on the attitudinal and behavioral dimensions. Because acculturation categories are the focus of this study, we further discuss the attitudinal and behavioral dimensions of acculturation categories in the next section.


The acculturation categories of integration, assimilation, segregation and marginalization are based upon the work of Berry (1980). Berry’s categories are determined by the value the individual places on identifying with their ethnic culture and the value of maintaining a relationship with the dominant society. Individuals in the integration category consider it to be of value to maintain ethnic identity and characteristics and to maintain relationships with other groups in the dominant society. Those in the assimilation category only consider it important to maintain relationships with other groups, and those in the segregation category only consider it important to maintain ethnic cultural identity and characteristics. Those in the marginalization category do not consider maintaining either ethnic cultural identity and characteristics or relationships with other groups to be important.

Berry’s taxonomy provides an important structure for understanding acculturation and is loosely paralleled in the consumer acculturation outcomes in Pe±aloza’s (1994) consumer acculturation model. The categories provide good descriptions of consumption behavior. However, in order to understand why consumers in different acculturation categories exhibit different marketplace preferences and behaviors, it is necessary to look at both attitudinal and behavioral dimension of acculturation categories. Studies have found that these two acculturation dimensions are distinct (Gentry, Jun and Tansuhaj 1995; Hui et al. 1992; Jun, Ball and Gentry 1993) and should both be measured (Gentry, Jun and Tansuhaj 1995). For the purposes of this paper, we will treat ethnic identity as the attitudinal dimension and participation in host and ethnic cultural behaviors as the behavioral dimension. The following sections discuss the two dimensions, as well as how and why they are used to determine the categories.

Ethnic Identity

The attitudinal dimension of acculturation has been related to ethnic identity (Gentry, Jun and Tansuhaj 1995; Jun, Ball and Gentry 1993). Ethnies (or ethnic groups) are socially derived subgroupings within a larger society with their own combination of language, religion, race or ancestral homeland and whose members participate in shared activities built around their common origin and culture (Yinger 1986).

Ethnic identity can be defined s one’s basic group or cultural identity and consists of relatively stable properties (cf. Zmud and Arce 1992). It includes some of the aspects mentioned above such as nationality, country of origin, and paternal ancestry. It could also include religion (Hirschman 1981; Hui et al. 1992; Laroche et al. 1991), and pride and appreciation of cultural heritage (Gentry, Jun and Tansuhaj 1995; Jun, Ball and Gentry 1993). Even though one’s "felt ethnicity" or strength of ethnic identification may vary in different situations (see Stayman and Deshpande 1989), ethnic identity is viewed as a fundamental way in which one identifies oneself and represents a relatively stable dimension (cf. Zmud and Arce 1992).

Participation in Ethnic and Host Cultural Behaviors

The behavioral dimension of acculturation relates to participation in host and ethnic related behaviors. Several such behaviors have been studied. The most popular is language usage. Language considerations in the behavioral dimension include how well ethnic members speak English, how often their ethnic language is spoken at home, and in which language they would prefer to converse if given a choice (Valenica 1985). Other language use situations include at work, in school, when speaking with relatives, when watching television, listening to the radio, reading newspapers or magazines, shopping etc. (Hui et al. 1992). While language has been shown to have good validity as a behavioral measure (Laroche et al. 1991), it may not be appropriate for all acculturating groups.

Additional behavioral examples are place of residency (ethnic versus nonethnic neighborhood), celebration of holidays and special events, social interaction activities, ethnicity of friends, intermarriage and spousal ethnic identification as well as amount of direct versus indirect host culture contact (Gentry, Jun and Tansuhaj 1995; Jun, Ball and Gentry 1993; Laroche et al. 1991; Lee 1994; Valenica 1985).

Acculturation Dimensions and Berry’s Taxonomy

Berry’s acculturation taxonomy identified four acculturation categories based upon one’s ethnic identification and value of maintaining a relationship with the dominant society (Berry 1980). Since the value of maintaining a relationship with a social group would likely result in behaviors associated with that group, Berry’s taxonomy is described below in terms of ethnic identity and participation in host versus ethnic related behaviors. This allows for the continued investigation of both attitudinal and behavioral dimensions.

