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Hispanic online growth surpasses mainstream

Posted by Elena del Valle on June 24, 2009

Hispanics' share of total time online per category


For companies targeting online audiences Latinos represent a booming market with continued potential for growth. As of February 2009 there were 20.3 million Hispanics or 11 percent of the total United States online population and a record number, according to comScore, Inc., a company that measures the digital world. As a greater number of Hispanics went online in the past year, the U.S Hispanic Internet audience grew faster than the total U.S. online population in terms of number of visitors, time spent and pages consumed.

At the same time, some believe effective targeting of the Latino online market requires knowledge and finesse to push the hot buttons that will prompt loyalty and purchasing responses from the highly diverse and demographically young audience. The days of viewing ethnic markets through a uni dimensional single scope are past. Just as translating materials as the sole method of addressing the highly desirable Hispanic market, online and offline, is no longer considered sufficient or in some cases even appropriate (when targeting English dominant Latinos for example).

“It’s well known that the Hispanic market is a growing and increasingly important segment to advertisers and marketers,” said Jack Flanagan, executive vice president of comScore Media Metrix. “However, any business attempting to effectively reach this segment needs to understand the behavior of the U.S. Hispanic online consumer as a fundamental component of their marketing and media strategies.”

Some are convinced the Hispanic market is diverse and distinct from the general market. Given the increasing number of new Latin consumers and their desirable purchasing habits even if that market segment requires extra attention, dedicated or customized campaigns it may prove a worthwhile investment for savvy businesses in the long term.

“As most people know, US-H (US Hispanics) currently represents 15 percent of the total US population and it is estimated to grow up to 20 percent within the next 10 years, half of them are online and this number will only grow. The fact is that even thought we are still a minority, we are definitely a minority that can not be underestimated, not only because of the massive number of potential costumers that we represent, but because our habits significantly differ from those of the US General market users, and more importantly, because our purchase behavior is way more apealing than the US General market users,” said Joel Bary, chief executive officer, Latin Medios.

“We, the online Latinos, have a higher household income than any other online users group in the US, and simply put, we buy more than any other group, so we make a very interesting and potential costumer base that can not be ignored. The marketplace is no longer a single group one, it is now composed of several major groups that will need to be addressed in a special and direct way, other ways, a segment of this marketplace will not respond to the message and will be left araw to be picked up by the competition.”

In 2009, Hispanics’ time online increased 6.9 percent (3.9 times faster than the total U.S. online population), while total pages consumed grew 6 percent (3.6 times faster than the total U.S. Population).

“The Hispanic online market is growing faster than the general market, not just in terms of gross number of users but also in other measures that are important to marketers like time spent online. Advertisers are taking notice too: While categories like Automotive, Wireless, and Credit Cards have been on board since the early days of Hispanic internet, more recently we’ve noticed growth coming from other important categories like Food, Retail, Insurance, and Personal Care Products. That’s especially important now that the automotive and credit card categories are down,” said Carlos Pelay, president, Media Economics Group.

“Just in the Food category, for example, we’ve seen some major companies making their first forays into the Hispanic online market in 2009. Companies like Birds Eye Foods (, General Mills (“Nature Valley”), Hershey (“Hershey’s Kisses” sweepstakes on have advertised on Hispanic sites for the first time this year. Significantly, these three companies are running Spanish-language campaigns on Spanish-language Hispanic websites.”

Researchers looked at the site categories where Hispanics spent an above average share of their online time. The most popular categories were Community – Teens, where U.S. Hispanics accounted for 18 percent of total time spent in the category; Gaming Information at 13 percent; entertainment and leisure including Radio (13 percent), Multimedia (12 percent), Discussion/Chat, Instant Messengers (11 percent) and Music (11 percent).

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Identifying and characterizing the booming Hispanic online market

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Find out about

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