Nielsen Finds the New Digital American Family Anchored by Latinos

Pinback, circa 1960

Image via Wikipedia

Microsoft recently launched a campaign entitled “It’s a great time to be a family,” but perhaps they should have read a new study from The Nielsen Company before they cast the accompanying TV spots. The New Digital American Family: Understanding family dynamics, media and purchasing behavior trends has five “take-aways” listed at the top of the report. Two of those point to the inevitable fact that, not only is the Digital American Family no longer white, but Hispanics are the group who “remain the anchor for an increasingly multi-cultural society.” According to Nielsen, Hispanics are the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States with 50 million Hispanics calling the U.S. home, and “their cohort is increasing 10 times faster than the rest of the non-white population.”

Ward and June Cleaver have left the building. The white, two-parent, “Leave It to Beaver” family unit of the 1950s has evolved into a multi-layered, multi-cultural construct dominated by older, childless households. Marketing budgets need to recalibrate to reflect the very different composition of the New Digital American Family.

“Yoo hoo! Casting…”

Not only is a white family not the way to go when speaking to the Digital American, but maybe marketers should reconsider using a family at all.

Marriage is so 20th century! In 1960, 72 percent of the adult population was married. By 2008, that number plummeted to 52 percent. The college-educated have the highest marriage rates; those with a high school education or less, the lowest rates.

High-income households also have the greatest use of internet in the home and while Latinos spend as much time online at home when internet is available, only 62% of Latino households have internet compared to the 77% of connected households in the U.S as a whole. This means, of course, that mobile technology is still the best way to reach more Digitinos. For example, while only 11% of Hispanic households bank online, Nielsen says, 30% of them conduct banking transactions on their mobile phones.

Most importantly when considering how to reach the Digitino, Neilsen finds that there are two myths holding marketers back:

  • Myth: I can reach Hispanics through my general market campaigns
  • Myth: Hispanics are late technology adopters, so I don’t need to use online and mobile in my campaigns

While it may be a great time to be a family, those marketers looking to speak to American families need to reassess what the American Digital consumer landscape looks like today. Catch-all campaigns like Microsoft’s are probably not the way to go.