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Local Stores Witness the Embracement of Mobile Phones by Hispanics

Demand for mobile phones, their repair services and other associated products’ appears to be on the rise in South Gate.

Technology has been heading towards the mobile form for quite some time. People are using mobile phones not just for calls but in all sorts of ways. More usage has allowed local cellphone related businesses to have a healthy supply of customers despite the lagging economy. Particularly in cities that are predominantly Hispanic, such as South Gate, because of their documented increasing use of mobile phones.

This is a reality that has led to an increase in business for some local establishments.

“Sales are up,” said Ricardo Zatarain, 38, owner of in South Gate, who almost doubled the average amount of mobile phones he sold per month in 2011, when compared to 2010. “The situation is improving.”

According to Nielsen, a market research firm, Hispanics send 941 texts a month on average, the most out of any ethnic group, and will make around 13 calls a day, which is 40 percent more than whites.

Such a high usage has allowed local retailers to have healthy sales of not just phones, but with any product that is associated to them.

“Most of my income comes from accessories,” said Jonathan Figueroa, owner of in South Gate, which he bought in February of last year. Purchases of chargers, cases and covers are always high. “Accessory sales are always great.”

Repair services for a particular smart phone are also up for Sixthstar Computers Cyber Café on Tweedy Boulevard, an internet café and computer repair shop, which two years ago decided to diversify its repair services to Iphones.

“It has boomed since I started two years ago,” Juan Desales, 25, Iphone technician at Sixthstar, who said the number of units he repaired in 2011 increased by about 50 percent in comparison to 2010. “People are beginning to rely on their phones for more things.”

Hispanics appear to be using their mobile phones as a substitute for other existing technologies. This is a factor that local mobile phone sellers credit for their current success.

“Latinos are cutting off their land lines, and are instead using mobile phones,” said Zatarain. “Because it is cheaper.”

In fact, a 2010 study by Encuesta, a research firm, found that Hispanics were moving away from their landlines, with 28 percent of Hispanic adults having only a mobile phone line in their household, a percentage that is higher then the 19 percent of non-white Hispanics who also shared this trait.

The cheaper cost of a mobile phone, coupled with the recent technological advances in them, were also cited as another reason as to why Hispanics appear to be using less of their personal computers.

“The processing power of new mobile phones is ridiculous,” said Figueroa. “Smart phones are pretty much small computers.”

In fact, although Hispanics are , many are using their phones to access it.

According to a 2010 study by Pew Hispanic Center, 40 percent of Hispanics who own a cellphone will access the Internet through it, as opposed to only 34 percent of non-Hispanic whites.

For Zatarain, who  deals with both the selling of computers and mobile phones, this trend is a teaser of things to come.

“Mobile phones will replace the personal computer in the future,” predicted Zatarian. “I think businesses will always use computers…but families will start to use their mobile phones as computers.” 

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Adam M. Lara April 24, 2012 at 06:09 AM
This is true, I found myself no longer needing a phone line at home now that I always have my smartphone with me. However, I wonder what the downside is of not having a phone line at home, specially regarding emergency calls?
Alejandro Lopez de Haro April 26, 2012 at 11:04 AM
Great question Adam! Thank you for your comment!

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