May 29, 2009

Buy lingual?

The US Hispanic Internet population is growing—in numbers, broadband connections and time spent online.

eMarketer estimates that this year there will be nearly 23 million Hispanics online, over 50% of the US Hispanic population.

Hispanics make up 12.3% of the total US Internet population in 2009, and that number will increase to 13.9% in 2013.

“The US Hispanic population has been touted for years as the fastest-growing minority in America,” says Lisa E. Phillips, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report, Hispanics Online: Young, Mobile and Bilingual. “However, the recession has affected the pace of immigration, and growth in the Hispanic population has slowed.”

On the Internet, however, Hispanic growth is outpacing that of all other demographic groups.

“eMarketer estimates the number of Hispanic Internet users will increase 7.5% in 2009, as more Hispanic adults, ages 45 and older, come online and even more children and teens join in,” says Ms. Phillips.

Like the general population, Hispanics make most of their purchases offline, in brick-and-mortar retail outlets.

However, according to a survey from DoubleClick and Performics, two product categories—financial services and travel—were more likely to be purchased online than offline by Hispanics in 2008.

But no online retailer should ignore Hispanic shoppers.

By 2013, Hispanic “buying power”—defined by the Selig Center for Economic Growth as disposable personal income—is expected to pass the trillion-dollar mark and hit $1.39 trillion.

Only whites are expected to have greater economic clout.

English or Spanish? Yes and Sí.

“The majority of the US Hispanic population is bilingual, and they decide where and when to speak English and Spanish,” says Ms. Phillips.

“Marketers should execute campaigns and offerings in both languages,” explains Ms. Phillips. “The efforts will not go unnoticed, as English-dominant speakers will still see and appreciate messages targeted to them in Spanish, and Spanish-dominant speakers will know the advertiser is serious about addressing them.”

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