From smartphones to tablets to smart TVs – consumers are now faced with more choices than ever thanks to advances in technology and an increasingly diverse population. But there are misconceptions about who is participating in today’s digital world.
Think multicultural, and more specifically, consider the Hispanic market, which is far more tech savvy than perhaps may be perceived. In fact, Hispanics are more digitally inclined than non-Hispanics in the U.S. Indeed, 77 percent of Hispanics own a smartphone, compared to 54 percent of the general market.
The story doesn’t stop at devices, however, as activity is just as important as the tool-set.
Hispanics actually consume more digital media than traditional media and spend much of their time consuming mobile media on smartphones and tablets. Engagement on social media is an important part of the picture, too. More than 80 percent of the Hispanic market in the U.S. is active in social media.
It’s natural that the multicultural market would eagerly adopt social media. Hispanics tend to be vocal – take it from me, I’m a native of Mexico City – and culturally Hispanics rely on word-of-mouth recommendations. If a product is good, the word will spread. Plus, with a strong focus on family and community, the Hispanic market lends itself to forming communities of all sorts, both online and offline.
Yet brands still undervalue the U.S. Hispanic digital intelligence as well as the creativity of multicultural audiences.
We – the Hispanic market – are content creators on multiple channels. This is partly related to the country’s continued diversity and access to different cultural influences. Today you can see the changes just walking through a grocery store. Fifteen years ago there was probably one aisle of “ethnic” food while now you may see three. It’s not unusual for chain grocery stores to carry sushi, tahini or chorizo, which 10-15 years ago was a rarity.
Hispanics also have strong ties to heritage, but the market’s high participation in digital media exposes them to so many other cultures and forms content. When you have a variety of influences, you want to express them in anyway you can. When you have vast opportunities to learn, you want to share a lot. The accessibility of digital media makes it an ideal outlet for this this kind of expression.
Right now, digital media and social media are two of the best ways to connect with Hispanics, and it represents opportunities for brands to enter the marketplace.
The good news is that the multicultural market will be easier to reach as younger generations become even more and more diverse and open-minded. Brands will have more means to connect with them. The key is to reach them in the right manner, on the right platform.
You must consider the nuances of individual Hispanic cultures and what you’re doing to make an emotional connection, while there’s also the digital culture to consider. You must understand how to interact on social media in an authentic way and what motivates these content creators.
Going forward, the multicultural market will be a force in the digital world. Brands continuing to underestimate it will miss out on more buying power than they realize.
It’s time to leave your expectations at the door.
Alex Duplan leads Elasticity Multicultural. Learn more about his background here.