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Language Matters For Hispanics' Social App Use

Nearly seven in 10 unacculturated Hispanic internet users frequently use social media apps

As a whole, US Hispanics use their mobile phones to access social networking apps at nearly the same rate as their non-Hispanic counterparts, but it’s a different story when social app usage is broken down by Hispanic level of acculturation.

March 2014 research by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that 74% of US Hispanic mobile phone users used apps to access a social network at least once per week, compared with 73% of non-Hispanics. Hispanics were even more likely to send and receive texts on their mobile phones on a weekly basis, with 96% doing so, vs. 92% of non-Hispanics.

Unacculturated Hispanics—those who speak Spanish fluently and are not very comfortable speaking English—are driving that social app usage. Nearly 70% of unacculturated US Hispanic internet users surveyed in December 2013 by Latinum Network reported that a social media app was one of their top three used apps. Just 51% of acculturated and 60% of bicultural Hispanics said the same.

It’s a similar case with messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, indicating that unacculturated Hispanics likely rely more on these social platforms to keep in touch with family and friends in their countries of origin. Some 52% of unacculturated Hispanics said that a messaging app was among their top three used apps, compared with 17% of acculturated and 36% of bicultural Hispanics.

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