Hispanic consumers are just as hooked on their smartphones and tablets as any other American — but they tend to use their mobile devices more frequently to stream and download video than the rest of the U.S. population.

A new study from PwC examines how this fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population uses mobile technology. It paid particularly close attention to how Hispanics consume media, make purchases and gather information about health care.

Matt Lieberman, director in PwC’s entertainment and media practice, said one of the most striking findings was the extent to which Hispanics turn to their smartphones and tablets for entertainment.

Forty-three percent of Hispanics stream video on their smartphones and tablets, compared with 25 percent of the general U.S. population, Lieberman said. This group is more than twice as likely to download videos as the overall population: 37 percent for Latino users versus 17 percent for the overall population, he said.

“The Hispanic population are generally larger consumers of entertainment, and that trickles down to mobile,” Lieberman said. “But the variance between the general population and the Hispanic population did surprise us.”

PwC’s findings are derived from an online survey of 1,000 people, with respondents evenly split between Hispanics and non-Hispanics. It supplemented the results with focus groups and an online social media listening campaign.

Some Hispanics who participated in focus groups offered a variety of explanations for their mobile viewing habits. Some said Interent video offered an inexpensive alternative to cable or satellite TV subscriptions. Others said it afforded access to Spanish-language programs that were otherwise unavailable through pay-TV providers.

Lieberman said the findings point to the need for more culturally relevant programming in the U.S., with shows in English and Spanish.

The TV networks have been attempting to capitalize on this increasingly affluent segment of the audience, with Fox launching its Spanish-language network MundoFox and ABC News striking a partnership with Spanish-language TV network Univision to introduce Fusion, a 24-hour English language news network with a Latin focus.

PwC found U.S. Hispanics have adopted mobile wallets more eagerly than the overall population. Some 65 percent use their portable devices to check their account balances, pay bills or make transactions. These consumers also download electronic coupons more frequently than the U.S. population at large, and use electronic credit or debit cards stored on their phones.

Both Hispanic and non-Hispanic consumers share concerns about privacy and security — especially when it comes to using a mobile device as a credit card. Trust is most critical: Before users will part with personal information, most consumers (75 percent) say they want to know who the information will be used by. A top consideration for sharing personal details is the ability to control what information is provided.

Some Hispanic consumers said they don’t share any personal information, regardless of the benefits, for fear that it could somehow be used against them.

“I can’t tell you how many times the word ‘trust’ came out of each participant’s mouth,” Lieberman said. “Trust is critical to engendering loyalty for them. In order for them to have trust, there has to be complete transparency. That’s difficult when it comes to U.S. companies.”



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