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Mobile Usage Surges Among U.S. Hispanics

NEW YORK: Mobile device usage is increasing at a faster rate among Hispanics than it is among the total U.S. population, according to Scarborough Research. The percentage of U.S. Hispanic adults who use a cell phone increased 26 percent over the last five years, compared to 18 percent for all U.S. adults. Cell usage among Hispanics is on par with the overall population, however, with 82 percent using a cell versus 84 percent over all.

Scarborough said Hispanics are more likely than other cell users to text message. Sixty-four percent of Hispanics who use a wireless phone text message, versus 56 percent of all cellular users. This group is also more likely than other cell users to use their wireless device to:

-- Download music: 22 percent of Hispanic cellular users download or listen to music via their wireless device, versus 15 percent of all wireless users.

-- Play games: 19 percent of Hispanic cellular users play games on their wireless device, versus 15 percent of all wireless users.

-- Access social networking: 12 percent of Hispanic cellular users social network via their wireless device, versus 10 percent of all wireless users.

Additionally, the smartphone growth rate among Hispanics is outpacing that of the total U.S. population. Nineteen percent of Hispanic adults currently live in a household with one or more smartphones--such as Blackberries or iPhones--versus five percent in 2005. Twenty-three percent of the general population currently has a smartphone in their household, up from nine percent in 2007.

Smartphone adoption varies geographically, according to Scarborough. For example, 96 percent of Hispanic adults in Atlanta use a wireless phone, versus 68 percent of those in Colorado Springs, Colo., said Scarborough’s Alisa Joseph.

“So, clearly, understanding distinctions at the local level better informs strategy,” she said.

The analysis is derived from Scarborough’s Hispanic Multi-Market Study, which compiles information on lifestyles, technology adoption, demographics and media usage among adults age 18-plus in 34 of the largest Hispanic markets in the United States.