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Posted October 10, 2005 by publisher in Cuban American Business

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Press Release

Despite Being Relatively New to the Internet, Hispanics Are Outpacing The General Online Market In Several Areas of Online Communication, Entertainment and Other Advanced Internet Features

But Hispanics Feel There Is A Lack Of Online Content And Advertising Available in Spanish
 
America Online U.S. Hispanics are relatively new to the Internet yet they recognize the value it brings to their family and are quickly making its tools and features part of their daily lives. In addition, Hispanics are outpacing the general online market in their use of some of the most advanced features of the Internet according to the second annual America Online(R)/RoperASW U.S. Hispanic Cyberstudy.

According to the survey, which was conducted among at-home Internet users, 20% of these Hispanics have been online at home less than six months, compared with just 6% of the general at-home online population. Forty-two percent of Hispanic online consumers have had an Internet connection at home for less than two years, compared with just 15% of the general at home online population.

Nevertheless, online Hispanic consumers have quickly made the Internet part of their everyday lives, and are outpacing the rest of the at-home online population when it comes to using some of the Internet’s more cutting edge features, the survey results show. For example, they use the Internet far more frequently than the general online population to listen to music (54% vs. 30% do so regularly or occasionally), buy a car (6% vs. 2% bought online in the past three years), and communicate via instant messaging (64% vs. 48% do so regularly or occasionally). And Hispanic online consumers have rapidly adopted advanced wireless features into their lives. For example, a third of online Hispanic cell phone users (34%) use cell phones for instant messaging, compared with just 9% of those in the general online population.

“With 14 million Hispanics online today, our second annual survey reveals this community is showing a real passion for the power and reach of the Internet and understanding how it can empower Latinos that are getting connected,” said Peter Blacker, Vice President International & US Hispanic, AOL(R) Business Solutions. “AOL has made a real commitment to better serving online Hispanic consumers by launching the AOL(R) Latino service last year and giving advertisers a better platform to reaching them.”

An Empowerment Tool for the Hispanic Family

U.S. Hispanics with online access at home also see the Internet as a powerful tool that can help improve the education and career prospects of their children, help them keep in touch with family and friends living abroad and make them better informed consumers. For example, more than three in four online Hispanics with children who go online (79%), say that the Internet has had a positive effect on the skills their children will need for a successful career. 72% say that the Internet has improved the ability of their children to get into college. Nearly two-thirds of all Hispanic online consumers (63%) consider the Internet the best information source to start learning about products and services they want to buy, and more than half (59%) say it’s the best place to learn about available brands. In addition, eight in ten online Hispanics (80%) use the Internet regularly or occasionally to communicate with friends and family.

“This survey makes it absolutely clear that Hispanic families see the Internet as a valuable tool that can help keep them connected and improve their children’s lives and help them learn about products and services in an easy and convenient manner,” said David Wellisch, Vice President and General Manager of AOL Latino, the leading Internet service provider for U.S. Hispanics. “That’s why we have worked to make AOL Latino a destination where Hispanic families can easily communicate with friends and family and have a greater piece of mind by the fact that their children are more protected through the company’s award winning safety and security measures.”

Language Remains a Barrier

The survey also found that language remains a significant barrier to online use among Hispanics who do not have Internet access at home. Nearly three in four offline Hispanics who speak at least some Spanish (71%), say online Spanish content is important. More than half of all offline Hispanics (56%) cite lack of Spanish content as a reason for not going online at home. About half (49%) also say it is because there aren’t enough sites and activities online that would interest Hispanics.

Among Hispanics already online, two-thirds of those who speak at least some Spanish (67%) say they “wish there were more Websites that offered information of interest to Hispanic Americans.” Among online Hispanics whose dominant language is Spanish, 75% feel this way.

Almost half of online Hispanic consumers who speak at least some Spanish (45%) also wish that more Web advertising were in Spanish, the survey found. One in three (33%)says they pay more attention to advertisements when they are in Spanish. And nearly one in four (23%) say that advertising in Spanish makes them more likely to buy a given product (versus only 10% who say it makes them less likely to buy).

