Why Mobile Marketing is Failing the Hispanic Demographic

Mobile PhoneDid you know that the Latin@ demographic is the most mobile of any in the United States? While this may be true, app developers are failing to cater to this demographic. Let’s take a closer look at just what they’re doing wrong – and how marketing can do better.

The Latin@ Market is on the “Upscale Swing”

The facts are there: the Hispanic and Latin@ demographic is becoming a more and more influential force on the American economy. And if retailers aren’t paying attention to this, Luis Alvarado, REVOLVIS strategist and expert on issues relating to the demographic, they’re missing out. The discussion, in particular, is one about the “Upscale Hispanics”: a demographic that is predicted to comprise 40% of the spending power for the entire demographic. And when it comes to smartphone use, members of the Hispanic demographic are 28% more likely to own a smartphone than everyone else.

Spanish or No Spanish? Not Quite a Toss-Up

So for a demographic that is both increasing its purchasing power and also its use of smartphones, why the lack of mobile support? In such a growing bicultural market, it’s pretty impressive that research has shown that in one study, out of over 1,000 mobile apps surveyed, only 28% were available in Spanish. Brands like Coca Cola, McDonald’s, Kraft, and Visa have no Spanish translations for their apps.

But which apps are doing it right? Let’s break it down a little further. Some of the top-selling brands in the country are translating their apps not only into Spanish but also into multiple other languages. Canon, Google, and Samsung have cornered the Spanish-speaking app market, with between 64 to 100% of apps with alternate language versions, depending on brand.

It’s true that not every Latin@ speaks Spanish, and nor do they want to. But the stats can’t be ignored. And the issue about mobility in particular is that apps are not just “made in America” – they’re designed to be used wherever users are mobile. In a global economy with so much transience in our country alone, many researchers believe that mobility needs to take a closer look at its language accessibility.

Does your brand have an app? Have you considered translating its content?

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Tree is a somewhat nomadic graduate student pursuing an MFA in Poetry and Literary Translation from Drew University. A self-identified “diplobrat,” she spent over 16 years living as an expat in countries like Guatemala, Bolivia, and Tanzania. Tree graduated from Smith College in 2012 with a degree in Spanish Language and Literature, a minor in Studio Art, and a concentration in Landscape Studies. In between writing poetry for school and content for CEM, she dabbles in goat herding and freelancing. Other interests include reading, watercolor painting, gardening, and traveling.

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