How do Puerto Ricans behave digitally? Find out

March 26, 2021
How do Puerto Ricans behave digitally? Find out

By Juan Carlos Pedreira – Social Media Hub,Inc.

For more than a decade we have experienced rapid growth in the use of smartphones and apps, which has brought us even closer to a world filled with digital services and social media. However, not everyone has incorporated these technologies to their everyday lives.

How do Puerto Ricans behave digitally? Using January 2021 data from research firm Gaither International, here is some information that will allow you to determine on which social media or apps you’ll find the client profile you are looking for. This data will serve as the foundation to develop an effective promotion strategy for your business.

Digital apps

In broad strokes, today we can detect significant generational differences in the use of digital apps in Puerto Rico. It should not be a surprise that the leading social network on the island is Facebook (64%). It is followed by WhatsApp (59%), YouTube (51%), and Instagram (51%). It’s interesting to note that one in four Puerto Ricans (25%) does not use any mobile phone app.

When it comes to people under 18, their main social network is WhatsApp (67%), followed by YouTube (66%), Facebook (63%), and Instagram (42%). Although Instagram is very popular among young people ages 18-34, in Puerto Rico Facebook dominates (88%) vs. Instagram (50%). Within this same segment, YouTube has the highest percentage number (68%).

When we move to the segment of people between the ages of 35 to 54 years, Facebook dominates amply (77%) over Instagram (25%), and Twitter lags far behind (2%). In this adult segment, only 11% of the population indicated that they do not use any app.

The great gap between the digitally connected and disconnected in Puerto Rico occurs when we look at trends in the demographics of the population age 55+. Fifty-seven percent (57%) of the 55+ population say they do not use any app on their mobile phone. This represents an area of great challenges and opportunities for companies as they must develop solutions that appeal to this growing segment of the population.

But why isn’t this group more aggressive in terms of adopting technology? I tend to believe that it’s more a matter of having qualms or resisting to learn something new, and less a matter of not understanding how to use an app. Smartphones and apps are becoming increasingly intuitive to users. I think that what this segment needs are more interest in learning and updating their competencies. Among those who do connect (43%), Facebook is the absolute king (32%), followed by WhatsApp (29%) and YouTube (25%).


In terms of music, 56% of the population uses some Internet-based audio service. Usage has increased greatly, to the point that 49% of the population reported having enjoyed a streaming service during the past week.

What does this data imply? Well, that music and audio content services such as Spotify, Pandora, and YouTube have become an important digital alternative for most of the population and that they also provide the option to promote your business in them. However, it is not until we delve into the demographics that we see marked differences of preference for these services.

Eighty-one percent (81%) of the population segment between the ages of 18 and 34 uses some of these Internet-based music services. Seventy percent (70%) in the 35-54 age group use them, while in the 55+ group only 36% use them. This means that the 55+ segment remains strongly anchored to using traditional radio to meet their music and audio content needs.

In terms of popularity, YouTube dominates with 42%, followed by Spotify with 26%, and Pandora with 25% of the audience. Services like local internet radio, TuneIn, and others, capture less than 3% of the audience. What does this data tell us? Again, when we focus on the demographics, we see a clear preference according to age.

In the case of YouTube, preference remains somewhat similar: 40% utilization across all demographics. However, in the case of Pandora and Spotify we clearly see a difference. Users between the ages of 18 and 34 prefer Spotify (41.3%). In people ages 35 to 54, they prefer Pandora (31%) vs. Spotify (27%). The gap is even greater in the 55+ group: 21% listen to Pandora vs. Spotify (11%).

Internet TV

The most used platform is Netflix, with 75% among streaming video users. YouTube is a distant second (19%). They are followed by Disney+ (8%), Hulu (6%), and Amazon Prime Video (3%).

As we have seen, there are significant differences in preferences and usage of these networks and apps. This information should be used as the starting point when creating a digital marketing strategy. Advertising on these channels requires keeping the primary demographic in mind.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not represent any endorsement or guarantee of its accuracy. Popular, Inc. (“Popular”) or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries or related entities, are, nor will be responsible for any special, direct or indirect, incidental or consequential damages, including, but not limited to loss of earnings arising from or related to communications, articles or counseling provided by Juan Carlos Pedreira from Social Media Hub Inc. or that may arise from the information contained in this article, which was not prepared by Popular. Popular provides banking services, so it is not dedicated (directly or indirectly) in providing any type of services related to those illustrated in this article. If you require tax advice, you should seek advice from a competent professional of your choice. Popular is not, nor will be responsible in any way for the outcome of any related endeavor if you decide to voluntarily communicate with Juan Carlos Pedreira from Social Media Hub Inc.