Jennifer Lopez may be the most powerful Hispanic in the entertainment business. Selling more than 75 million records and appearing in films that have grossed more than $2 billion can do that for a person. Recently, J.Lo has been taking her star power over to the business world.
Her latest title is as the majority owner of a new chain of 15 cell phone stores aimed directly at Latinos, Variety reports. Viva Movil will sell Verizon phones and services, with the first retail outpost opening in New York on June 15.
Other cities with large Latino populations will follow after that. This isn't just another brand ambassador gig for Lopez; she’s the majority owner and chief creative officer. No stranger to cozying up to brands, Lopez will be even busier than usual as she also signed on as chief creative officer of Nuvo TV, a new English-language TV network targeted at U.S. Latinos in addition to continuing her clothing line for Kohl's.
"It was a no-brainer to finally cater to an overlooked segment of the population that has emerged, to actually do something that caters specifically to them," Lopez told the L.A. Times.
Latinos are the fastest-growing minority group in America and Nielsen research has shown that “an estimated 75 percent of Latinos in the US own smartphones, more than the 63 percent of Americans who own the devices, on average." Not only that, but Hispanics “spend an average of 1.5 more hours online than non-Latino consumers, and are more likely to share their online purchases with friends on their social networks" — stats that Lopez played up in a panel on Hispanic consumers and mobile.
If that’s not enough data to make you want to open your own Latino-targeted business pronto, Lopez also told the L.A. Times that “the Latino population had grown 43 percent in the last five years, compared with 5 percent growth for non-Latinos” and that the Latino population, which makes up more than 16 percent of the US population, will reach 30 percent by 2050.
Lopez is obviously bullish on her new brand: "As modern Latinos we do things differently, including how we shop for mobile devices," she said during a press conference Wednesday. "Latinos love social networks and we're super active online.”
Each store will have a bilingual staff as well as a children’s play area to help bring in new customers. The brand's Facebook page “will provide consumers with personalized recommendations, enable them to shop with their friends, comment on devices and share what device or accessory they purchased,” Variety reports.
Analyst Jeff Kagan told the L.A. Times that it is likely that every other big cell phone provider will follow Verizon’s path. "I think every other carrier will make a similar move,” he said. “That's just the way the industry operates. Who and when, I don't know, but I can guarantee that you'll see other carriers follow."