Friday, April 22, 2011

The Multicultural Face of Smart Phones and Unlimited Data Plans

A week ago we reported on some of the new data from the Florida State University Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication and DMS Insights Multicultural Marketing Study. Those findings revealed that Hispanics are digital pioneers in having blogs and personal websites.
Much speculation and some research has claimed that Hispanics are leading in the area of Smart Phone usage. With the our sample of 2,500 respondents nationwide (500 per segment), we found that this year online Hispanics who prefer Spanish, Asians, and Hispanics who prefer English lead in having smart phones over other segments. This is most pronouncedly true when comparing them to non-Hispanic Whites. Close to 50% of these online segments have a smart phone now!

Having a Smart Phone, to be truly useful requires of an unlimited data plan. Fifty six percent of online Latinos that prefer Spanish have an unlimited data plan. A much higher proportion that all other segments, but particularly much higher than non-Hispanic Whites of whom only 32% claim having an unlimited data plan.

These findings are not only surprising but outstanding in portraying Hispanics as the most aggressive users of mobile technology for internet navigation and use. These individuals are disproportionally using the potential of new media to connect to their virtual world. This may be related to the need for connectivity that Latinos have continuously expressed. Also, it seems to be related to liberation that these technologies offer. Mobility and connectivity appear to be prime values for Hispanic consumers.

Mobile manufacturers and service providers should study this phenomenon in greater depth. What is the meaning of having Latinos be the leaders in this digital era? How can they influence others? What is their role in promoting the use of mobile digital communications? How do their tastes and preferences shape the future of technology use in the United States? These and other questions are of great importance but the key elements here are the raw results. Latinos are venturing faster into digital mobility, and are placing their resources and trust in these new ways of communicating.

The data for this study was collected during March 2011. The online sample was comprised of 500 respondents per segment, for a total of 2,500, based on quotas by gender, age, and geographic location. DMS Insights managed the sample and data collection. This study was conducted by the faculty and students of the graduate Multicultural Marketing Communication course offered by FSU this Spring

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