July 16, 2002, 12:00 AM

Hispanics now the fastest growing U.S.-based ethnic group online

7.6 million Hispanics accessed the Internet in June, a 13% increase that makes them the third-largest ethnic group on the web in the U.S. First is Caucasians, at 90%, then African Americans, 7.4%.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

The number of ethnic web users is growing significantly in the U.S. each year, highlighting what Nielsen/NetRatings says is an untapped opportunity for marketers to win over these population groups. Web users who identify themselves as of Hispanic descent are now the fastest growing U.S.-based ethnic group on the web. Nearly 7.6 million Hispanics accessed the Internet in June, a 13% jump over last year when 6.7 million did so. The Asian or Pacific Islander group was the second fastest growing online, increasing 6% from June a year ago to nearly 2.4 million in June of this year.

Caucasians comprise nearly 90% of the online audience, says Nielsen/NetRatings, while African Americans were the second largest group, accounting for 7.4%. Year over year, Caucasian web users grew by 4% to 94 million who accessed the Internet in June , while the African American group grew by 3% to nearly 7.8 million for the month. Overall, the total web population grew 3% from June to June, constituting an audience of nearly 105 million unique Internet users during that month.

Asian web users were the most aggressive Internet consumers, initiating 26 Internet sessions for the month, on average, which is 8% more than last year, and spending more than 16 hours online in June. Caucasian users accessed the Internet an average 21 times, 11% more than last year, and spent more than 11 hours online. Hispanics logged on 18 times during the month, 6% more than last year, and spent more than 10 hours online. African American web users initiated 17 session, 5% higher than a year ago, and spent nearly 10 hours online.

“With online populations of various ethnic groups on the rise, companies are presented with a growing opportunity to reach these underserved groups through targeted content offerings and smartly placed advertising,” says T.S. Kelly, director and principal analyst, NetRatings.

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