Report Melts Notions Of An Online Melting Pot
The study finds that only 42 percent of African Americans have online access, compared with 57 percent of Hispanic Americans, 67 percent of whites, and 79 percent of Asian Americans.
The research also points to distinct cultural differences in online behavior among ethnic groups. Despite their relatively lower online penetration level, Hispanic Americans are most apt to share photos online and to use instant messaging services. Asians are most likely to access multimedia content such as music, video and software downloads. One thing that is common to all ethnic groups is email. It is the No. 1 activity for all groups, says Forrester.
The report, "Marketing to America's Ethnic Minorities," which was developed by Forrester's Consumer Technographics group, underscores the need for online marketers to "analyzes the key differences in the consumptive habits of Asians, African Americans, English-speaking Hispanics, and Whites." The data was compiled from a mail survey of 54,817 US households.
Surprisingly, the results show that high tech device ownership, while highly correlated with income, does not alone explain users likelihood to own devices. Factors like having children and being motivated by entertainment also play a large role. For example, even though they make $16,000 less on average than Whites, Hispanics are more likely to purchase entertainment-based devices like MP3 players, video game consoles, and digital video camcorders.
Results show that African Americans and Hispanics respond more positively to advertising than Whites and Asians. In fact, Whites rated very low in all areas of advertising receptiveness, and Asians not much higher.
According to the data, African Americans and Hispanics find advertising more entertaining and trustworthy and are more likely to watch TV commercials. Fifty-four percent of African Americans and 42 percent of Hispanics say they watch TV ads, compared with only 32 percent of Whites.
Similarly, African Americans are twice as likely to purchase a product because the advertiser sponsors family or educational programming. Asians, African Americans, and Hispanics are more likely to rate personalization and ad relevance as important features of online content sites than Whites.
"Marketers should take note," said Jed Kolko, principal analyst at Forrester. "Our survey results show that there is more to reaching minorities than understanding demographic differences. Income, for instance, does not necessarily determine what technology someone invests in and what influences them to purchase it."