The number of Spanish Speaking Internet Users has grown 619.3 % in the last eight years (2000-2008). The Internet is a Global Village with no physical frontiers; it is divided only by the different languages spoken in each country or region. There are studies and researches that show that people speaking the same language show an inclination to form their own online community no matter what country they happen to live in.
In the US, English is the leading language of preference for the Internet among all Hispanic age groups as over half of all Hispanics (55%) said that their language preference for the Internet is English. Yet, nearly forty-percent (39%) of Hispanics age 18-34 prefer Spanish language Internet sites, showing that a good proportion of younger Hispanics are closely tied to Spanish while online. Forty-two percent (42%) of Hispanic females prefer Spanish when surfing the web compared to just twenty nine percent (29%) of Hispanic men. For businesses and online marketers that are serious about reaching the entire spectrum of the US Hispanic market, it’s becoming almost imperative to have all or some of their Web content available in Spanish.
In addition to reaching US Hispanics that consume Spanish-language sites/pages, it also opens the door to future expansion into Central and South America as well as Spain (see Figure below for a breakdown of Hispanic sub-segments).
There are 130,775,144 Spanish speaking people using the Internet, this represents 8.2 % of all the Internet users in the world. This valuable market cannot be ignored. Even if entire website translation is not feasible, creating an entry page in Spanish that will show up in search engines can offer a significant advantage over online retail companies that make no effort to accommodate Spanish speakers. As many US Hispanics do speak English, they may stumble upon a site while searching in their preferred Spanish, but if they like what they see they will place an order in English anyway. This means that a Spanish entry page is a fast and inexpensive way to get your foot in the door with the Spanish speaking market while working out a long-term strategy.
Search results are geo-targeted and it’s becoming easier for your Spanish Web content to reach its intended audience since we know that Google determines the location and/or language of a user by Internet Protocol (IP) address, Internet domain, query parsing, and language preference detection. The Internet is indeed becoming a Global Village with no physical frontiers. The question is will you leverage on these Web tools to broaden your reach of internet Hispanic consumers that can give your company a big boost or will you pass up this opportunity?