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Whites trail Hispanics, blacks in adopting mobile devices

Hispanics continue to outpace whites when it comes to the adoption of mobile technology.

Marketing firm eMarketer reported this week that Hispanics are early adopters of both smartphones and tablet computers, and are more likely than whites to use mobile devices to access the Internet.

"The high adoption rates for smartphones and tablets among Hispanics are likely due to the fact that they are on average a young group, and more likely to use mobile devices instead of landlines," according to the firm's 2011 research.

Smartphone penetration rates are more than 50 percent among Hispanics, which is slightly higher than the nearly 47 percent that eMarketer previously had estimated.

Meanwhile, 19 percent of Hispanics own tablets - also higher than eMarketer's previous estimate of 12 percent.

This could mean big profits for mobile companies.

In 2012, Hispanics are expected to spend $17.6 billion on mobile technology devices, a 30 percent increase from last year. They also will spend more than $500 million on mobile applications by the end of the year.

"All of that activity will add up to a sizable pile of cash for device retailers and app stores in 2012," eMarketer said.

"Smartphones were at the top of the list of new mobile devices respondents said they planned to buy over the next six months. [Others] said they planned to purchase a tablet."

Gaming, searches and email are the top activities performed on tablets.

Hispanics purchased mobile app games in high numbers, but they were less likely to use tablets for social networking, the No. 4 activity among Hispanics, compared to the No. 2 activity for all tablet users. Facebook, Twitter and MySpace were the mostly used social networks on tablets.

This isn't the first time Hispanics have been reported to lead the way in technology adoption.

In fact, Hispanics and other minorities are embracing cellphones and mobile technology faster than white counterparts.

In a Pew Internet study from 2010, Hispanics and blacks had a higher cellphone ownership rate [-] 87 percent [-] than whites, at 80 percent.

Blacks also were more likely than the average adult to access the Internet from a laptop or mobile phone, 64 percent to 59 percent.

Twitter has noticed the same trend. According to a Pew study from 2011, blacks and Hispanics join Twitter at higher rates than whites.

Twenty-five percent of blacks were on Twitter in 2011, followed by 19 percent of Hispanics. Only 9 percent of whites were on Twitter.

 

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