Minority Groups Close ‘Digital Divide’

14 June 2001

The ‘digital divide’ between ethnic groups in the US is narrowing fast, with black and Hispanic citizens rapidly catching up with their white counterparts, according to two executives speaking at a session of the American Advertising Federation.

In the last year, internet household penetration among the black population has jumped almost 100% from 23% to 44%, revealed Scott Mills, executive vp/chief operating officer at BET.com. In comparison, around 54% of white homes are online.

Mills attributed the rapid growth of web use in African-American households to falling PC prices and greater awareness of the potential benefits of the internet in areas such as car buying.

Meanwhile, Lisa Quiroz, publisher of AOL Time Warner’s People En Espanol report, directed marketers’ attention to the growing Hispanic market, pointing to the extraordinarily youthful nature of this population – 40% are under 20 years of age – and the above-average brand loyalty of its members.

“I like to think of Hispanics today as being like the baby boomers of the 1960s,” continued Quiroz. “If you think of the tremendous influence that baby boomers had not just on the economy but on politics and on society and culture in general, this is the kind of influence that we’re anticipating the Hispanic population will have.”

News source: Advertising Age - Daily Deadline