Hispanics are Erasing the Digital Divide

Posted November 28, 2013 1:49 pm by Sebastian Aroca

The digital divide between Hispanics and non-Hispanics is quickly disappearing as Latinos are quickly catching up with Internet usage. According to Mark Hugo Lopez, associate director of the Pew Hispanic Center, Hispanic Internet usage has grown 34 percent during the last five years. Within the Hispanic population, there are several subgroups that are fueling the gain in Internet usage. Despite the gain in internet usage, the digital divide continues to exist among Hispanics. Native-born Hispanics that speak English are much more likely to use the Internet than foreign born and Spanish speaking Hispanics.

Source: Pew Hispanic Center

Economics and educational levels play a role in the Internet usage among demographic subgroups. Young Hispanics between the ages of 18 and 29 with an annual family income between $30,000 and $50,000 spend a lot of time online as do Hispanic adults with incomes of $50,000 or more. Internet usage is the lowest with Spanish dominant speaking Latinos without a high school diploma and those over the age of 65. Households with children are also closely linked to going online. Approximately 50 percent of Hispanic Internet users are families with dependent children under the age of 18.

According to eMarketer, studies also reveal that 26.8 percent of Hispanic Internet users spend six hours or more online during an average day when compared to 8.5 percent of whites and 20.4 percent of African Americans. Where online are Hispanics spending most of their time? With a cultural affinity to strong family communications and love for interacting with friends, Hispanics spend most of their Internet time on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Nearly 50 percent of Hispanics log onto their Facebook page once a day. Approximately 85 percent of U.S.-born Hispanics that use social networking sites use English when posting.

Mobile Internet access among the Hispanic community

When it comes to mobile Internet access, Hispanics are on the leading edge according to the Pew Hispanic Center study of April 2012. Over 55 percent of adult mobile phone users access the Internet via their cell phones. This percentage is higher when compared to whites and blacks. eMarketer projects that more than 25 million Hispanics will be using smartphones by the end of 2013. That figure represents nearly 46 percent of the Hispanic group and is the second-highest usage among all U.S. ethnic groups. Hispanics that are bilingual are more likely to own a smartphone. What are Hispanics using their cell phones for? In addition to making calls and accessing Facebook, more than 40 percent of Hispanics use their cell phones to assist with shopping for clothing, food, movies and electronics.

With Hispanics becoming heavy consumers of mobile, social and online media, it’s important for marketers seeking to reach out to the Latino population know their language, culture and audience. For example, a social media campaign for food should include Hispanic recipes, products and visual elements. To capture both the Spanish speaking and non-Spanish speaking Latinos, advertisements should be both in Spanish and English. In addition, with over 30 percent of Hispanics being willing to click on ads for further product information, it’s important that marketers realize the economic potential of targeting the Latino audience.

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