Study Details Hispanic Online Population

A new study by comScore Networks has fleshed out the Hispanic audience online, finding it to have a higher average income and spends more time online and viewing more pages than the overall online population.

Data collected in June finds that U.S. Hispanics spend an average of 88 minutes online every day, either at home, work or school, compared to just under 80 minutes for the general-market population. The U.S. Hispanic population also sees more pages every day, about 147 pages compared to the average 126.

The U.S. Hispanic online population is 12.5 million, which comScore Networks said exceeds the total online population of every Spanish-speaking nation combined. More than six million prefer English, with the remainder split between Spanish and bilingualism.

The comScore data, presented at a Latino Buying Power conference in Chicago and the Advertising Research Federation Week of Workshops earlier this week, also finds that online Hispanics have higher average incomes. They're also a younger target audience, said comScore Networks.

The online Hispanic market was estimated at $4.3 billion in 2002, totaling about 6% of all consumer spending online. They index well against online's most popular category, travel, and are above the average in other categories like computer hardware, apparel & accessories, tickets and consumer electronics.

The top 10 sites are AOL Time Warner, Yahoo!, MSN, Terra Lycos, eBay, Google, Gator Network, About/Primedia, CNET Networks and Amazon. Nearly six million U.S. Hispanics visit travel sites, with Mapquest.com receiving 2.2 million unique visitors in July 2003 and Expedia Travel and Orbitz.com receiving more than 1 million each during the same month.

Richard Israel, a vice president at comScore, told an ARF gathering Tuesday that the data has implications in many areas, including airlines and automotive. In both those categories, companies that aren't the market leaders have been able to carve out dominance in Hispanic marketing.

In terms of general-market reach, Southwest Airlines is the prime airline website, according to comScore. Yet among Hispanics, the most popular airline site is JetBlue, which is only fifth in terms of total reach. Israel said JetBlue scored well because it's the only airline that has what he called an intuitive link to Spanish language content and JetBlue gave users the ability to carry that content throughout the ordering process.

"It's not just about having a Hispanic audience. It's about ... carrying them through all the way," Israel said.

In a similar way, GM leads in overall marketing but Ford's sites aimed at Hispanics has been able to help them gain reach with that audience.