Hispanics are catching up to the rest of the population in mobile device usage, according to Scarborough Research's most recent "Hispanic Multi-Market Study," which found that the proportion of Hispanic adults using cellular phones rose 26% from 2006-2010, compared to 18% growth in the general population.
That puts cellular phone penetration at 82% among Hispanic adults -- almost even with 84% for the population at large.
In fact, Hispanics over-index in some types of mobile usage.
For example, 64% of Hispanic adults who own a cell phone use it to send text messages, versus 56% of U.S. adults with cell phones overall. Twenty-two percent of Hispanic adults who own a cell phone use it to download or listen to music, versus 15% of U.S. adults with cell phones overall.
For mobile game usage, the proportions are 19% and 15%, respectively; for mobile social network access, they are 12% and 10%.
Smartphone penetration is also growing more rapidly among Hispanics than the general population, per Scarborough. The proportion of Hispanic adults living in a household with smartphone access jumped from 5% in 2005 to 19% at present. The latter figure compares with 23% for the general population.
Scarborough also found significant variation in Hispanic mobile usage between regions: 96% of Hispanic adults in Atlanta use cell phones, versus just 68% in Colorado Springs.
The Scarborough findings confirm earlier research suggesting that mobile usage among Hispanics, while lower than the general population, is climbing fast. The Pew Hispanic Center's National Survey of Latinos, released earlier this year, found that about 50% of young Latino adults (49% of 16- to-17-year-olds) said they send mobile text messages every day, while 45% talk on a cell phone.
The text-message figure compares with 64% for non-Hispanic 16- to-17-year-olds, while 51% of non-Hispanics ages 16-17 said they talk on the cell phone every day.
A separate study from eMarketer suggests that Hispanics are more likely to use mobile devices to research and buy products and services. Thirty-two percent of Hispanics who own mobile devices use them to compare prices, versus 23% of non-Hispanic whites. Furthermore, 16% would order an item via mobile and 33% would access information about an item for a potential purpose, versus 11% and 18% of non-Hispanic whites, respectively.
Hispanics are also more likely to access news and information via mobile browsers (18.8% versus 9.6% for all subscribers).