According to Berry’s taxonomy, individuals in the assimilation category are characterized as having a low ethnic identity and placing a high value on maintaining a relationship with the dominant culture. Therefore, they are expected to exhibit high participation in dominant culture behaviors and low participation in ethnic cultural behaviors. Since individuals in the integration category are described as having a high ethnic identity and valuing relationships with both the dominant and ethnic groups, they are expected to show high participation in both dominant and ethnic cultural behaviors.

Individuals in the segregation category of Berry’s taxonomy are more likely to have high ethnic identity, and to consider it important to maintain relationship with only their ethnic group. Therefore, they are expected to exhibit low dominant cultural behaviors and participate in more ethnic cultural behaviors. Those in the marginalization category are characterized as having low ethnic identity and do not consider it important to maintain relationships with either group. Therefore, they may not exhibit behavior acceptable to either group.

Measuring Acculturation Categories

Marketers need to have a way to measure acculturation in order to use Berry’s taxonomy as a segmentation tool. Some acculturation measures have been designed for specific age groups (Phinney, Chavira and Williamson 1992), and others for multiple or specific ethnic groups (Karande and Grbavac 1996; Marfn and Gamba 1996; Phinney 1992). Some researchers have focused on the behavioral dimension and used language spoken, for example, as a measure of degree of ethnic identification or assimilation (e.g. Webster 1994). Other researchers have emphasized the importance of evaluating both attitudinal and behavioral dimensions when measuring acculturation (Gentry, Jun and Tansuhaj 1995; Jun, Ball and Gentry 1993). Many of the scales used in the literature provide an overall measure of one’s degree of association with ethnic or host cultures but are not specific enough to segment customers into acculturation categories.

One scale that is specifically designed to measure categories of acculturation rather than levels of assimilation is the Cultural Life Style Inventory (CLSI) (Mendoza 1989). Consistent with the above recommendations, this 29-item scale measures both behavioral and attitudinal dimensions. It contains four behavioral factors of (a) intra-family language, (b) extra-family language, (c) social affiliation and activities, and (d) cultural familiarity and activities, and an attitudinal factor of cultural identification and pride.

The theoretical base upon which Mendoza built his scale is similar to Berry’s taxonomy. It identifies four acculturation patterns, three of which correspond directly to Berry’s categories. The first pattern is cultural resistance. Comparable to Berry’s segregation category, individuals in this pattern are described as either actively or passively against the acquisition of alternate cultural norms, while maintaining ethnic customs. Mendoza’s cultural shift pattern is characterized as a deliberate substitution of alternate cultural norms for ethnic customs and can be compared to Berry’s assimilation category. The cultural incorporation pattern is comparable to Berry’s integration category as it is characterized by adaptation of customs from both ethnic and alternate cultures. Mendoza’s fourth pattern differs from Berry’s marginalization category as the pattern describes the alteration of ethnic and alternate cultural practices to create a unique subcultural entity rather than a rejection of both cultures. One critique of Mendoza’s scale is that it does not provide a method for categorizing this last pattern (see Magana et al. 1996).

Each of the 29 items in the CLSI has response options corresponding to the three acculturation patterns or categories. For example, the scale item asking about the language of one’s reading material has response options of "(a) only or (b) mostly in Spanish" for the segregation category, "(c) only or (d) mostly in English" for the assimilation category, and "(e) both in English and Spanish about equally" for the integration category. Todetermine an individual’s acculturation category, the number of responses in each category are summed and divided by the total number of responses. The highest category percentage represents the acculturation category. For example, a respondent with seventeen responses of "a" or "b", three of "e" and nine of either "c" or "d" would have percentages of 59% in the segregation category, 10% in the integration category, and 31% in the assimilation category and would be categorized as belonging in the segregation category.

Mendoza originally recommended that there be a statistical difference between the top two categorical percentages in order to declare that a respondent fell into a particular category. This, however, proved to be too stringent a requirement in some studies and created a low success rate in categorizing respondents. In a later study utilizing the CLSI, Mendoza recommended that categorization be based solely on the highest categorical percentage (see Magana et al. 1996). This raised the success rate of categorizing respondents in that study from 10% to 87%. The remaining thirteen percent of the respondents could not be classified because their top two percentages were tied. Mendoza (1989) reported that the CLSI has high internal consistency. The four behavioral factors had cronbach’s alphas of .87, .91, .89, and .84, and the attitudinal factor had a cronbach’s alpha of .89.


