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Chicago (April 26, 2011) – The Internet is how many Americans get their news and weather, or interact with friends and loved ones – and Hispanics are no different. While using a home computer is the most common method of accessing the Internet among Hispanics, it seems that the cell phone is rapidly gaining popularity. According to latest research from Mintel, a quarter (25%) of online Hispanics who often or occasionally access the Internet through a cell phone use it as their primary device for connecting to the Internet.

Hispanic women are leading this trend, 30% of online Latinas report that their cell phone is the primary device used, while one in five online Hispanic men say the cell phone is their primary device for connecting online. Meanwhile, 38% of Hispanics who often or occasionally use their cell to access the Internet use it to check activity on social networking sites.

“For many years, a ‘digital divide’ has been seen between Hispanics and the total US online population. Broadband access lags that of other multicultural groups, largely due to a lack of home internet access among lower-income, Spanish-dominant Hispanics,”says Leylha Ahuile, senior multicultural analyst at Mintel. “But that’s no longer the case – that divide is rapidly being shattered by smartphone usage. “

Staying connected with loved ones – near and far

Whether connecting to the Internet from a home computer or cell phone, Hispanics often use their online time to stay in touch with loved ones across the globe. Thirty-three percent of online Hispanics use the Internet to stay connected with family and friends outside the US, while over a quarter (27%) use it to read news about their home country.

“The internet has become an important connector between family and friends for Hispanics of all age groups,” adds Leylha Ahuile. ” it’s vital for news and information from the US and the nation of heritage for many Hispanics. Additionally, video conferencing services – such as Skype – are used more by Hispanics aged 45-54 than among those in younger age groups. “