Staying Connected: Hispanic Millennials and Mobile Usage

by Jose Tillan, Insight Tr3s
Carly Rae Jepsen sings ‘Call Me Maybe’ at the 2012 Billboard Music Awards (Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Hispanics represent one-in-five Smartphone users in the U.S., so it’s no secret that they’re active mobile consumers. Over 40% of Hispanics have Smartphones, and that figure is expected to rise to 63% by 2016. The driving force behind the surge in overall Hispanic usage is the Hispanic Millennial segment, representing a growing number of enthusiastic mobile adopters.One key trend among Hispanic Millennials that emerged from last year’s Maximo Report is that they’re using their phones like mini-laptops – for web surfing, as multimedia player, and as their link to social networks. Beyond the convenience of portability, the desire for privacy as well as unfettered access may be behind this phenomenon. Not only do Hispanics, in general, tend to live at home longer, they have larger households on average and are more likely to live in a household with one computer.

Shared values are an important element of Latino culture, and Hispanic Millennials use their phones to connect with others. They are heavy texters and callers who also significantly over-index their general market counterparts in using features like email, web browsing, games, video recording, and app downloads, according to the Maximo Report. When it comes to social networking, Facebook is the leader, providing an efficient avenue for sharing music, pictures, videos, products, and other experiences with friends and family in the U.S and abroad.

Younger Latinos are more likely to have been born in the U.S. than those over 30 – and there are many differences between these age groups as a result. Here are some key distinctions in how adult Hispanic Millennials (ages 18 to 29) use their mobile devices as compared with Hispanics in their 30s and 40s, according to an analysis of Simmons data:

  • Nearly twice as likely to get online at home using a phone. 50% of Hispanics 18 to 29 use a phone for internet access at home, vs. 27% of Hispanics 30 to 49.
  • More active in using their phones to connect with others. Hispanics 18 to 29 are significantly more likely than thirty- and forty-somethings to be heavy social media users, as well as to agree with statements like, “I like to be connected to my friends and family wherever I am,” “Texting is just as meaningful as an actual conversation with a person on the phone,” “My cell phone connects me to my social world,” and, “My friendships would not be as close without my cell phone.”
  • More interested in status and what their phone says about them. Having the latest technology confers status among younger Hispanics. Compared with the older group, they heavily over-index in agreeing with statements like, “My cell phone is an expression of who I am” and “I’m always the first among my friends to have the latest electronic equipment.”
  • More likely to use their phone to get information. The younger group is far more likely to agree with statements like, “I use information from my cell phone to decide where to go or what to do in my free time” and “I rely on my cell phone to keep up with news or sports.”
  • More receptive to mobile advertising. Hispanics 18 to 29 are more likely than those 30 to 49 to agree with statements like “I am willing to accept advertisements sent to my cell phone if I were to receive something of value in exchange” and “I would be interested in a service that would let me use my cell phone to make purchases in a store.”

For marketers looking to develop mobile strategies targeting Hispanics, it’s essential to keep in mind that Latinos under 30 are more engaged mobile consumers than those over 30. This influential group has powerful word-of-mouth and viral potential that can be a key source of growth for brands that understand their cultural uniqueness.

Jose Tillan is General Manager for Tr3s: MTV, Música y Más.

For more research and insights from Tr3s, visit http://inside.tr3s.com/blog.php.

Sources: eMarketer, “Smartphones Enhance Hispanic Consumers as Influencers,” April 26, 2012; Maximo Report 2011, Motivo Insights and NGLC; Experian Simmons, Fall 2011 NHCS Adult Survey 12-month.

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