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Hispanics and African Americans Lead the Pack in Mobile Shopping

Jul 10, 2012

By Laura Morales, Hispanic Media Relations and Business Writer

How many of you remember the time when, in order to comparison shop for, say, a new TV, you had to actually get into a car or some other mode of transport and schlep out to different stores to see who had the best price on a heavy, bulky CRT?

As a child of the ‘70s, I certainly do. Back then, if you wanted to use your phone to comparison shop, it meant hauling out that ponderous yellow tome – you know, the kind that few kids today have ever even seen – and calling the stores to ask surly salespeople for prices.

Today, of course, we use our laptops, iPads and smartphones  to compare prices while reclining on the couch and without having to talk to a salesperson who would rather be chattering away with co-workers than answering questions from those pesky customers. And, according to this recent Bulldog Reporter tidbit, Hispanics and African Americans lead the United States in the use of mobile devices for things like looking up product reviews and comparing prices.

That’s not surprising as according to International Data Corporation, close to a billion people will be using smartphones by 2015 and that, in the US, just over half of African-Americans and 42 percent of Latinos (as opposed to 24 percent of non-Hispanic whites) do most of their online browsing on their mobile phones.

And, while we’re seeing a lot more ad and marketing content tailored to appeal to these demographic groups, the reality is that marketers still aren’t putting as much time and money as they should into campaigns that target Hispanics and African Americans. Forget the representations of these groups that you see on English-language TV and especially in the news. Most are negative and don’t really reflect the diversity within each group. And they don’t take into account the growing economic clout of both demographics.

I see this reflected in the total amounts of money being spent (including mobile marketing) to target these communities. In 2010, advertisers and marketers allocated about five percent of their budgets to reaching Hispanics – who account for about 16 percent of the American population. And in mid-2011, the country’s marketers were spending less than one percent – one percent! – to reach African Americans, who, as of the 2010 Census, make up over 12 percent of the population.

Note to marketers who, apparently, have been living under a rock for the past few years: the combined buying power of these two groups stands at over $2 trillion. ¡Pónganse al día, gente!

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