Hispanics Are the Most Digitally Savvy Group

A marketer's dream

Brandweek will feature live discussions with marketing pros at ULTA Beauty, Converse, UPS and more. Meet us in Miami Sept. 11–14 to boost your business and elevate your brand.

There is no doubt the digital media universe continues to shift and evolve with the constant introduction of new platforms and ways for consumers to engage.

Marketers looking for a massive demographic embracing this shifting landscape needs look no further than U.S. Hispanics. A community 52 million strong, representing 17 percent of all Americans, Hispanics are a marketer’s dream: digitally savvy, young and socially connected.

Indeed, it’s no secret that Hispanics are tech-forward. Digitally, Hispanics far over-index non-Hispanics. For example, smartphones are indispensable to their lifestyles, with the vast majority (72 percent) owing at least one device, according to a recent Nielsen Mobile Media Marketplace study. Web video? Hispanics watch 62 percent more digital video than non-Hispanics, according to Nielsen’s Cross-Platform Report. In fact, according to Nielsen’s State of the Hispanic Consumer Report, this community’s Web video consumption rocketed 282 percent from 2007 to 2012.

Hispanics are also early adopters. When asked in Simmons and Nielsen Mobile Media Marketplace surveys to respond to the phrase “I’m the first of my friends to have new electronic equipment,” Hispanics were 24 percent more likely than their non-Hispanic peers to be the first to buy a new smartphone, 8 percent more likely to be the first to purchase tablets and 6 percent more likely to purchase 3-D TVs.

Overall, Hispanics are 10 years younger than the rest of the U.S. population with 77 percent under the age of 45 vs. 57 percent of non-Hispanics. By 2022 the U.S. Census estimates 26 percent of all teens and 23 percent of the 18-34 demo will be Hispanic, with all the growth in the 18-49 demographic being Latino.

The key for agency professionals and marketers who want to win über-engaged consumers is the fact that technology is a cultural enabler. Hispanics are driven to stay connected to their passions and our people, and technology has made it easier for us not only to keep that link, but to make it stronger. According to eMarketer, 72 percent of U.S. Hispanic Internet users will use social networking in 2014 vs. 68 percent of the total population in the U.S.

Looking to further leverage this technological shift by Hispanics, Univision for the first time participated in the Digital Content NewFronts organized by the IAB last week. We are married to a 360-degree digital media approach. Proof of that is the launch last fall of the bilingual UVideos digital video network, which offers comprehensive access to the best in Univision programming, a time-synched social experience and available across a broad lineup of digital platforms.

To effectively reach out and connect with these consumers, marketers and their agencies need to keep the content, messaging and social interaction culturally relevant. Simply repurposing elements originally meant to be consumed by a non-Hispanic, non-Spanish-speaking consumer just does not work for this audience.

With 75 percent of today’s Hispanics choosing to speak Spanish at home, according to the Census, it’s imperative for marketers to understand that language is a powerful tool. It connects this valuable consumer to culture, community and country of origin. Hispanics, including those who are bilingual, choose to consume Spanish-language media for content they can’t get anywhere else, including news, and cultural content related to food, sports and music. That said, Hispanics are actively using their smartphones, tablets and laptops to stay current and connected.

According to Simmons, multiplatform multi-tasking also fits their profile with 21 percent more of the overall Hispanic demo visiting websites on their mobile phones while watching TV than non-Hispanics.

So beyond smartphones and social media engagement stats, ultimately, what is this market worth? Hispanic America’s purchasing power now weighs in at $1.2 trillion, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth.

Now that’s a metric brand marketers can happily tweet to their CFOs in the hunt for real ROI potential.

Illustration: Dan Page