By: Laurita Tellado

A Pew Research infographic demonstrating cell phone ownership and Internet use by race, indicates that 76 percent of Hispanics access the Internet using a mobile handheld device, at least occasionally. (Pew Hispanic, www.pewhispanic.org)

 

The demographic makeup of the U.S. is in the midst of a drastic shift. The U.S. Census estimates that, by the year 2043, Caucasians will become a minority in the country. For the first time in our nation’s history, the majority of people are of a multicultural background.

 

Hispanics make up approximately 17 percent of the population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In comparison, 13 percent of people in the U.S. are African-American, five percent are Asian, and nearly 78 percent are white.

 

This progressive shift in population will mean a lot more to marketers than the mere publishing of campaign materials in Spanish as well as in English. For agencies and their brand clients, it also highlights the need for digitalizing their strategies.

 

A March 2013 report by Pew Research states that the percentage of Latino adults who say they go online at least occasionally had risen from 64 percent to 78 percent– an increase of 14 percent.

 

Additionally, 86 percent of Latinos said they owned a cell phone in 2012, in contrast to just 76 percent in 2009.

 

“Latino internet users are more likely than white internet users to say they go online using a mobile device—76 percent versus 60 percent,” the Pew Research report indicates.

 

What do these numbers mean for marketers? As the Latino population grows in the U.S., along with an increase in cell phone usage, so should marketers embrace the closing of the so-called “digital divide,” and invest even more in mobile technologies  to attract– and keep– their Latino clientele.

 

With this transition also comes the ability to reach consumers wherever they may be– at home, at work, or on vacation, while they might otherwise not have access to a computer.
And with Hispanics almost tied with blacks and whites for their use of social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, reaching Latino consumers online has never been easier.

 

That is precisely why the marketing and PR industries need to heed the blatant call to action from the soon-to-be majority group, or risk finding themselves on the unfortunate side of another digital divide.