Advertisers Need to Know About the Growing Hispanic Market: 6 Key Bullet Points

September 27, 2012

It may be a surprise to some, but U.S. Latinos accounted for 11%, or $2.2 billion, of total e-commerce purchases made across the United States in the first quarter of 2012. Most important for the ad industry, much more than non-Hispanics, they are leveraging digital platforms and connected devices to influence their shopping behavior.

This is especially significant for the long run. According to the 2010 Census, one in six U.S. residents is Hispanic and half of Hispanic internet users are under 35 years old. Hispanics are fueling the nation’s population growth, and by 2020 the total Hispanic population is projected to reach 66.3 million people, accounting for 53% of the total population growth. This young and growing demographic group’s  research and purchasing patterns will have a huge influence over the future of digital marketing.

Terra’s 2012 Hispanic Digital Consumer Study by comScore shows specific ways that digital marketers can more fully reach the Hispanic audience. We took category-deep dives across the entire purchase cycle by source and device used: from research, to purchase and intent to purchase within Automotive, CPG, Entertainment, Financial Services/Insurance, QSR, Retail, Technology and Telecom.

Here are six trends culled from the study; they point the way to marketing’s future.

1. The shopping experience is very social, enabled by Hispanics owning the latest gadgets. Two in five Hispanics describe themselves as trendsetters, and rely heavily on the opinions of their trusted circle; 25% texted or called friends or family about a product, and 23% sent a picture of a product to friends or family while in a retail store.

2. Hispanics use their mobile devices to connect online to a much greater degree than non-Hispanics: 48% access the internet from their smartphone, against 38% of non-Hispanics; 20% access the internet from their iPads against 14% among non-Hispanics. On-the-go, 55% access the internet outside of home/work/school, against 46% of non-Hispanics.

3. Forty-two percent of Hispanics agree that, “The online ads that are most likely to get my attention are ones that are more sophisticated in their implementation of newly available technology and are creatively sharp.” That figure is up from 35% from the Terra 2010 Ad Value Study by comScore.

4. Online content/ads emerged as a leading source of online research to a greater degree for Hispanics than non-Hispanics: 29% of Hispanics used online content/ads for researching entertainment DVDs, music and games, against 15% of non-Hispanics; and 30% of Hispanics used online content/ads for researching computers/tablets, against 24% of non-Hispanics.

5. Hispanics are more likely than non-Hispanics to purchase across a wide variety of categories from their mobile phones and tablets: 24% of telecommunication purchasers did so from their mobile phone, against 10% among non-Hispanics; and 18% of financial-services purchasers did so from their tablet or other connected device, against 7% among non-Hispanics.

6. Hispanics on average are spending 8.3 hours per week watching TV, against 8.7 hours per week online. They are more receptive to digital advertising than non-Hispanics, particularly with regard to traditional television. When given the statement, “Online video ads are more interactive, meaning that more information is easily obtained by scrolling over, clicking through, or simply viewing  than traditional television ads,” 41% of Hispanics agreed, against 37% of non-Hispanics. These figures have increased among Hispanics from our 2010 study.

In all of these situations, as the Hispanic population grows advertisers need to recognize the behavioral shifts and adjust their media ad spend accordingly.

Terra’s study surveyed a nationally representative sample of 3,048 Hispanic and non-Hispanic consumers from February 29-March 14, 2012. Participants gave comScore explicit permission to passively observe their online browsing and transaction behaviors from January- March 2012.

Fernando Rodriguez is Chief Executive Officer of Terra USA.