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U.S. Hispanics Are Rapidly Embracing
the Internet, According to a Cyberstudy

U.S. Hispanics are relatively new to the Internet yet they recognize the value it brings to their family and are quickly making its tools and features part of their daily lives. In addition, Hispanics are outpacing the general online market in their use of some of the most advanced features of the Internet according to the second annual America Online/RoperASW U.S. Hispanic Cyberstudy.

The study also shows that 14 million U.S. Hispanics are online.

According to the survey, which was conducted among at-home Internet users, 20% of these Hispanics have been online at home less than six months, compared with just 6% of the general at-home online population. Forty-two percent of Hispanic online consumers have had an Internet connection at home for less than two years, compared with just 15% of the general at home online population.

Nevertheless, online Hispanic consumers have quickly made the Internet part of their everyday lives, and are outpacing the rest of the at-home online population when it comes to using some of the Internet's more cutting edge features, the survey results show. For example, they use the Internet far more frequently than the general online population to listen to music (54% vs. 30% do so regularly or occasionally), buy a car (6% vs. 2% bought online in the past three years), and communicate via instant messaging (64% vs. 48% do so regularly or occasionally). And Hispanic online consumers have rapidly adopted advanced wireless features into their lives. For example, a third of online Hispanic cell phone users (34%) use cell phones for instant messaging, compared with just 9% of those in the general online population.

"With 14 million Hispanics online today, our second annual survey reveals this community is showing a real passion for the power and reach of the Internet and understanding how it can empower Latinos that are getting connected," said Peter Blacker, Vice President International & US Hispanic, AOL(R) Business Solutions.

An Empowerment Tool for the Hispanic Family

U.S. Hispanics with online access at home also see the Internet as a powerful tool that can help improve the education and career prospects of their children, help them keep in touch with family and friends living abroad and make them better informed consumers. For example, more than three in four online Hispanics with children who go online (79%), say that the Internet has had a positive effect on the skills their children will need for a successful career. 72% say that the Internet has improved the ability of their children to get into college. Nearly two-thirds of all Hispanic online consumers (63%) consider the Internet the best information source to start learning about products and services they want to buy, and more than half (59%) say it's the best place to learn about available brands. In addition, eight in ten online Hispanics (80%) use the Internet regularly or occasionally to communicate with friends and family.

Language Remains a Barrier

The survey also found that language remains a significant barrier to online use among Hispanics who do not have Internet access at home. Nearly three in four offline Hispanics who speak at least some Spanish (71%), say online Spanish content is important. More than half of all offline Hispanics (56%) cite lack of Spanish content as a reason for not going online at home.

Almost half of online Hispanic consumers who speak at least some Spanish (45%) also wish that more Web advertising were in Spanish, the survey found. One in three (33%)says they pay more attention to advertisements when they are in Spanish. And nearly one in four (23%) say that advertising in Spanish makes them more likely to buy a given product (versus only 10% who say it makes them less likely to buy).

"This year's study is among the first to take an in-depth look at the issue of language and the Internet in the American marketplace," said W. Bradford Fay, Managing Director, RoperASW. "It is clear that U.S. Hispanics see significant value in the Internet as a way to get information in their preferred language."

Online Ad Spend Could Grow By 30 Percent In 2005

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