The number of Hispanic people using the Internet skyrocketed last year, growing at nearly four times the rate of the rest of the American population.
That is the conclusion of a study released Thursday by comScore, Inc., a leader in measuring the digital world.
The Hispanic online population reached a record 20.3 million visitors in February 2009, representing 11 percent of the total U.S. online market, according to the study.
The total amount of time spent online by Hispanics increased 6.9 percent in 2009, or nearly 3.9 times faster than the total U.S. online population. The total pages consumed grew 6 percent, or 3.6 times faster than the total U.S. population.
However, evidence suggests Hispanics on the whole are spending less time online than other users. Although they represent 11 percent of the total U.S. online audience, Hispanics account for just 9 percent of total time spent online.
This might have something to do with how the most frequent users seem to be teens.
Eighteen percent of the visits from Hispanics went to sites categorized by the researchers as "community -- teens." This was followed by Gaming Information at 13 percent. Other entertainment- and leisure-related categories were heavily represented on the list, including Radio (13 percent), Multimedia (12 percent), Discussion/Chat (11 percent), Instant Messengers (11 percent) and Music (11 percent).
"It's well known that the Hispanic market is a growing and increasingly important segment to advertisers and marketers," said Jack Flanagan, executive vice president of comScore Media Metrix, in a statement.
"Though U.S. Hispanics are less engaged Internet users on average, they do show a predilection for communication and entertainment online -- high engagement activities that offer a potentially strong marketing opportunity."
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