Hispanic, Asian and African-American mobile users are more likely than white mobile users to access the mobile Internet, according to a new study by eMarketer, suggesting that these minority groups are promising targets for mobile marketing and advertising.
The eMarketer finding is especially interesting considering that mobile phone penetration is highest among the white population, at 78.3%, compared to 77.3% for Asians, 74% among African-Americans, and 69.2% for Hispanics. Despite this, mobile Internet penetration is notably higher among the minority groups, with 52.9% of Hispanic mobile phone users accessing the mobile Web, along with 48.9% of African-Americans, and 48.1% of Asians -- compared to 36.3% for whites.
Mobile Internet use by different ethnic groups should even out somewhat in coming years, according to eMarketer, although Hispanics will maintain a considerable lead. By 2015 mobile Internet penetration is forecast to grow to 71.1% for Hispanics, compared to 58.8% for whites, 62.8% for Asians, and 57.5% for African-Americans.
While any explanations for these differences are speculative to some degree, eMarketer suggests the higher adoption rates among ethnic minorities may be due to the fact that these populations are younger, on average, than the white population. The research outfit also notes that these groups are more likely to substitute mobile phones for land lines in the home.
Last year, a separate study from eMarketer found that Hispanics are more likely to use mobile devices to research and buy products and services. In the 2010 study, 32% of Hispanics who own mobile devices used them to compare prices, versus 23% of non-Hispanic whites.
Also, 16% would order an item via mobile and 33% would access information about an item for potential purpose, versus 11% and 18% of non-Hispanic whites, respectively.
Another study published in 2010 found that 71% of English-speaking Hispanics engage with mobile content, versus a general population average of 48%. Hispanics are also more likely to access news and information via mobile browsers (18.8% versus 9.6% for all subscribers).