“This year’s study is among the first to take an in-depth look at the issue of language and the Internet in the American marketplace,” said W. Bradford Fay, Managing Director, RoperASW. “It is clear that U.S. Hispanics see significant value in the Internet as a way to get information in their preferred language.”

Topline Findings

Hispanics are relatively new to the Internet

—One in five Hispanic online consumers (20%) connected their household to the Internet less than six months ago vs. 6% of the general at home online population.

—42% of Hispanic online consumers have had Internet access at home for less than two years vs. 15% of the general online population.

—More than half (53%) of offline Hispanics expect to get an Internet connection at home within the next two years.

—Nearly one in five (17%) expects to do so within the next six months.

Discovering entertainment online

—Online Hispanic consumers have quickly embraced the music and entertainment features and tools available on the Internet, and are far more likely to use many of them than the general online population.

—More than half of online Hispanics (54%) regularly or occasionally listen to music online, compared with less than a third (30%) of the general online population.

—More than a third of online Hispanics regularly or occasionally download music files (39%), while 27% of the general online population says they use the Internet to do this.

—A third of online Hispanic consumers (34%) regularly or occasionally watch video clips online, while fewer than one in four (23%) of the general online population does so.

—Almost half (43%) say they go online and watch TV at the same time. More than a third (36%) view the Internet as an alternative to TV, reporting that they watch TV less since they’ve started going online.

Using the Internet to communicate

—Hispanic online consumers have embraced the Internet’s ability to keep them connected with their friends and family, and are using several advanced features far more than the general online population.

—For example, nearly two-thirds of online Hispanics (64%) regularly or occasionally use the Internet to instant message, compared with less than half of the general online population (48%).

—A third of those with a cell phone (34%) use cell phones for instant messaging, compared with just 9% of those in the general online population.

—Nearly a third of online Hispanic cell phone users (29%) use the Internet to download ring tones, while just 9% of those in the general online population do so.

Discovering and buying products and services online

—The Internet is quickly having a major and growing influence on the purchasing behavior of online Hispanic consumers. Hispanics who have shopped online spent an average $480 in the past three months, compared with $577 for the general online population. Today, 43% of online Hispanics say they regularly or occasionally shop online, and 52% say being able to shop online was a reason they got an Internet connection at home.

—Nearly two-thirds (63%) consider the Internet the best information source to start learning about products and services they want to buy, and more than half (59%) say it’s the best place to learn about available brands.

—More than half (59%) now view the Internet as the best source for comparing prices (vs. 50% in 2002), and half (51%) say it’s the best place to get information for making a final brand decision (vs. 40% in 2002).

—Among online Hispanic households that bought a car in the past three years, nearly two in three (60%) researched different vehicle types online. Nearly six in ten (58%) compared new car prices.

—Online Hispanics in households that have bought a car in the past three years are also far more likely than those in the general online population to use the Internet to design features and options for a new car (46% vs. 30%); find the location of a new car dealer (45% vs. 25%); and make an actual new car purchase (12% vs. 3%).

—More than half (54%) regularly or occasionally use the Internet to research healthcare products, and one in five (19%) regularly or occasionally shop for or buy pharmaceuticals online - almost twice the proportion in the general online population (11%).

Using the Internet more

—Hispanic online consumers are also using more online features than before in the purchase decision process, the survey found. Compared with the 2002 survey, for example, more online Hispanics say the Internet is the best information source for starting to learn about a product or service they might buy (59% said so this year vs. 50% in 2002); to learn about product features/benefits (61% vs. 52%), get advice on the brand to buy (56% vs. 49%), determine where a product is available (63% vs. 47%), compare prices, (59% vs. 50%), and make the final brand decision (51% v 40%).

—In addition, more online Hispanics are using the Internet to make travel arrangements (52% vs. 40% doing so regularly or occasionally), the survey found.

An active interest in new activities

—Hispanic online consumers are also using the Internet to pay bills, do online banking, compare insurance rates and open checking accounts at rates about comparable to the general online population.

—Nearly two-thirds (61%) have used the Internet in the past three years to do one or more of the following: pay a bill, do online banking, compare insurance rates or open a checking account.

