Reined in by family, Hispanic teens look to digital to help define themselves


Last month Tamara Barber from Simmons Research led an insightful webinar on Hispanic Teens in conjunction with AHAA.

The webinar highlighted some key differences between Hispanic and non-Hispanic teens and provided insights that give marketers important clues for connecting with the up and coming Hispanic teen segment.

According to the research, more than one-fifth of U.S. teens are Hispanic. Marketers take note: this equates to 5.6 million Hispanic teens today which is roughly the population of the state of Wisconsin.

Hispanic teens are neither here nor there

As they enter adulthood, Hispanic teens are creating a new path for themselves that is different from the path carved by their parents. Parents of Hispanic teens are likely foreign born or first generation and as a result, their identity is strongly rooted in the Latino ideals and values of their home country. Hispanic teens, on the other hand, are neither here nor there, and find themselves having to define themselves in a new light, one that more equally balances Latino and American values.

As Hispanic teens seek to create this new identity, they are likely being met with resistance at home. This tension comes through in the Simmons research that found that “Hispanic teens feel more reined in by family” compared to general market teens. Specifically, the study found that Hispanics under-index across the following familial attitudes.


While the percentages for these attitudes are still strong, the difference when compared to non-Hispanic teens indicates that this group may feel limited by the traditionally tight family bonds of the Latino home. The tension Hispanic teens face in defining a new identify for themselves is also apparent outside of the home. The research shows that relative to non-Hispanics, Hispanic teens are more reserved and under-index when it comes to the following social attitudes.


Hispanic teens are turning to digital media to help define themselves

Hispanic teens, who feel more reined in by their family and are more reserved socially, are turning to the Internet to help create and inspire a new and multifaceted identity. This identity is being shaped by traditional Latino familial values, American social ideals and today’s culture which is broadcast online in real time.

Specifically, on the digital front, Simmons found that Hispanic teens are more likely to engage in the following online activities as they attempt to discover, shape and amplify their digital self.

  • Top online activities
    • Chat forums – 140 index to non-Hispanic teens.
    • Photo albums – 133
    • Blogs – 124
    • Download music – 117
  • Top mobile activities
    • Photo albums – 169
    • Search engines – 166
    • Blogs – 152
    • Watch TV – 125

When Hispanic teens find something they love, they are more likely to embrace it. The research showed that this audience is particularly attuned to trends in fashion and music, and they have a strong media appetite that’s ripe for marketers.

For brands looking to connect with Hispanic teens, the opportunity is clear. Embrace this new identity, help Hispanic teens define it and engage with them online.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *