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Que Pasa En El Internet?

Youth must be served, particularly in Spanish.

That is the message of a new eMarketer report, Hispanic Youth Online: Language and Culture Define Usage.

Yet the Hispanic youth market is one of the toughest of all consumer demographic groups to understand. Hispanic people in the US share a common language but come from many countries. Some are first-generation immigrants, others are the children of immigrants and still others have grandparents or great-grandparents who were born in the US.

"Some speak only Spanish; others barely know the language. Still others use Spanish in some environments, English in others, or a mix of the two called Spanglish," says Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer Senior Analyst and author of the new report. "Many Hispanic youth live in two worlds: one dominated by the culture and traditions of their family history, and the other awash in the iPods, MySpaces, mobile phones and hip-hop music of the general youth culture."

There were 15.7 million Hispanic Internet users in the US in 2005, according to eMarketer. This total will rise to 16.7 million in 2006 and by 25%, to reach nearly 21 million, by 2010.

"This means that by 2010 the number of Hispanic Internet users will approach the number of African-American users," says Ms. Williamson.

In addition, the US Hispanic population is young, particularly online. eMarketer estimates that, in 2005, there were 9.1 million Hispanic Internet users under the age of 35 and projects that this will rise to 12.1 million in 2010.

"The Hispanic youth explosion doesn't show signs of slowing, at least in the near term," says Ms. Williamson. "By 2010, when the median age of the US population is expected to be 36, the Hispanic median age will be just over 27, and in 2010, one-third of all Hispanic people in the US will be under 18."

In many respects, the Hispanic youth market looks and feels like the greater youth market. Blogging, mobile phones, social networking, music and entertainment are all popular activities.

"Hispanic youth use the Internet more than older Hispanic Americans," says Ms. Williamson. "They are also more likely to say that the Internet has had an impact on their lives."

For Hispanic youth, there's an added dimension that sets them apart from the general market: Their cultural heritage and their language choices make for multiple identities, both online and off. Today, the media message to young Hispanic Americans is, "You don't have to speak Spanish to feel Hispanic." They hold their heritage in high regard and make an effort to preserve it regardless of how much Spanish they speak.

Market better to todo el mundo, read the new eMarketer report, Hispanic Youth Online: Language and Culture Define Usage.


eMarketer, April 13, 2006

Copyright © 2006 eMarketer Inc.. All rights reserved.