Reaching Hispanics Online

When Procter & Gamble’s Crest Whitening Plus Scope toothpaste ran an ad in Spanish during the nationally broadcast Grammy Awards last month, the spot was immediately hailed as a major achievement in reaching the Hispanic market. Hispanic consumers are now the largest minority group in the United States, numbering close to 40 million, and reaching them through mass media does oftentimes require using Spanish.

Online is a slightly different story, however.

According to comScore Networks’ latest analysis of the online U.S. Hispanic population, the majority of responders actually prefer English. The data, based on comScore’s panel of more than 50,000 U.S. Hispanic Internet users, reveal that approximately 51% of U.S. online Hispanics actually prefer to use English as their language of choice at home, with 21% preferring to use Spanish and 27% stating an equal use of English and Spanish.

Those who prefer Spanish are easy to find – comScore data revealed that the top ten Spanish language properties, in total, reach more than 91% of Spanish-preferred users in one month.

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Reaching the rest is slightly more complicated. And “the rest” is more than 12 million people whom marketers find quite attractive.

"Since Hispanic Web users tend to be younger and live in larger households, they are likely to be more comfortable with technology and exercise influence over other family members for purchases and other key decisions. And importantly, they can be efficiently reached through leading websites," explained Richard L. Israel, comScore Networks VP of Hispanic Marketing Solutions.

According to comScore, in January 2003, there were 12.4 million U.S. Hispanic users age 2 and older who accessed the Internet from either home, work or school (that’s 11% more than the total online population of Spain, and 4% larger than the total online population of Mexico, Argentina and Colombia combined.)

Not surprisingly, Hispanics’ online usage intensity, as measured by time spent and pages viewed online, is comparable to that of the total Internet population. That’s where the similarities seems to end, however -- there are many striking differences among Hispanic Web users when compared to the general Internet population.

For example, compared to the total Internet population, U.S. Hispanics are a much younger group: 60% of the Hispanic online population is 34 years of age or younger, versus 50% for the total online population. It follows that those over age 55 are particularly underrepresented in the Hispanic Internet population compared to the total U.S. Internet population.

U.S. Hispanic Web users are also much more likely to live in larger households. For example, 39% of U.S. Hispanic online households contain five or more persons compared to only 18% for all online households. And in sharp contrast, only 2% of U.S. Hispanic surfers were in single-member households, versus 10% for the total online population.

While comScore's analysis discovered that U.S. Hispanic online users tend to have a lower household income than general U.S. users, compared to the total U.S. Hispanic population, Hispanic Internet users tend to live in higher income households.

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