Mobile Latinos. [INSIGHT]

Hispanic PR
By Felipe Korzenny, Ph.D.
October 2012

I was quite impressed when Max Kilger, Chief Behavioral Scientist for Experian Simmons, talked to my graduate Hispanic Marketing Communication class about new data findings regarding mobile technology use by Latinos. I was particularly impressed because the sample that Experian Simmons uses yielded similar results to the ones I have been obtaining with the sample provided to Florida State University by Research Now. Cross-validation of results is reassuring. Basically, Hispanics are eager users of mobile technology.

Here are some of the findings reported by Dr. Kilger to my class:

First (chart 1), the percentage of use of mobile phones by Hispanics and non-Hispanics over a 7 day period is almost the same for Hispanic and non-Hispanics, with non-Hispanics having a 4 percentage point lead as seen in the chart below. The Latino percentage of mobile use in one day, however, is about 4 percentage points higher.

Clearly, the small differences highlighted are interesting but almost trivial. What matters here is that Hispanics are eager users of mobile phones, at least as much as the rest of the market combined. In prior blog postings I have presented data which shows that Hispanics, African Americans, and Asians use their mobile phones about double the amount of time as their non-Hispanic White counterparts. That suggests that when looking at all non-Hispanics combined it is likely that minorities are the ones responsible for much of the usage.

The next chart (chart 2) is more dramatic, not so much in terms of actual differences but in the fact that Latinos are eager to adopt new technologies and that when they adopt them they use them more. Here is the trend in terms of Tablet use.

While the penetration of tablets among Hispanics is not yet as high as among other cultural groups, Latinos who have them are more likely to use them. That comes as no surprise given the findings I have reported in the past couple of years. Technologies that allow for more fluid interpersonal communication and mobility have shown to be very attractive to Hispanics. My interpretation is that this is due to the eagerness that Latinos have to be connected. New technologies appear to be in fact ‚Äútechnologies of liberation‚ÄĚ for Latinos. Liberation in the sense that the constraints impeding interconnection among Hispanics are being removed by these electronic machines.

Another two charts (charts 3 & 4) that impressed me have to do with activities that Latinos engage in on their mobile phones.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Hispanics overindex in their use of text messaging, IM/Chat, and to a smaller degree in social networking. My guess is that if these data were broken down further by cultural group we would see that minorities in general overindex in social networking as we have seen with our FSU data before. That Latinos engage in mobile phone listening to music to a larger degree than anyone else confirms their attraction to music as part of their cultural existence.

It would be most interesting if the Experian Simmons data were broken down by different cultural groups so that comparisons could be made in more detail. Comparing culturally diverse groups among themselves can be illuminating for segmentation purposes.

My students and I were gratified to see that the Experian Simmons data supported the results we had found with the data from Research Now, and this confirmation lends credibility to the fact that Latinos are eager technology users who lead in many digital domains.

The data from which the above results are reported is from the Simmons Connect Study with a sample of Hispanics of over 7,000 respondents.