Latinosphere: A Young and Mobile Emerging Market

If you are planning to win in a young and emerging market like India or Brazil, you better have a strong mobile strategy (if not, ask Yahoo). The same applies if you want to win in another emerging market, a $1.6 trillion purchasing power segment that is right in your own backyard: the Latino market. It’s because the Latinosphere, Latinos in the age of digital, is a great example of another young and mobile emerging nation.

Throughout the past two years, Giovanni Rodriguez and I here at ClickZ have been discussing how Latinos are set to lead the mobile web. So when last week Zpryme Research released the 2012 Hispanic Mobile Consumer survey with new evidence on this trend, I couldn’t help but write a column on it.

Super Connected Latinos

Hispanics lead mobile adoption: smartphone penetration is 43 percent and tablet penetration is 19 percent among Latinos versus 35 percent and 17 percent respectively among whites according to eMarketer. Zpryme predicts that Hispanics will continue to influence mobile technology markets, estimating that by 2017, 20 percent of tablets and smartphones in the U.S. will be purchased by Latinos.

Regarding access to the Internet, laptops have outpaced desktop PC, 70.7 percent versus 59.1 percent respectively. Nearly half (46 percent) use their smartphone for Internet connection most of the time. Tablets are still behind as a way to access the Internet (19 percent) but rapidly catching up according to the Zpryme study.

Latinos’ Love for Mobile

Email continues to rank number one in online activities, no surprise there. But other activities are getting closer, especially social networking and listening to music as you can see on the chart below.

hispanic-online

Now when it comes to tablets, gaming ranks number one (74.3 percent), followed by email (66.3 percent), search (66 percent), and social networking (55.4 percent). It seems that tablets play a less functional role than smartphones as a great source for entertainment. Actually, 53 percent of Latinos said they preferred to get entertainment on their laptop/smartphone or tablet versus on their TV set.

Mobile Commerce: Myth or Reality?

There’s been a lot of discussion about Hispanics’ willingness to purchase online. And when it comes to mobile shopping, some experts question whether smartphone incidence shouldn’t be related to mobile shopping potential.

According to Jason S. Rodriguez, Zpryme CEO and director of research, “Hispanics’ use of mobile devices and related technologies reaches far beyond games, entertainment, and social media. Increasingly, they will drive demand for new mobile apps that help them manage their finances (pay bills, track accounts, etc.), maintain their lifestyles, and enrich their personal and business relationships.”

The study shows that 37 percent of tablet users are using their device to shop online. Forty-two percent of online purchases range between $26 to $100 per transaction. When it comes to factors influencing online purchases, price (44.2 percent) and website reliability (17.9 percent) come first. App purchases are becoming more and more frequent, with 31 percent of respondents having bought at least one app as recent as this week. Nearly half (48 percent) have bought games, songs (41 percent), news (24 percent), navigation (24 percent), and books (23 percent).

“Based on research from Zpryme’s Hispanic Insights Practice, mobile wallets and mobile banking will be major growth areas for Hispanics,” added Rodriguez.

Winning With the Emerging Latinosphere

Latinos are leading the mobile web. Not only by using mobile devices as their primary way of accessing the Internet but also as their preferred way for entertainment or shopping. Mobile Latinos should be considered as a testing ground for everything mobile.

Engaging consumers on a mobile device is about context and timing. There’s a screen size and a time limitation. Easy access and simplicity are key. Think about integrating entertainment into your mobile campaigns, personalizing experiences, leveraging location-based applications, exploring brand integrations into mobile gaming, among other possibilities.

If you want to win with the emerging Latinosphere market, your mobile experience should empower Latinos allowing them to take the lead rather than follow.