Market segmentation divides a market into groups of people with identifiable and similar characteristics. Marketing managers are then able to gain a better understanding of those segments in hopes of predicting and influencing their consumer behavior. The above sections have identified a useful taxonomy for categorizing acculturating individuals and a tool that can be used to identify and place individuals into those categories. What remains to be seen is whether the above categorization process is useful in a consumer behavior setting. We have chosen to investigate this through the context of predicting brand choice.

Brands are thought to reflect the perception of who we want to be (Olsen 1995). Brand preference may be passed from one generation to the next, or it may be formed at a particular moment in time during an impressionable period such as a move to a new cultural environment. Regardless of whether brand preference is developed from childhood or later in life, it is often the consequence of a socialization process. Acting in accordance with the learned values and appropriate roles brings social approval. An individual’s reference group is likely to be a strong socializing agent as well as the basis for social approval and desirability and would therefore have a strong influence on brand choice.

Consumers in the segregation category have been described as having a tendency to group together with people who have similar desires and to separate themselves from the host society. This would mean that their reference group would consist of people from their ethnic culture. According to Mehta and Belk (1991), Olsen (1995), and Fournier (1998), brands can serve as conductors of memories that connect us to important places in our personal histories as well as reminding us of favorite relatives. Therefore, individuals in the segregation category are likely to have a preference for an ethnic brand. Ethnic brands are brands which members of an ethnic group associate with their group. In addition to a desired strong connection to a traditional ethnic culture, loyalty to brands with a trong ethnic cultural association would aid in establishing a collective identification through what Boorstin (1974) calls "consumption communities." Shopping cohorts such as those in the segregation consumption communities would have a strong positive influence on ethnic brand choice.

The reference group for individuals in the assimilation category is likely to be from the host society. These individuals are likely to choose brands associated with the host culture more often than ethnic brands. Olsen (1995) stated that disparate populations that have nothing else in common might identify through the consumption of popular brands. Choosing brands affiliated with the host culture (host brands) may be seen as a way of gaining and maintaining a connection with the host culture. Choosing host culture brands may also be symbolic of liberation from an undesired ethnic culture connection. We would therefore expect them to choose host brands more often than individuals in either the segregation or integration categories.

Individuals in the integration category may include members from both host and ethnic cultures in their reference group. This would encourage them to integrate brands associated with both cultures into their consumption patterns more frequently. Their brand choice may fluctuate depending on which culture they will be interacting with at the time, or they may develop preferences for particular brands from either culture.

Marketplace success is not a dominant theme in the marginalization category. Individuals in this category are described as resisting the pulls of both host and ethnic cultures and brands with ties to either culture would not influence their consumption behavior (cf. Pe±aloza 1994). Success may in fact be survival, and brand loyalty may not be a relevant factor. Marginalization is not a desired state and is avoided when ever possible (Phinney, Chavira and Williamson 1992). Although it is plausible that some members of ethnic groups become marginalized in U.S. society, it is unlikely that individuals in the marginalization category would be be included in the available mailing lists for this study. In fact, it is apt to be difficult to locate individuals in the marginalized category with either mail or phone surveys and they are not expected to be a part of the sampling frame of this study.

Based upon the above description, we hypothesize that:

H1 Consumers in the assimilation category are likely to choose host brands more often and ethnic brands less often than individuals in the other categories.

H2 Consumers in the integration category are likely to choose host and ethnic brands in similar proportions.

H3 Consumers in the segregation category are likely to choose ethnic brands more often and host brands less often than individuals in the other categories.


This study was designed to investigate the applicabiity of using CLSI to operationalize Berry’s taxonomy and success in predicting brand choice among segment or category members. A mail survey designed to measure acculturation categories and brand choice was mailed to Latinos living in a U.S. northwestern community.


Latinos were selected for this study because they are one of the largest immigrant groups to the U.S. and are one of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. population. A mailing list of 410 individuals was used from an educational organization serving the local Latino community. Since the majority of Latinos in the U.S. are of Mexican descent (U.S. Department of Commerce 2000), the terms Mexico and Mexican were used often throughout the survey. Respondents were asked at the beginning of the survey to note if they would like to replace the words Mexican or Mexico with another culture or country in the survey.

