All Press Releases for 02/07/2012

Internet: The New Long Distance Carrier for Spanish Dominant Latinos and What This Means for Marketers

Over the last ten years, by show of hands in focus groups conducted by Poza Consulting Services, Internet penetration among Spanish-dominant Hispanics has grown from zero to about 90 percent.

SANTA MONICA, CA / PR FREE / Feb 07 2012 --
There was a prophetic moment 15 years ago during an interview with a Latino man in Los Angeles, affirms Dr. Ines Poza, founder of Poza Consulting Services. In the course of discussing his life in the U.S., the Latino spontaneously brought up the Internet. "I don't have it," he said. "I don't even own a computer - but this is going to be just like the telephone. At first, only the rich had them. The Internet is the same. Soon everyone will have it. Even me." Poza says the man was 45, spoke almost no English, and was working valet at a restaurant.

Over the last ten years, by show of hands in focus groups conducted by Poza Consulting Services, Internet penetration among Spanish-dominant Hispanics has grown from zero to about 90 percent, with the steepest increase in the past two years. Whereas, up until 2009, the main reason given in groups for accessing the Internet was info searches - travel, recipes, sales, the main reason currently is social media, the most popular site being Facebook. "It's how I stay connected with family back home," commented one respondent.

Poza reports that many Hispanics have cut back on their mobile phone bill, opting out of international texting, invested in smart phones, or changed telecommunications packages accordingly. "Not many currently use Skype, but that is likely to change. Quickly." She suggests that "aside from what this represents for mobile and long distance carriers, this is a signal to anyone interested in marketing to Latino consumers."

Marketers typically encourage companies to first go after English-dominants or so-called acculturated Hispanics. This market has relatively higher annual household incomes and language preference that makes marketers assume they will not be too different from general market consumers. Spanish dominants usually referred to as unacculturated, with relatively lower household incomes, tend to be considered less sophisticated, more provincial in their thinking and thereby less attractive a target.

Although Spanish dominants tend to have lower household incomes, a review of online transactions in all categories for the month of June, 2010 (Terra and Comscore, 2010) not only found Hispanics outspent non-Hispanics on a per transaction basis ($103.19 vs. $90.82), but that Spanish dominants and Bilinguals were the biggest spenders of all with an average of $125.75 per transaction.

Spanish-dominant and bilingual Hispanics also over-indexed by 34 percent compared to the average Internet user in the likelihood to be engaged in consumer electronics. This makes sense, given Poza Consulting reports in interviews that respondents say instead of investing in landlines, cable, Internet and computers for their home, they shop for electronic products that will give them maximum functionality for less.

All of this suggests Spanish-dominant consumers are astute, leveraging the Internet and on the lookout for ways to make relatively more limited resources stretch farther - but with less than five percent of U.S. advertising dollars going to Spanish language media - and less than 0.65 percent of Internet advertising, Spanish dominant consumers are largely left on their own to hunt for competitive products and services.

This signals a tremendous opportunity for marketers who see the potential for the right products and are not distracted by acculturation. "I'm not going to go buy a Lexus tomorrow, but I need shoes, spark plugs, car insurance, toys, furniture, everything," commented a Spanish dominant man from Houston. "I'm looking for the best buy I can get. It's a no-brainer. If your ads are in Spanish, I can understand them and am that much closer to buying. Isn't that the whole point?"

MEDIA: To arrange an interview with Dr. Ines Poza, a market research consultant and strategic planner based in Santa Monica, Calif., call 310.430.4637. Learn more at

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