The Hispanic Online Marketing Opportunity


A compelling marketing opportunity

If you were to judge solely by marketers’ efforts—or the lack thereof—to reach out to Hispanics via the Web, you’d assume that U.S. Hispanics make up only an insignificant portion of U.S. consumers who are online. But your assumption would be wrong.

During the past decade and a half, the Hispanic market in the United States has grown dramatically. Hispanics are the nation’s fastest-growing ethnic market and largest minority group. According to the U.S. census, Hispanics represent 15% of the population and total 45 million individuals.

As the number of U.S. Hispanics grows, so does their adoption of technology making Hispanic online marketing increasingly imperative. As AOL/Roper research indicates, U.S. Hispanics are embracing the Internet in increasing numbers, turning to it as a source of information, as a means to connect with their cultural heritage, as a way to communicate with family and friends, and as a channel for commerce. More than the general online population, U.S. Hispanics view the Internet as a tool for building better lives for their families. What’s more, research from Dr. Felipe Korzenny demonstrates that online Hispanics are heavy users of social media and playing a significant role in shaping the Internet today.

Some interesting facts about the Hispanic online market:

  • Critical Mass: There were 20 million U.S. Hispanics online as of June 2008
  • Steady Growth: The U.S. Hispanic online market is the fastest growing segment of the U.S. online market. In fact, between June 2007 and June 2008, more than 3.5 million Hispanics came online for the first time. This represents an annualized growth rate of 20% compared to 6% U.S. online market growth
  • Young: 63% of online Hispanics are under the age of 35 compare this to the U.S. online market where only 47% are less than 35
  • Upscale: 60% of online Hispanics earn more than $40,000

Online Hispanics use the Internet in English and Spanish

The majority of Hispanics in the U.S. live in a bilingual and bicultural world and this is fact is manifested in the virtual world. Online Hispanics, regardless of their language preference consume English and Spanish websites. Forrester research reports that approximately half of online Hispanics prefer Spanish and the other half prefer English.

A best practice in Hispanic online marketing is to use both English and Spanish. Online Hispanics, regardless of their language preference, want access to information in both languages. While Spanish language is clearly a necessity for Spanish-dominant Hispanics, it also plays a significant role for bilingual Hispanics online. AOL/Roper reports that the majority of bilingual Hispanics state that they wish they had access to information that was available in Spanish and wish more Websites were available in Spanish.

Succeeding in Hispanic online marketing requires a long term, strategic approach

While growth rates in the Hispanic online market are impressive and the opportunity compelling, effectively marketing to Hispanics online requires a deep understanding of its complexities. To that end, it is imperative that marketers take a long term, strategic approach to this compelling market opportunity. Among the most important factors marketers need to address to be successful are the unique language preferences and cultural predispositions of the Hispanic online market.

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