Verizon partners with JLo's Viva Movil to target Latinos

Verizon Wireless announces a partnership with a new mobile brand started by actress and singer Jennifer Lopez that will be geared toward Latino customers.

Jennifer Lopez on Viva Movil and Verizon Wireless
Jennifer Lopez talks up Viva Movil at Verizon Wireless event at CTIA 2013. Kent German/CNET

LAS VEGAS -- Verizon Wireless is teaming up with actress and singer Jennifer Lopez to better address the growing Hispanic market.

On Wednesday the company announced a partnership with Viva Movil, a new brand created by Lopez to capitalize on the fastest growing demographic in the U.S.

"This new company is here to revolutionize the entire mobile experience for Latinos," said Lopez. "There's no specific place for Latinos to be specifically catered to. We will continuously evolve the wireless shopping experience with Verizon Wireless's guidance and support."

Lopez, who will serve as chief creative officer for Viva Movil, emphasized the need for a mobile brand that addresses Latinos who may be immigrants, but are also American citizens. She said this demographic shops differently.

The new company will allow people to shop for service, phones, and accessories online, on social networks like Facebook, and in stores. Lopez said that the company will launch its first store in New York City on June 15, and will open 15 stores in total this year in several other cities including in Miami and Los Angeles.

Lopez emphasized that the in-store shopping experience would be different than it is at other carrier's wireless stores. There will be a play area for children and there will be lots of devices for people to test out before they buy.

Jennifer Lopez offers details at the CTIA 2013 show on her new mobile brand for Latinos, Viva Movil. CNET/Marguerite Reardon

Verizon Wireless has been targeting the Hispanic market for many years. And in 2010 the company's CEO declared this market as a key strategic growth platform. Since then the company has been working to bring its Hispanic marketing strategy to the next level.

It's easy to see why Verizon is interested in this market. Hispanics are already considered the largest minority group in the U.S., and their numbers continue to grow. Today more than 50.5 million people describe themselves as being from Hispanic descent in the U.S. The Hispanic population grew by 43 percent between 2000 and 2010. That's four times faster than the nation's 9.7 percent growth rate. By 2050, Hispanics are expected to account for 30 percent of the U.S. population.

And as this demographic grows, so does its purchasing power. By 2015 the Hispanic population in the U.S. is expected to account for $1.5 trillion in retail sales. Small businesses run by Hispanics are also growing at a rapid rate, outpacing growth and development of the entire U.S. population as a whole.

In addition to becoming a large and important market, Hispanics are a particularly important demographic for wireless and technology companies since various market research indicates that Hispanics tend to adopt new technologies faster than the population as a whole. When it comes to mobile technology, this group leads the way in terms of adoption and time spent online via mobile devices.

But even with all this growth and potential, the market has been largely ignored. Marketing campaigns haven't catered to the needs of the specific needs of the population.

But that seems to be changing as businesses of all sizes start to address this market. For example, CNET's parent company CBS Interactive recently announced its own effort to address the Hispanic market with CNET Espanol, a Spanish-language service offering tech news and reviews for Latino consumers. The new service will launch this fall and it will be staffed with full-time writers who will be translating CNET content. It will also include Spanish speaking Web personalities and reporters producing reviews and video content.

 

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