Hispanic smartphone adoption rate outpaces total population: study
By Dan Butcher
December 29, 2010
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Consumer and media research firm Scarborough Research found that mobile usage is increasing at a faster rate among Hispanics than it is among the total population, making them important mobile marketing targets.
The analysis is derived from the companys Hispanic Multi-Market Study, which compiles information on lifestyles, technology adoption, demographics and media usage among adults ages 18-plus in 34 of the largest Hispanic markets in the United States. Scarborough found that the percentage of Hispanic adults who use a mobile phone grew 26 percent since 2005, versus 18 percent for all adults.
Scarborough finds that are Hispanics are ripe for mobile marketing efforts, said Alisa Joseph, Chicago-based vice president of advertiser and marketing services at Scarborough Research.
Hispanic cellular usage is increasing at a faster rate than it is among the total population in our study, and Hispanics are more likely than other cellular users to utilize features such as texting, downloading music and accessing social networking, she said. Hispanic avidity for mobile devices has been known for some time.
However, our new feature data indicates that their interest is in using cell phones, and smartphones, for a wide variety of communication and entertainment purposes.
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A joint venture between Arbitron Inc. and The Nielsen Co., Scarborough Research measures the lifestyle and shopping patterns, media behaviors and demographics of American consumers, specializing in local market research.
Surveying more than 210,000 adults annually, Scarborough measures 2,000 consumer categories and serves a client base that includes marketers, advertising agencies, print and electronic media such as radio stations, broadcast and cable television, sports teams and leagues and out-of-home media companies.
Overindexing for mobile usage
Currently, mobile usage among Hispanics is on par with that of the general population, as 82 percent of Hispanic adults use a mobile phone, versus 84 percent of total adults.
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Hispanics are more likely than other mobile users to text message.
Sixty-four percent of Hispanics who use a wireless phone text-message, versus 56 percent of all mobile users.
This group is also more likely than other mobile users to use their wireless device to:
Download music: 22 percent of Hispanic mobile users download or listen to music via their
wireless device, versus 15 percent of all wireless users.
Play games: 19 percent of Hispanic mobile users play games on their wireless device, versus 15
percent of all wireless users.
Access social networking: 12 percent of Hispanic mobile users social network via their wireless
device, versus 10 percent of all wireless users.
Additionally, the Hispanic smartphone growth rate is outpacing that of the total population.
Nineteen percent of Hispanic adults currently live in a household that owns one or more smartphones such as Blackberry or iPhone versus five percent in 2005.
Twenty-three percent of the general population currently owns at least one of these devices in their household, growing from nine percent in 2005.
Ms. Joseph said that the rise of smartphones and applications is redefining mobile marketing.
As this industry continues its rapid evolution, the importance of Hispanics as mobile marketing targets will only continue to expand.
In addition to knowledge about mobile feature usage and the types of devices being used by this
consumer group, marketers could get more detailed by uncovering insights on how Hispanic mobile
usage varies locally.
For example, according to Scarborough, 96 percent of Hispanic adults in Atlanta use a wireless phone, versus 68 percent of those in Colorado Springs, CO.
So, clearly, understanding distinctions at the local level better informs strategy, per Scarborough.
When targeting Hispanics with mobile marketing, it is important to remember they are using multiple features on their devices, Ms. Joseph said. Through linking mobile strategies to social networking, music downloading or game playing, marketers can target Hispanics while they are doing something fun that they enjoy.
Also, it is important to remember local distinctions among Hispanic adults when crafting mobile strategies, she said.
While our data does not forecast trends, it is safe to say, based on what we have seen so far, that the Hispanic marketplace will continue to be one that is ripe for mobile marketing.
Dan Butcher, associate editor, Mobile Marketer
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