Moms, Hispanics Increasing Web Use

Two highly sought-after demographics — mothers and Hispanics/Latinos — are becoming more numerous online, according to research from America Online’s Digital Marketing Services unit and comScore Networks.

According to America Online DMS, a unit of AOL Time Warner , mothers who use the Internet now spend up to 16 hours and 52 minutes per week online. This means they spend more time online than teens, who log about 12 hours and 17 minutes.

That finding flies in the face of conventional wisdom, which has long had it that the Internet is best suited for — and most used by — teenagers.

AOL, which surveyed more than 8,000 Internet-using American mothers, found that mothers with the least time tend to go online more. Single mothers and those with three or more children each average about 20 hours per week — nearly 20 percent more the overall average.

About 58 percent of U.S. mothers said they go online daily for communications, while an additional 21 percent do so about once every two days.

“Whether they’re at home or in the workplace, mothers are busier than ever and are finding online services like AOL an incredibly useful way to save time and stay connected,” said AOL Online Advisor Regina Lewis. “At its heart, the online medium is about two things — convenience and communication — that are central to moms’ daily lives. It’s no wonder moms are taking their place as the online experts.”

According to AOL, moms go online most often to communicate (97 percent), for news (93 percent) and local shopping and entertainment information (90 percent). Eighty-eight percent of women also said they sought health information online, while 83 percent said they researched products and services using the Internet. Eighty percent also said they searched for discounts or coupons using the Web.

Nationally, Charleston, S.C., Tampa, Fla. and Nashville, Tenn. rank as the top cities for “Wired Moms,” in which Internet-using mothers spend the most time online.

Meanwhile, comScore Networks reported that Hispanics have become the fastest-growing segment of the online population.

According to research based on its own panel of 1.5 million Internet users, comScore charted a 19 percent growth in the U.S. Hispanic Internet population from last year — more than three times the growth among non-Hispanic Internet users.

As a result, U.S. Hispanics now comprise 11 percent of the total U.S. online population, up from 9.9 percent in the prior year.

comScore also found that while fewer U.S. Hispanic Internet users bought online during a given month — with 8 percent making a purchase, versus 10 percent of non-Hispanic Web users — Hispanic buyers spent 7 percent, or $15, more than the average non-Hispanic e-commerce shopper.

Both AOL and comScore’s findings seem to represent significant opportunities for online marketers. For one thing, mothers are considered important advertising targets — especially for consumer packaged goods firms — since research has shown that they make most of the purchasing decisions for the household.

Meanwhile, ethnic marketing — which is beginning to see something of a renaissance offline, with major advertisers converting large chunks of their budgets to multicultural, multilingual efforts — is also seen by many as a largely untapped channel for reaching consumers online.

In addition to the fact that minority ethnic groups tend to react positively to brands that use culturally-sensitive creative, recent studies — from media sellers such as Interep — also indicate that efforts to market to “Generation Y” could benefit from multi-cultural messaging, owing to the group’s diversity.

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