By Maria Botta (LatinBusinessToday)
One of the most interesting stories that I have seen unfolding over the last few years has been the rate of mobile usage and social behavior of U.S. Hispanic consumers. While Hispanics trail in Internet adoption and penetration, the story is very different when it comes to mobile adoption and usage.
One-in-five Hispanics are smartphone users in the U.S; those numbers are huge and growing, outpacing all other minorities. Nielsen reports that usage includes mobile downloads of music and photos, and watching video on mobile phones. According to comScore and Latin American online media company Terra, Hispanics are increasingly taking up smartphones with the rate of adoption growing from 43 percent in 2010 to 57 percent in 2012. We are talking about ALL Hispanics both Spanish and English dominant.
Reasons for the Trend
Several reasons may account for this trend. One reason could be that U.S. Hispanics are on average 10 years younger than the aging U.S. population. This younger demographic of digital natives are more comfortable with a tethered smartphone lifestyle. Hispanics also have a culture that influences their communication style, Latinos stay connected with friends and family, and the mode of choice is a smartphone. In fact, U.S. Hispanics the use of their mobile devices by texting, calling, emailing, social networking, researching and purchasing. To many Hispanics and Hispanic businesses, wireless technology is not considered a luxury but a key communications tool.
Another reason possible reason for the proliferation of smartphones among Hispanic consumers could be the lower cost involved in a smartphone purchase when compared to a desktop or laptop. Plus increasing functionality means these devices can accomplish as much or more as traditional computers.
Two additional factors might be: 1) Nearly half of U.S. Hispanics are born abroad, where cellphones are more accessible and more familiar than landlines and 2) having the latest smartphone means that you are a trendsetter, which is important to many young Hispanics.
But Hispanics are not only using mobile devices for leisure activities, connectivity and purchases, but also for doing business, improving healthcare, and accessing educational opportunities and government resources. These trends are expected to continue to grow. Consider that Hispanic businesses are one of the fastest growing entrepreneurial sectors in the U.S. and these Hispanic business startups are three times the national rate. For this group, mobile means flexibility and ease of effectively and safely conducting business on the go.
Reaching a Receptive Audience
By using mobile marketing, brands and businesses can reach a very tuned in group. Hyper local targeting further enables advertisers to reach an engaged audience that is receptive to a customized message. This highly targeted approach is extremely cost effective when you consider that 81 percent of the Hispanic population is concentrated in 10 states. This is a win on both sides—advertisers can focus their efforts and deliver campaigns with high ROI, and recipients will receive messages that are relevant to their lifestyle and language preferences.
Smart marketers need to consider this fact: Hispanics accounted for 11 percent, or $2.2 billion, of total e-commerce purchases made across the United States in the first quarter of 2012. Many of those purchases were made with smartphones and mobile devices. Hispanics research their purchases in a number of different categories on their mobile devices, share information and ask for advice about purchases among their social networks
The bottom line is this—if you want to capture this loyal and growing market, one sure method is to use mobile.
Maria Botta is Director – Creative Development, Client Solutions at The Weather Channel. The daughter of Cuban exiles, she was born in the US, and raised in Europe and the Caribbean, she holds an EMBA in Global Management from Thunderbird’s prestigious European program in Geneva, Switzerland and an Art History degree from Mt. Holyoke College. Her professional experience extends into all genres of production and marketing, she has produced hundreds of TV commercials, promos, short films, and television shows, and has worked in advertising, Network TV, Marketing and the entertainment industries.