US Hispanics and Digital

Smartphones Power Activity; Digital Video, Social Media Capture Attention

Beyond the outdated “digital divide” stereotype and the incomplete “Hispanics are mobile” cliché, Hispanic consumers have distinct patterns of digital usage. More than for the population in general, the smartphone is central to their digital lives, while the inescapable English-vs.-Spanish issue adds its own twists.

  • The old digital divide has mostly closed, and about eight in 10 Hispanics are internet users. However, a below-average proportion of Hispanics (47%) have home broadband. One-third of Spanish-dominant Hispanics lack computers.
  • Almost seven in 10 Hispanics have a smartphone, and it powers an outsize proportion of their digital activity. About one-third have a smartphone but no home broadband. Their daily time spent using mobile (3 hours) is more than an hour higher than the figure for non-Hispanics.
  • Nearly two-thirds of Hispanics use social media. About half are on Facebook. Among adults, slightly more than one-third use Instagram and slightly less than one-third use Snapchat. WhatsApp is the social platform where Hispanics conspicuously overindex.
  • Digital video has caught on with Hispanics. Eight in 10 use subscription services, with Netflix atop the list. Many use streaming services more than traditional TV—a trend poised to accelerate as more Hispanic-oriented content comes online.
  • Many Hispanics use their phones to research purchases. In holiday shopping, they overindex for buying via phone, but underindex for buying via computer.
  • Some data suggests Hispanics are less likely than others to have a negative view of digital advertising. Still, many use ad blockers.
  • Language usage continues to be a complex issue. Spanish remains important even as an increasingly US-born population skews toward English—which tends to be the preferred language for digital usage.

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Table of Contents

  1. A Mobile Population in More than One Sense
  2. Some Basics of Hispanics’ Internet Usage
  3. A Smartphone-Centric Cohort
  4. Social Similarities, Social Differences
  1. Feeling the Pull of Digital Video
  2. Digital Aspects of Hispanics’ Shopping
  3. ¿Spanish or English?
  4. Key Takeaways
  1. eMarketer Interviews
  2. Read Next
  3. Sources
  4. Media Gallery

Charts in This Report

Interviewed for This Report

Lee Vann
Captura Group
Chief Strategy Officer
Interviewed May 23, 2018
Dr. Jake Beniflah
Head of Insights and Foresights
Interviewed May 29, 2018
Nancy Tellet
Founder and Owner
Interviewed May 31, 2018
Jose Villa
President and Key Strategy Officer
Interviewed June 1, 2018


Mark Dolliver


Sean Creamer
Oscar Orozco
Senior Forecasting Analyst
Jennifer Pearson
VP, Research
Monica Peart
Senior Director, Forecasting
Shelleen Shum
Director, Forecasting

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