December 3, 2013, 6:43 PM

Hispanics offer big potential for small-screen commerce

U.S. Hispanics visit retailers’ mobile sites more than non-Hispanics, a study shows.

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U.S. retailers looking to drive mobile sales might want to focus more of their attention on Hispanics, a new study from Experian Marketing Services suggests.

While Hispanics in the U.S. are just slightly more likely to own a smartphone (56% compared to 55% for non-Hispanics), 54% of Hispanics say they are likely to visit a shopping site from their smartphone in a typical month, compared to 50% of non-Hispanics. And, among smartphone owners, Hispanics are 16% more likely to access the Internet more through a mobile device than through a computer.

The results from Experian are derived from a quarterly study of 25,000 U.S. adults, including more than 7,500 English- and Spanish-speaking Hispanics.

“Our analysis found that smartphones are clearly a key shopping tool for Hispanic consumers,” says Heather Dougherty, research director at Experian Marketing Services. “So, ultimately, those retailers that win this highly influential and socially active consumer will be those with savvy mobile strategies. There is significant opportunity for retailers and marketers to reach Hispanic shoppers as they shop and to drive engagement, even purchases, on their mobile devices.”

Hispanic smartphone owners also spend more time visiting shopping sites from their phones each month (18.2 minutes for Hispanics on average compared to 16.7 minutes for non-Hispanics owning smartphones). However, shopping app use is nearly even among both groups, with 37% of Hispanics and 38% of non-Hispanics saying they use a shopping app on their smartphone in a typical month. Experian says retailers can likely improve the app experience for Hispanics, for example, by offering Spanish-language apps.

Additionally, Hispanic smartphone owners are twice as likely as non-Hispanics to say they are interested in receiving advertisements on their phones and 58% more likely to purchase products they see advertised on their phones, Experian says.

Experian also released an index of Hispanic consumers’ propensity to visit retail mobile sites and apps via smartphones in a typical 30-day period compared to non-Hispanics. It uses a mix of consumer feedback and also tracks smartphone behavior to determine consumers’ likelihood to visit sites and apps. The index has a base of 100 and is based on the number of total likely Hispanic visits to a site or app in the 30-day period analyzed compared to non-Hispanics. For department stores, ranks first with an index score of 245, meaning that Hispanic consumers were likley to visit from their smartphones 145% more in the 30-day period analyzed than non-Hispanics. was followed by with 87% more visits, and with 59% more. is No. 26 in the Internet Retailer Mobile 500, is No. 30 and GameStop No. 110.

When it comes to shopping apps, pharmacy and drugstore chain Walgreen Co.’s app ranked top for Hispanic app use propensity with 110% more likely visits than non-Hispanics, followed by shopping rewards app Ibotta (87% increase) and Inc. (up 42%). Walgreens is No. 31 in the Mobile 500 and is No. 2.

U.S. Hispanic households in 2013 will spend an estimated $183.8 billion on non-essential products and services, up 11.9% from $164.2 billion in 2012, according to Experian. Hispanics control 10.2% of all discretionary spending in the U.S., but 15.6% in the West and 11.5% in the South.


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