Hispanics Are Best at ‘Technological Leapfrogging’

Hispanic consu mers are taking the lead in bringing new technology into their homes, according to a new survey from Knowledge Networks/SRI.

The research firm’s Home Technology Monitor found Latinos more likely to own personal digital assistants, satellite TVs and DVD players than their white and African American counterparts. Hispanics, however, still trail the same two demographics in ownership of home computers and online services.

The Menlo Park, Calif.-based firm’s poll, conducted by phone, included 1,500 U.S. households.

Thirty-four percent of Hispanic households have a DVD, the survey found, compared with 30 percent of white and 33 percent of African American households. Latino homes also have a higher percentage of home-theater products (36 percent) than African American (29 percent) and white homes (26 percent).

More than one out of five Hispanic households have satellite TV, vs. 19 percent of white and 8 percent of African American families. And 15 percent of Hispanic homes have a personal digital assistant, compared with 14 percent of the general market and 12 percent of African Americans.

By contrast, 44 percent of His panic households are online, vs. 57 percent of the general market and 46 percent of African Americans. Computers are in 65 percent of white homes, 52 percent of African American homes and 51 percent of His panic ones.

The findings mirror what Hispanic ad-agency research shows, said Hector Orci, co-chairman and CEO of La Agencia de Orci y Asociados in Los Angeles. “Hispanics recognize they don’t have to have a computer before they get a DVD,” he said. “We call this technological leapfrogging.”

Few, if any, of the top 60 advertisers in Hispanic media in 2001 marketed satellite TVs, PDAs or DVD players, according to Hispanic Business.

Language use affected the findings, said David Tice, vp of client services at KN/SRI. “English-speaking Hispanic households were either at or above the national average [in computer and online use]. Spanish-speaking households in particular were very high in digital satellite ownership.”