A newly-released joint study from Florida State University and the DMS Research Center has found that more and more Hispanics in the US are getting online (you can view here http://www.hispaniconlinemarketing.com/). According to the study, decisive factors for this include their level/ability to speak English as well as the acculturation and educational levels. While this is very encouraging news, some marketers are still scratching their heads in thinking of the reasons why growth has been so slow among Spanish-only Hispanics in comparison to other groups.
When you think about it, though, it kind of makes sense:
The younger/more educated group, which has become part of the US culture and navigates back and forth between the two cultures, tends to be more detached from the traditional “Latino” way and more open to the modern American way.
By contrast, to someone who grew up with a culture that values the human touch, sharing, moments spent with family, closeness, the internet can seem a bit “too cold” and impersonal. Socioeconomics also plays a significant role: not everyone who is a recent immigrant can afford to buy a computer. You may think twice about investing on getting hooked up to the Internet when you have other, more pressing priorities. There might also be a trust issue: whereas most people in America have grown to accept conducting transactions or sharing information online, this may not be the case for Hispanics, who tend to prefer face-to-face interaction.
With the high incidence of immigration going on in this country, as well as with recurrent travel between US and their countries of origin, the online trend in the US may also be related to online trends in Latin America. According to recent studies, there’s a slow but sure shift to online usage, with younger people being the majority and a faster growth in countries with higher populations, like Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. This e-marketer.com report, published in February 2009, talks about the situation in a more “scientific” way: http://www.emarketer.com/Reports/All/Latam_aug06.aspx
In short: Yes, Hispanic/Latino culture tends to emphasize face-to-face communications. Yes, Spanish-only consumers may have a trust issue to get over. Yes, the situation with Spanish-only Hispanics follows trends originated in Latin America. And yes, thankfully, the whole thing seems to be shifting with time, but as you may have heard, our sense of time is just slightly different…
© 2009 Elianne Ramos. All rights reserved.