Will The Hispanic Market Help Samsung Beat Apple?

Samsung’s marketing budget is legendary. In their struggle to topple Apple, the devices brand has a reported $14 billion marketing budget, which would make it bigger than those of Apple, Coca-Cola, HP, Dell, and Microsoft combined — and more than Iceland’s GDP. Yet they still trail the seemingly untouchable brand Steve Jobs built. 

But it turns out there is one group of consumers with whom Samsung and other Apple competitors have an edge: Hispanics. 

The U.S. Hispanic population is extremely social, family-oriented — and highly engaged online. For Hispanics whose loved ones are often dispersed geographically, tools like Facebook and Skype are essential. Hispanics also rely more on mobile devices than consumers in the general market: Less than 75% of Hispanic households have a desktop computer, making smartphones and tablets even more important to them. 

According to new research, the popularity of mobile among Hispanic youth is especially impressive: Hispanic children are 20% more likely to have smartphones than general market youngsters. And while demand for tablets among general market youth is declining with age, Hispanic kids are still clamoring for them: They are 70% more likely to own a tablet, and Hispanic pre-K kids are 45% more likely to ask their parents for tablets. 



Without desktop computers in the home, increased mobile functionality is vital to Hispanic consumers of all ages. For example, online shopping is a popular activity among Hispanic consumers, and the ease of doing so from the Amazon Fire phone is one reason that device is five times more likely to be owned by Hispanic parents. (Overall, Hispanic parents are twice as likely to purchase devices from Amazon than are general population parents.) 

Also in stark contrast with the general population, Hispanic moms and dads are just as likely to consider purchasing Amazon or Samsung devices for their kids as they are to consider buying them Apple products. Further, half of Hispanic parents are considering purchasing Samsung, Microsoft, or other non-Apple iPad tablets for themselves.

While general market kids prefer Apple, Samsung is in a much stronger position with Hispanic kids, who see Samsung mobile devices as just as good as Apple on important dimensions that include “can do the things I want” and “is a brand for someone like me.” This advantage with the next generation of Hispanic consumers marks a massive opportunity for Apple’s competitors.

The good news for non-Apple brands doesn’t stop there: With Hispanic parents, Motorola and LG are still behind Apple and Samsung, but are closing the gap. Some industry observers might be surprised by the Hispanic hunger for innovation. But the advanced capabilities of these non-Apple brands for more demanding online activities goes a long way with the much more mobile-reliant Hispanic consumer. By emphasizing how their devices make desktop computing redundant, brands like Apple competitors can capitalize on their innovative technology with the consumers to whom it matters most. Because while the Apple Watch might be the flashiest gadget going, it’s unlikely to replace the cutting-edge smartphones and tablets Hispanic consumers want. 

With the Hispanic market, it’s vital that marketers communicate — both immediately and in the long-term — that your brand both considers and cares for ‘people like me.’ With this highly social, family-oriented consumer group, few qualities deliver such high returns as that. The bonus for brands like Samsung is that it doesn’t cost $14 billion to communicate this. 

As all mobile device brands strive to make innovation core to their offerings, consumers benefit from the fierce competition. But the brand that benefits most might be decided by Hispanic consumers. Only time — and technology — will tell.

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