Survey respondents were encouraged to participate in a drawing for a one night hotel stay and dinner for two as an incentive to increase the response rate. The total response rate after a follow-up mailing was 46 percent. The postal service returned 156 surveys with nonforwardable addresses. We therefore estimate that 254 received the survey and 116 responded. Six of the respondents to our survey did not identify themselves as Latinos and were dropped from the study.

Survey Development

The mail survey contained a variety of measures and was pretested on eight individuals from the targeted community to identify areas of concern and length of time needed for completion. The resulting survey was translated into Spanish. Three individuals backtranslated the survey into English. The backtranslators and the translator met to resolve differences between the English version and the backtranslations. The final survey was printed in Spanish and in English. During presurvey phone calls, each person who agreed to participate in the survey was asked his or her language preference and mailed either a Spanish or English version accordingly. Those who were not contacted by phone were sent both versions along with an introductory letter in both Spanish and English.


Acculturation Categories. Mendoza’s Cultural Life Style Inventory (CLSI) (1989) was used to measure acculturation categories. The CLSI was designed specifically to identify acculturation categories of segregation, assimilation, and integration for Latinos. It was deemed appropriate since the sample was not expected to include respondents in the marginalization category. The CLSI was selected because it contained scale items for both the attitudinal (8 items) and beavioral (21 items) dimensions of acculturation, which closely matched the content areas described in the earlier sections on ethnic identity and cultural behaviors. The cronbach’s alpha for the eight CLSI questions in this study was .79. The factor analysis of these questions resulted in only one factor with an eigenvalue of 3.94. The twenty-one cultural behavior questions had a cronbach’s alpha of .95, and the factor analysis showed one dominant factor with an eigenvalue of 11.01.

In addition to the eight attitudinal questions, we followed Hirschman’s (1981) recommendation that individuals who have identified themselves as members of an ethnic group should also be asked to indicate the strength of their identification with the group. We also adopted a strength of ethnic identification measure from Valencia’s (1985) Hispanic Index with a question of: "How strongly do you identify yourself with the ethnic or racial group you mentioned above?"

Brand Choice. Respondents were asked to choose between "host" and "ethnic" brands of six products. Availability, price, and package sizes were held constant. Brand choice was determined by the percentage of times a respondent chose ethnic brands found only in Mexican grocery stores (referred to in the remainder of this study as Mexican brands) over host brands typically found in mainstream grocery stores (referred to as U.S. brands). A pretest was used to identify the six products with comparable host and ethnic brands. Care was taken to ensure that the selected ethnic brands were available only in Mexican food specialty stores and were not sold in local mainstream grocery stores.

Demographics. The survey also included several demographic items to help evaluate the breadth of respondent characteristics and to use as control variables. Respondents were asked their year and place of birth. If they were born outside the U.S., they were asked to give their length of residency in the U.S. They were also asked to identify their gender, highest level of education achieved, occupation, and household income. Household income was requested instead of individual income since the Mexican culture is highly collectivistic and incomes may be pooled. Lifestyle would then reflect the pooled income rather than income associated with a particular occupation.


The first step in the analysis process was to segment the respondents by acculturation category. We were then able to test our predictions about brand choice in each category.


Acculturation category was determined by CLSI measures. Using the CLSI scoring instructions described earlier, a frequency count was generated for how many of each respondent’s answers fell into the categories of segregation, integration and assimilation. The score for each category was then divided by the number of valid responses (total number of CLSI items answered), yielding a proportional score for each categoy. Respondents were categorized based on their highest category score (Magana et al. 1996; Mendoza 1989). Ninety-six percent of the respondents were categorized by this method.

Segment Profiles. The demographics for the category segments are shown in Table 1 below. Individuals in the segregation category were more likely to have been born in Mexico (71%) than in the U.S. (24%), making them first generation immigrants. However, those in this category who were born in Mexico had been in the U.S. an average of 19 years, indicating that they are not "new arrivals." They tended to be slightly older (age 18) when they immigrated to the U.S. than the foreign born in the integration category (age 16) and much older than the foreign born in the assimilation category (age 7). They also tended to be slightly younger (age 38) than those in the other two categories, had a lower level of education (68% had no more than a high school diploma) and lower household incomes than those in the other two categories ($29,881 compared to $44,349 for those in the assimilation category and $51,001 in the integration category).

