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Latinos a Diverse Population With an Appetite for Home Entertainment

7 Apr, 2005 By: Judith McCourt

One size does not fit all when it comes to the Latino demographic, which is young and diverse with growing economic clout. It is the fastest-growing demographic in the country, according to U.S. Census data. Already 40 million strong, the Hispanic population is expected to clock in at more than 60 million people in 2020, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

Language preference of Latino households varies, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, pointing to a need for entertainment product in both Spanish and English. Of the 40.4 million Latinos residing in the United States, more than half (22.4 million) are native born, according to the 2004 U.S. Census data. By 2010, U.S. second- and third-generation Hispanics will make up almost two thirds (62 percent) of the mix, according to Pew.

The longer Hispanics stay in the country, the more they prefer English. The Pew study found that almost three-quarters (72 percent) of first-generation Hispanic adults are Spanish-language dominant. Second-generation Hispanics are most likely to be bilingual (47 percent) or English-language dominant (46 percent). Third-generation Hispanics are mostly English dominant (78 percent).

The Hispanic population also is increasingly younger than the population at large. According to Pew, 11 million children (5-19 years old) are Hispanic. By 2020, one-quarter of all children (16 million) 5-19 years old will be Hispanic.

Hispanics also live in diverse locales. Although almost 80 percent of the population is concentrated in nine key states, the majority (57 percent) live in neighborhoods that are ethnically diverse, according to Pew. Since the 1990s, Latinos have been rapidly migrating to the suburbs, and the Pew study reports that more than half (54 percent) are suburbanites.

Hispanic buying power is expected to show sustained growth and be a fertile ground for home entertainment marketing. The Selig Center for Economic Growth forecasts that the buying power of Hispanic households will approach $1 trillion by 2009.

A recent study conducted by Centris/HispanicEXCEL underscores the heavy home entertainment activity in Latino households. Of the 2,000 households surveyed in January and February 2005, just less than half had console DVD players, and 20 percent had multiple DVD players. More than half of the Hispanic households surveyed reported that in the past 30 days they had purchased at least one DVD (56 percent vs. 54 percent for the overall population). When it came to renting DVDs, 44 percent said they had rented a disc in the past month — on a par with the overall population.

VHS consumption was significantly higher in Hispanic households than in the population as a whole. One-quarter of the Hispanic households said that they had bought at least one cassette in the 30 days preceding the survey (vs. 18 percent of the overall population), while 27 percent had rented VHS (vs. 23 percent of the overall population), according to Centris.

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