Recently McLaughlin & Associates partnered with Penn Schoen Berland to develop and conduct a bipartisan national online survey of 417 adult Hispanics, and the 2014 Hispanic Consumer Survey reveals a lot about Hispanic wireless phone users.
Topline results reveal 96% consider wireless to be an essential service to their lives with nearly nine in ten (86%) using a wireless device for things related to work, school or personal management. 28% have or would consider (53%) “cutting the cord” and only use a wireless. Coupled with the stat that having a wireless phone (49%) remains more important to Hispanics than having broadband Internet (27%), cable/satellite television (16%), or a home landline phone (9%), the results of this survey has huge implications for the telecom companies as well as lawmakers setting policy related to the industry.
Presently 17% of Americans are of Hispanic descent, but that figure is expected to increase to more than 30% by 2060. If the population continues along the wireless trends set out above it’s critically important to ensure there is more spectrum available for wireless consumers. In fact of those surveyed 93% have a smartphone with Internet service and 95% consider Internet service essential to their everyday lives. In fact 78% say they would be at a disadvantage without their wireless device and service for daily activities related to work, school or personal management.
Another concern raised by those participating in the survey is the steep wireless taxes they see each month on their cellular bill. Telephone and voice services are taxed at more than 17% on average. The average sales tax is only 7%. Given the necessity of mobile Internet access and the importance of it to Hispanic consumers, one can only hope Congress is paying attention come November when it must decide on whether or not to further extend the Internet Tax Freedom Act. The legislation which (a) prevents Internet access taxes at the state and local levels, (b) prevents state and localities from imposing multiple and discriminatory taxes on Internet commerce, (c) ensures only one state can tax each transaction and (d) prevents online sales from being taxed at a rate higher than in-person sales.
Without more spectrum and continued protections against unfair taxation the steady growth we’ve seen amongst Hispanic wireless users could stall. Given the buying power of Hispanic consumers, estimated to reach $1.5 trillion by the end of this year, or their potential for small business growth, up 43% since 2007, it would be shortsighted to set policy that could hamper the adoption and use of wireless services by Hispanic consumers.
If you’re interested in letting lawmakers know that the Internet Tax Freedom Act is important to our economy’s continued growth, click here.