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Latinos Still Owning Key Digital Technology User Trends

Robert Schoon

latinpost.com

Aug 21, 2015

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A 2015 study of Latinos' digital habits confirms that U.S. Hispanic consumers are still leading key technology and digital trends.

It was 2013 when Pew Research found that Latinos tended to own smartphones at a higher rate than the national average. Media researcher Nielsen called Latinos "Ahead of the Digital Curve" in 2014, after finding Hispanic consumers in the U.S. particularly tended to stream more online video and were more likely to use mobile devices as "second screens", among other key measures of digital habits that Latinos over-indexed for.

Fast-forward to this month, when Ad Age released its 2015 Hispanic Fact Pack, a meta-study that confirms Latinos are still leading the technology trends and gaining influence as powerful consumers and tastemakers.

While the fact pack is written an audience mostly made up of advertisers, the statistics within about Latinos' use of digital technology are quite telling. Many key findings from the 2015 Hispanic Fact Pack highlighted by MediaPost's Engage: Hispanics show that online Latinos continue to be "super-users" of mobile technology and digital entertainment.

In short, it looks like Latinos won't be giving up their place on the top of forward-thinking consumers of cutting edge technology any time soon. Here are some of the highlights.

Latinos Are Heavy Smartphone Users

While previous studies have found that Latinos are more likely to own a smartphone and tend to plan on purchasing their next mobile device earlier than the general population, Ad Age's fact pack expands on how Latinos use their smartphones.

For example, according to the study, 66 percent of Latino smartphone users peruse their phone's app store every month, compared to about 60 percent of non-Latinos. They also over-index for using social media on their mobile devices each month: nearly 80 percent of Latino smartphone owners will visit a social media network using mobile each month, compared to about 77 percent of the general population.

The most notable mobile trend Latino consumers are leading may be online video. Almost 66 percent watch online videos on smartphones each month, compared to less than 60 percent of non-Hispanics, the Ad Age fact pack found.

Latinos Spend More Time Online

Ad Age's fact pack found that Hispanics over-index for spending time online, whether streaming digital entertainment, using the Internet on mobile devices, and even spending time online via home computers, which previous studies have found Latinos in general are less likely to own.

Despite that counterbalance, Latinos tended to spend 3.5 hours per day on a home computer, compared to 3.3 hours per day for the rest of consumers. Meanwhile, mobile-first Latinos helped outpace smartphone use for Latinos, at 2.1 hours per day versus 1.7 hours per day for non-Hispanics.

Online video continues to be hot for Latinos in particular, expanding the trend Nielsen noted last year, to a rate in 2015 of 2.7 hours per day that Latinos spend on average streaming online video -- widening the gap even more compared to the non-Hispanic population, which watches online videos about 1.6 hours per day.

Latinos Purchase More Online, Especially on Mobile

Latinos were also found to be more likely to purchase technology online using a computer, though only slightly (54.1 percent of Latinos vs 53.5 percent non-Latinos). The same goes for buying food using a computer, where 24.8 percent of Hispanics had done so, compare to 23 percent of the general consumer.

But everyday mobile purchasing is where Latinos clearly led the non-Hispanic U.S. consumer in terms of being digitally forward. While only 10.8 percent of non-Latino consumers reported buying items you'd find at your local drug store on mobile devices, over 18 percent of Latinos had done the same.

So What?

Advertisers clearly will use these figures to continue to tweak their marketing campaigns to reach as many Latinos as possible, but the findings from the 2015 Ad Age Fact Pack do more than inform salespeople. They point to a long-term trend, in which the Latino consumer is already ahead of the technology game and will consistently stay on top of those indicators.

Especially as digital technology, mobile Internet, and online entertainment continue to have an outsized effect on the broader U.S. economy -- and the young Hispanic population continues to lead both digital and demographic trends -- Latino consumers' purchasing power and prestige are only likely to expand.

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