Internet among Latins grows in popularity, says StarMedia survey

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MIAMI--The Internet is increasingly displacing other media oractivities, according to the second annual survey conducted by Latin American Internet company Starmedia.

Time spent surfing the net has led to 63% of Internet users spending less time watching TV, compared with 40% a year ago; 50% of users spending less time reading magazines and 49% spending less time talking on the phone.

The survey, which included more than 22,500 participants, was conducted in respondents' choice of English, Spanish and Portuguese, over a four-week period from December 1999 to January 2000 by the Laredo Group. Users answered questions pertaining to demographics, Internet usage, media consumption, online shopping behavior, psychographics andlanguage preferences.

One of the top five online activities in this year's survey was downloading music -- which wasn't even mentioned a year ago, according to Adriana Kampfner, senior VP-global sales and strategy, StarMedia Network.

The survey also revealed that 42% of respondents made an online purchase during the past 12 months, up from 29% in 1998, while 77% indicated they are likely to make a purchase over the Internet during the next year.

Nearly all StarMedia respodent households -- 92% -- had one or more credit cards. StarMedia said they indicated a high level of interest in affinity programs, Internet banking and buying and selling at online auctions.

The study also indicated a strong preference for local content. U.S.Hispanics in particular expressed a strong preference for Spanish-language content and advertising, StarMedia said.

The survey found that, on average, survey respondents spend 10.4 hours online per week, up from 8.2 hours in 1998. U.S. Hispanics, which account for 10% of StarMedia's user base but just 2% of survey participants, were found to spend even more time online -- 11.7 hours per week.

Overall, StarMedia users said they use the Internet an average of 5.6 days per week, and 80% are able to access the Internet from home.

In terms of non-computer access, 13% said they have access to the Web via a mobile device, and 65% expressed interest in using one for Internet usage. Ten percent said they have access to the Internet via a TV and 67% are interested in using this platform.

Copyright April 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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