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The Shrinking Digital Divide?

POSTED BY thomas POSTED IN Uncategorized POST TAGGEDMorse's Code

AOL Latino has just announced the results of its second annual U.S. Hispanic Cyberstudy. No real surprises here, but the results are consistent with and support a lot of the research that we’ve seen and conducted over the last few years. Though I would have preferred to have seen more interviews with off-line Hispanics to get a better read on usage rates, the study is to be commended for using bilingual interviewers and avoiding a bias in favor of English speakers as some studies have done.

The most striking insight for me was the huge number of on-line interviewees that are recent Internet users – 20% connected their home computers to the Internet within the last six months. The number is 6% for the General Market. Perhaps we are seeing the Digital Divide beginning to close.

Some of the key findings:

    Hispanics are relatively new to the Internet

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

    Discovering entertainment online

    – 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%).

    Discovering and buying products and services online

    – 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.

    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.