Jul 13, 2014 02:07 AM EDT
Latinos love mobile. That's been the message of various studies and surveys throughout the recent past, and this week PricewaterhouseCoopers added its own research into the chorus.
PwC's new study "Mi Móvil: Hispanic Consumers Embrace Mobile Technology" echoes previous studies we've shared on Latin Post Tech that find Latinos in the U.S. are much more likely to own and use smartphones and tablets for a variety of everyday online activities than the average consumer.
PwC's own research -- a survey that asked 500 Hispanic Americans and 500 non-Hispanic Americans an array of questions about their entertainment, media, shopping, and banking habits -- found that Latinos oversample for the amount of time spent on smartphones for many of those activities.
For example, one of the big takeaways from PwC's survey is the amount of entertainment media consumed on mobile devices by Latinos. The study found 43 percent of Latinos stream video on their smartphones and tablets, out-streaming the general population, only 25 percent of whom use mobile for streaming video, by nearly 20 percent. The same disparity exists between digital-forward Latinos and the general population when it comes to downloading videos. About 37 percent of Latinos download videos, as opposed to 17 percent of general U.S. consumers.
Even for the researchers, the 20 percent lead Latinos have on the general population was shocking. "The Hispanic population are generally larger consumers of entertainment, said Matt Lieberman, director of PwC's entertainment and media division, to ReCode. "And that trickles down to mobile. But the variance between the general population and the Hispanic population did surprise us."
But entertainment consumption among Latinos has been tracked before, most recently by Nielsen, which called Hispanics "ahead of the digital curve" for owning and using mobile devices for streaming video at higher rates. But PwC's study also looked into other day-by-day mobile activities of Latinos, finding that U.S. Hispanics are also much more smartphone savvy when it comes to financial transactions.
For example, while 65 percent of Latinos in the study said they checked their bank account balance, paid bills, or made other financial transactions from their smartphones, 53 percent of non-Hispanic respondents said the same. A similarly sized gap between Latinos and the general population exists when it comes to using mobile coupon downloads in-store at the checkout aisle: 25 percent of Latinos did it while 17 percent of the general population knew about, and practiced, that handy money-saving digital trick.
The survey results, by itself, is just one in a series of studies showing how mobile/digital savvy U.S. Latinos tend to be. But these studies are important not only to emphasize the next-generation buying power of Latinos, but also for marketers and Silicon Valley companies to figure out what kind of platforms, messages, and tools reach the Latino consumer. "For those that are trying to do more geo-targeting and those that are using more contextual [tactics] to reach consumers, this demographic is more open to that occurring," said Lieberman to AdAge.
You can see that happening in disruptive services and companies like T-Mobile, which did its own research in 2013 in preparation for a new "unCarrier" initiative called Mobile Money, which launched earlier this year. The company commissioned a survey that found that Latinos were unhappy with their banking and finance choices -- more than half had said they used a check-cashing store before, citing availability, banking fees, minimum balance requirements, and convenience as factors that pushed them away from using mainstream banks.
To incentivize Latinos to make a switch to T-Mobile, the Mobile Money service acts like a mobile "unbank," with no activation or monthly maintenance fees, no minimum balance, and the ability to deposit checks using your smartphone.
Such mobile-based services, apps, and other products are likely to emerge to better reach the Latino community, especially as evidence, that the number one way to reach Hispanics is through their smartphones, continues piles up.
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