Lake Forest-based Spectrem Group, which advises wealthy people on investments, decided to survey three of its largest segments of minorities to learn more about their usage of social media and mobile technology.
The survey report, called "The Ethnic Segmentation Series, Using Social Media and Mobile Technology in Financial Decisions," found that more African Americans were likely to use new technology and social networking sites to get investment information, compared to Hispanics and Asians, said George H. Walper Jr., president of Spectrem Group.
"This is one group that tends to be a bigger user to get its information and our advisers should be more attuned to that," Walper said.
Something that didn't surprise him was how the Asian respondents rarely provided personal information online.
"They have a concern about privacy issues," he said.
The Asian respondents still retain some traditional values and always defer to their older generation. That's found even in the third generation in the United States, he said.
While most financial surveys look at age, gender, geography and employment, Spectrem wanted to focus on African Americans, Hispanics and Asians, especially those who have about $100,000 or more in savings, how they access their financial advisers, and their preferred ways of investing. The data for the survey was gathered from 140 African Americans, 117 Hispanics and 179 Asians between March and May.
Some findings include:
• Hispanic investors are more active on Twitter than other ethnicities or the general population of investors.
• About one quarter of African-American and Hispanic investors want to be able to communicate with their adviser via text.
• Facebook is the most commonly used social media platform with two-thirds of African Americans using Facebook and more than half of them using LinkedIn. About 35 percent of Asian investors used Facebook for observation only.
• African Americans, followed by Hispanics, are the most interested in communicating with their advisers using video chat.
• Ethnic segments are more likely to own smartphones than the general affluent population with 80 percent of African Americans owning smartphones and 84 percent of Hispanics owning smartphones.
As the usage of social media and new technology increases, financial advisers will need to focus on the best ways to communicate information to their clients. If that means increasing their usage of FaceTime or Skype, then advisers will need to keep up, said Walper.
"Five years from now everyone will be using these platforms, not just any particular groups," he said.
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