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Most US Hispanics Buy More Often Digitally Than a Year Ago

Smartphones power their digital lives

June 28, 2016

Hispanics are often noted for their heavy digital activity, mainly due to high smartphone engagement, but this characteristic isn’t as straightforward as it seems.

US Internet User Penetration, by Race/Ethnicity, 2014-2020 (% of population in each group)

As explored in a new eMarketer report, “US Hispanics 2016: Who They Are, What They’re Doing on Digital and Ad Spending to Reach Them,” US Hispanics are actually a less-than-average digital bunch. eMarketer estimates 82.0% of the US population will access the internet regularly in 2016, but that figure will reach 76.5% for US Hispanics. The gap will shrink over our forecast period, but it will persist through at least 2020.

eMarketer’s inclusion of Hispanic children and teens, who are less likely to be internet users and who will account for about one in three US Hispanics overall in 2016—vs. 22.7% for the total US population—does help skew penetration downward for the population as a whole.

There’s another aspect of Hispanics’ digital behavior that’s worth paying attention to: the amount of time they spend online, especially among those 18 and over. According to Q4 2015 data from Nielsen, US Hispanics ages 18 and older spent more monthly time than average going online via PCs and smartphones, as well as watching video on both devices.

Monthly Time Spent with Select Devices/Media Among US Adults, by Race/Ethnicity, Q4 2015 (hrs:mins)

Additionally, the majority of US Hispanics buy more often digitally now than they did a year ago. According to a September 2015 survey from ThinkNow Research, one in three US Hispanic internet users polled purchased an item digitally at least once per week, while seven out of 10 did so at least once per month—figures that were in line with white, black and Asian internet users.

ThinkNow found Hispanic shoppers are making digital purchases more often than they did in the past. About 56% of Hispanic shoppers said they’re buying digitally more now than they were a year ago, vs. 31% who are buying at about the same rate.

Devices Used for Purchasing Products Digitally According to US Digital Shoppers, by Race/Ethnicity, Sep 2015 (% of respondents in each group)

And while Hispanics may be a mobile-first consumer group, their mobile phones aren’t necessarily the go-to device when it comes to digital shopping. ThinkNow’s survey found Hispanics were more likely to use laptops when making a digital purchase.

Although laptops were more common, 57% of Hispanic shoppers used their mobile phones to purchase items, making them the most likely of any race or ethnicity in the US to make a purchase on a mobile phone by a wide margin.

Whatever device they use, Hispanics flock to the same online retail sites as internet users overall for their digital browsing and purchasing. According to comScore Media Metrix, as cited by Portada, retail sites under the umbrella had the highest number of unique visits by far among US Hispanics in February 2016, with eBay, Wal-Mart, Intuit and Apple rounding out the top 5. These sites were aligned with those visited by total internet users during the same time period, though their ranking differed slightly.

Top 10 Retail Sites Among US Hispanic Internet Users, Ranked by Unique Visitors, Feb 2016 (millions)

ThinkNow’s survey shows gender, income and language strongly influence digital shopping behaviors among US Hispanics, with males, millennials, bilinguals and those in households with annual income of $40,000 and higher driving sales. These four segments were more likely to purchase items digitally at least weekly, as well as purchase a higher number of items digitally each month, compared with females, adults 35 to 64, Spanish- or English-dominant speakers and those with household incomes under $40,000.

Get more on this topic with the full eMarketer report, “US Hispanics 2016: Who They Are, What They’re Doing on Digital and Ad Spending to Reach Them.”

eMarketer releases over 200 analyst reports per year, which are only available to eMarketer PRO customers.


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