Those in the assimilation and integration categories were predominantly born in the U.S., indicating that they were second or later generations of immigrant families. The assimilation category had the largest number of respondents and tended to be predominantly male. This may present a bias in brand choice as males may have different shopping patterns than females. Please note that these category descriptions are not meant to be generalizable to the U.S. Latino population. The purpose was to test the success rate of using CLSI as a segmenting tool in a local market and to see if the resulting categories would be useful in predicting brand choice.

Brand Choice

The next step was to see if the brand choice predictions would hold true across acculturation categories. The results of the ANOVAs are reported in Table 2.





A one-way ANOVA of Mexican brand choice by acculturation category showed a significant difference (F=21.45(2,98) p<.01) in brand choice across categories. Respondents in the assimilation category chose U.S. brands 73 percent of the time (compared to 48 percent and 32 percent in the integration and segregation categories respectively). The posthoc Tukey-HSD test showed this to be significantly different (p<.05) from both the segregation and integration categories. This provided support for H1 in which we expected individuals in the assimilation category to choose host country brands more often and ethnic brands less often than individuals in the other categories.

H2, which predicted that individuals in the integration category would choose host and ethnic brands in similar proportions, was also supported. The ANOVA showed that respondents in the integration category chose U.S. brands about 48 percent of the time and ethnic brands about 52% of the time. In H3, we stated that respondents in the segregation category were expected to choose ethnic brands more often than those in the other categories. While this proportion (.68) was significantly higher than that of the assimilation category (.28), the posthoc Tukey-HSD test showed that it lacked a small percentage of being significantly higher than the proportion in the integration category (.52), thus providing only partial support for the third hypothesis.


Theoretical Contributions

This study has shown that acculturation categories determined by measures of attitudes (ethnic identity) and cultural behaviors are useful groupings for studying consumer behavior concepts in the acculturation process. While acculturation categories have been proposed in previous studies (e.g. Jun, Ball and Gentry 1993), this study examines categorical use empirically.

The demographics of the three acculturation categories emphasize several important points in this paper. First, the demographics provide support for the notion that adapting to a new consumer culture is not a matter of leaving ethnic behaviors behind and becoming more like the host culture as assimilationists imply. Thirty-four percent of those born and raised in the U.S. were categorized in either the integration or segregation categories. Of the foreign born, the average number of years living in the U.S. was 34 for those in the integration category and 19 in the segregation category. This implies long tenures in the U.S. while still retaining strong ethnic identification and behaviors.

The results of the cultural behavior items on the acculturation scale also showed that rather than reflecting either ethnic or host culture behavioral tendencies, there is a middle ground where both ethnic and host cultural behaviors are closely integrated into the respondents’ lifestyles. These results are also reflected in the brand choice of respondents in the integration category. The proportions of ethnic and host brand choice were very close in this acculturation category (48 percent U.S. and 52 percent Mexican brands).

Second, the category demographics show the appropriateness of broadening the definition of consumer acculturation to include second and later generations of immigrant families. Seventy-three percent of the respondents were born in the U.S. Thirty-four percent of those reported strong ethnic identification and ties to ethnic behaviors and customs. Even though these statistics are not meant to be generalizable, they indicate that a sizeable market, born and raised in the U.S., might exhibit characteristics definitionaly ascribed to recent immigrants and may be too large a group for marketers to afford to ignore.

Third, the lengthy period of U.S. residency shown in the demographics for all three categories would lead one to suspect that these are fairly stable lifestyle patterns. It seems unlikely that drastic lifestyle changes or categorical shifts would occur after such long residencies. It would be interesting to conduct longitudinal studies to determine how early in the acculturation process the acculturation categories become apparent and how long it takes them to stabilize.

Managerial Contributions

The main focus of this study was to provide empirical evidence of the value of using Berry’s taxonomy as a segmentation framework. Applying the CLSI to local Latino consumers allowed us to segment that market into three categories exhibiting different ethnicrelated attitude and behavioral patterns. Within each segment, the attitudes and behaviors were similar, indicating a target market that would react similarly to a marketing plan. Such an approach would allow a marketer to identify the market segments, determine which were reachable and large enough to be profitable, and design effective marketing plans targeting the desired segment(s).


This study has shown that Berry’s taxonomy provides a useful schema to understand consumer acculturation and its influence on brand choice. By applying the CLSI to a local Latino market, we were able to successfully segment the market into three acculturation categories that exhibited distinct attitudinal and behavioral patterns. These patterns were reflected in brand choice, which varied across categories as predicted.


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