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Mobile Powers US Hispanics' Digital Activity

US Hispanic population as a whole no longer overindexes for smartphone ownership

December 1, 2015 | Demographics | Mobile

At the dawn of the smartphone age, US Hispanics stood out as early adopters. Now that the population in general is converging at a high rate of smartphone ownership, one must look harder to see distinctive aspects of Hispanics’ mobile usage. The key is that smartphones still power an exceptionally large portion of Hispanics’ overall digital activity.

Attitudes Toward Mobile Phones Among US Hispanic vs. Non-Hispanic Adults, June 2015 (% of adults in each group)

US Hispanics are well-equipped with smartphones, though they no longer outpace the general population in that respect. And the volume of their usage is large as phones fill an outsized share of their digital day, according to a new eMarketer report, “US Hispanics’ Mobile Usage: Relying on Smartphones as Core of Their Digital Lives.”

Hispanics who do not have smartphones are the exception. eMarketer estimates that 79.4% of US Hispanics will be mobile phone users by the end of 2015, matching the proportion of the US population in general (80.3%). Among Hispanics who use mobile phones, 71.6% will have smartphones—a bit lower than the figure for mobile users in general (73.8%).

US Smartphone User Penetration, by Race/Ethnicity, 2013-2019 (% of mobile phone users in each group)

Note that eMarketer’s figures are for individuals of any age. Since the Hispanic population includes an above-average proportion of young kids—and since children of any ethnicity tend not to have smartphones—this pulls down the percentage of total Hispanics who have smartphones. The picture shifts a bit in surveys that narrow the age range. An April 2015 Marist Poll in conjunction with MSNBC and Telemundo found that Hispanic adult mobile phone owners are a little more likely than non-Hispanic whites to have smartphones—76% vs. 72% of respondents—though less likely than non-Hispanic blacks (79%). Looking at mobile phone users ages 13 and older, Nielsen polling in Q2 2015 found 83% of Hispanics with smartphones, vs. 79% of total respondents.

The enthusiasm of millennials in general for smartphones is fully shared by Hispanic millennials in particular. A June 2015 survey from ThinkNow Research and Sensis identified 96% of Hispanic millennial internet users as smartphone owners.

Get more on this topic with the full eMarketer report, “US Hispanics’ Mobile Usage: Relying on Smartphones as Core of Their Digital Lives.”

eMarketer releases over 200 analyst reports per year, which are only available to eMarketer corporate subscribers.

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