Keys to Internet shopping Reluctance by African Americans and Hispanics

Keys to Internet shopping Reluctance by African Americans and Hispanics

In a Preview of the North America Online Report, Ben Macklin of emarketer, notes that both Hispanics and African Americans are late adopters of the internet, compared to their Caucasian and Asian American counterparts. He goes on to summarize some of the report’s key findings.

Caucasians and Asian Americans are far more likely to be internet users than Hispanic or African Americans. While minorities are some of the fastest growing demographic segments online, a digital divide as it relates to race and ethnicity still remains in 2003.

An interesting finding from Knowledge Networks and Statistical Research actually shows that while African American and Hispanic men use the internet less per day than their Caucasian and Asian American counterparts, they are not necessarily consuming less media overall. The media consumption by African Americans, for example, exceeds that of all races and ethnicities, but in the areas of television, magazines, newspapers and radio, rather than the internet.

Media Usage per Day Among US Men 25-54 (Index average=100)

CaucasianAsian AmericanAfrican AmericanHispanic
All media 1008311190

Source: Knowledge Networks/Statistical Research Oct 2002

Nielsen//NetRatings also finds that Americans of Asian and Pacific Island descent spend more time online than any other race or ethnic group and African Americans spend the least time online. Caucasians and Asian Americans are also far more likely to research and purchase products online than African Americans and Hispanics, according to the Department of Commerce. Pew Internet and American Life Project indicated that African Americans are slightly more than 10% of the online population but accounted for just 4% of online shoppers in the 2002 holiday season.

Online B2C Activities of US Internet Users

Product/Service Information searchProduct/Service purchase
National average 67.3%39.1%
Asian Amer and Pac Islander65.139.8

Source: US Dept. of Commerce Feb 2002

Macklin suggests that here are a number of explanations for these discrepancies.

  • One of the strongest indicators for buying online is the length of time someone's been online. Since there are more internet newcomers among African Americans and Hispanics, they may still be wary of buying online.
  • African Americans and Hispanics are underrepresented as online shoppers is because they have a relatively low rate of credit card ownership.
  • According to research from Pew Internet, African Americans and Hispanics are particularly concerned about security online.

    You can find out more here.

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