Demographics Don't Say All That Much

The Digital Divide gap is closing. It's evident. So many people have called or written to ask me my take on the Hispanic population online. They want to know is it a market they should tap into?

Recently it appears as if the networks are incorporating Hispanic characters, spokespeople, and shows. What I've found out, is that many of these personalities don't necessarily jive with the Hispanic market. Although I've targeted this market for a variety of clients over the past several years, I decided to start from square one and do some further research.

There's been a lot of talk about online usage segmentation. Nielsen says marketers fail when they focus on demographics alone. It's coined a term, "geopsychodemographics" (say that 10 times fast), to refer to a combination of age, income, education, attitudes, and location. When targeting Hispanics, many agencies do just this.

A recent study by FOCUS: Latino shows very strong interest for online media and technology among urban Hispanics. It reiterates what we all know: This segment is growing. The Web's importance for this demographic is growing apace. The Hispanic segment is primed to purchase new products and services.



Key findings, as reported by Horowitz Associates, include:

  • 71 percent of urban Hispanic households have cable/satellite. Premium penetration among these urban Hispanic cable households is higher than among the average urban sample.

  • Potential penetration of digital cable in urban Hispanic households can reach 39 percent within six months.

  • Urban Hispanics are very interested in interactive TV features, especially in using the remote to preview upcoming shows and view actor bios, send and receive email through the TV, and use the remote to access Web sites via the TV.

  • 50 percent of adult urban Hispanic consumers are under 35, compared to 31 percent among the total urban market. This young demographic heavily influences viewing choices and consumption patterns and drives the enormous potential for new media in the urban Hispanic market.

  • 54 percent of urban Hispanic households have children under the age of 18.

    The Hispanic market is said to have a purchasing power of over $425 billion per year. This, coupled with the data above, appears attractive at first glance. However, penetrating this market can be especially challenging. Within the past two to four years, portals including, Españ, Yupi, and, popped and dropped. Some closed their doors completely. Others drastically cut staff, and some just up and reinvented themselves to stay alive. Most U.S.-based sites aimed at Hispanics are in English, not Spanish.

    "Under-penetration of advanced services plus pent-up demand for new technologies translate to huge growth potential," says Alisse Waterston, Ph.D., president of Surveys Unlimited.

    Are Hispanics getting what they need online? If not, there's a very lucrative opportunity out there.

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