—Almost half of online Hispanics (47%) have family living outside the U.S. to whom they have sent money, but only 5% of these households have used the Internet for this purpose.

—Online Hispanics are using the Internet for coupons as well, with one in four (26%) saying they have used coupons they have gotten from the Internet.

Language preferences

—About half of offline Hispanics who speak at least some Spanish (49%) say there aren’t sites and things to do online that would be of interest to Hispanics.

—More than half of all offline Hispanics (56%) say that one reason they aren’t online is because they’ve heard there is too little Spanish content online.

—Two thirds of Hispanic online consumers who speak at least some Spanish (67%) wish there were more websites that had information of interest to Hispanic Americans

—And about half of online Hispanic consumers (49%) wish there were more Web sites in Spanish.

—Marketers who advertise online in Spanish have a decided advantage over those who don’t.

—More than one in seven (15%) Hispanic online consumers say they almost bought something online, but changed their minds due to language difficulty.

—Nearly one-fourth of those who speak at least some Spanish (23%) say they are more likely to buy a given product if it is advertised in Spanish (vs. only 10% who say they are less likely).

—More than one in four online Hispanics who have never shopped online (28%) say they would be more likely to do so if more shopping sites were in Spanish.

—One-third of those who speak at least some Spanish (33%) say they “pay more attention to ads when they’re in Spanish.” (That figure rises to 56% among those whose dominant language is Spanish.)

—Almost half of online Hispanics who speak at least some Spanish (45%) wish that more Web ads were in Spanish.

Helping their children succeed

—Hispanics are far more upbeat about how the Internet will help their children succeed in the future than the general online population.

—More than three in four Hispanic online consumers with children who go online (79%) say the Internet will improve the skills their children need for a successful career, compared with 61% of those in the general online population.

—Almost three in four (71%) say the Internet has improved the quality of their children’s homework, versus 59% of those in the general online population.

—Roughly the same proportion (72%) say that the Internet has improved the ability of their children to get into college, compared with just 45% of those in the general online population.

Moving to broadband

—Hispanic online consumers are as likely as those in the general online population to have in-home Internet via broadband (40% vs. 38%).

—Online Hispanics not yet on broadband are more likely than those in the general online population to predict that they will soon go to broadband (50% vs. 39%).

Methodology

—Hispanic Online Consumers: Interviews conducted via telephone with 615 18+ year old Hispanics with online access at home using bilingual Spanish/English speaking interviewers. The interviews were conducted from December 22, 2003 to January 19, 2004. The sampling error is +/- 4 percentage points for the total sample. This is comparable to 2002 research, which was conducted among 301 Hispanic online consumers in Fall 2002.

—General Population Online Consumers: Interviews conducted via telephone with 300 18+ year old Americans with online access at home from December 18, 2003 to January 19, 2004. The sampling error is +/- 6 percentage points for the total sample. This is also comparable to 2002 research, which was conducted among 1,001 general population online consumers in Fall 2002.

—Total U.S Hispanic Population: Interviews conducted via telephone with 308 U.S. Hispanics 18+ years old (180 of these interviews are with Hispanics who do not have online access at home), using bi-lingual Spanish/English speaking interviewers. The interviews were conducted from December 22, 2003 to January 19, 2004. The sampling error is +/- 6 percentage points for the total sample.

About AOL(R) Latino

AOL Latino, the leading Internet service provider for U.S. Hispanics, offers comprehensive Spanish product features and content including U.S. and Latin American news, the latest in music, entertainment and sports, as well as access to all the existing English language content available on the AOL service for no extra cost.

About RoperASW(R)

RoperASW, an NOP World company, is a leading global marketing research and consulting firm with headquarters in New York City and offices in London, Manila, and throughout the U.S. NOP World is among the ten largest global marketing research companies in the U.S. and the world. Bringing together some of the most renowned U.S. and European research firms in a unified global network, NOP World is a wholly owned subsidiary of U.K.-based United Business Media plc (NASDAQ:UNEWY).

CONTACT:
America Online
Lori Dolginoff
212/652-6363

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