We have seen a variety of studies that position Hispanics as early adopters of new technology, especially in the mobile space. For us (Hispanics), having the latest mobile technology is telling of social status, it’s part of “Living the American Dream,” which is the main reason many of us come to this country.

In the Hispanic culture one of the most important values is caring for and connecting with family, especially when they don’t live in the same country. It is important that we communicate with them and take care of their necessities. Unfortunately, landlines in Latin America are scarce, costly and supported by a poor infrastructure. As a result, Hispanics living in the U.S. are relying more on mobile to be connected to family and friends. According to the latest eMarketer study, 43% of Hispanics in the U.S. own a smartphone/PDA – versus 36% for non-Hispanics – and only 13% of Hispanics have a landline at home.

Hispanics not only use their cell phones to make calls, they also text, share pictures and videos, access the Internet, watch TV, download music and applications, and shop. When we look at shopping behavior, mobile is becoming an important part of the buying process. According to the 2010 Simmons National Hispanic Consumer Study, 13% of Hispanics would like to use their cell phones to purchase products in-store, which shows their desire to have a more interactive shopping experience.

Having all this data helps us to understand how the Hispanic community relates to the mobile space and evolves with new technology. So, how can retailers better engage with consumers who are always connected through their mobile phones? Hispanics are willing to accept mobile ads and promotions if they receive something in return, so there’s a huge opportunity for advertisers to reach this consumer at the point of purchase. Developing branded shopping applications and implementing mobile coupon strategies can be helpful in building brand engagement with Hispanics. Hispanic purchasing power is expected to rise to $1.5 trillion in the coming years, which means retailers need to find creative ways to engage with Hispanics through their main touch point, their mobile phones.

Carmen Torres is a Hispanic Media Supervisor at 22squared. She has more than 14 years of experience managing media plans for the US Hispanic market and Latin America. Carmen began her career at Y&R in 1997 and has worked with some of the biggest brands in America, such as Publix, Macy's, Chevron, American Airlines and Colgate-Palmolive, among others.

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