Tomorrow Is Today

The world has changed a great deal from the days of general market trends. Today's market looks nothing like anything we've seen before.

Consider the following statistics for Latino youth. Recent figures from the 2010 Census cite that the Latino population in the United States has topped 50 million, or 16.3% of the nation. This impressive expansion accounted for more than half of the nation's overall growth of 27.3 million people, to a new overall U.S. population of 308.7 million, according to U.S. Census officials.

In addition, U.S. Latinos now account for nearly one-quarter of children under the age of 18. This is a young and growing market. They are on average 10 years younger than the mainstream market, so are thus more likely to engage with mobile technology. Given their youth, they tend to skew toward lifestyle, including placing a strong premium on product design and technology. This is why they over-index on smartphones.

In 2007, M:Metrics released a study that found that 70.9% of English-speaking Latinos consume mobile content in the U.S. -- far exceeding the general market average of 47.9%. The study also reveals that Latinos are "among the most active and engaged mobile content consumers" and are nearly twice as likely as the general market to use mobile technology such as video, applications, and music.



What companies need to do is to foster a dialogue that will result in a true connection. An area of opportunity is the creation of content, especially for the U.S.-born assimilated Latinos that are proud of their culture. The more content providers and brands alike provide deeply meaningful, relevant content and services tailored to the individual's needs and interests, the more these companies can grow their market share of this critically important audience and in turn increase bottom-line revenue.

A recent report by Scarborough Research indicates that cellular usage among Latinos is increasing at a faster rate than among the general population. Confirming past research, the study shows that more than eight in ten Latino adults use mobile phones and that they are much more likely to use more mobile phone features, particularly text messaging. But what is most interesting are the findings on smartphone usage.

Latinos are more likely than other cellular users to text message. In fact, 64% of Latinos who use a wireless phone text message, versus 56% of all cellular users. This group is also more likely than other cellular users to use their wireless device to:

  • Download music: 22% of Latino cellular users download or listen to music via their wireless device, versus 15% of all wireless users.
  • Play games: 19% of Latino cellular users play games on their wireless device, versus 15% of all wireless users.
  • Access social networking: 12% of Latino cellular users social network via their wireless device, versus 10% of all wireless users.

Furthermore, of all young Latinos (ages 16 to 25), half say they text message, while other communication platforms are less widely used for socializing. For example, fewer than one in five young Latinos (18%) say they talk daily with their friends on a landline or home phone, and just 10% say they email their friends daily.

Yes, in-language and in-culture strategies still have their place in the argument about how to reach the expanding U.S. Latino market. But one thing is for sure: the next generation of Latinos will live on their smartphones. If you can reach them there, in a culturally relevant way, you too can connect.

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