Economic Policy


The Use of Digital Tools by Black and Latino Businesses

New Joint Center Survey: The Use of Digital Tools by Black and Latino Businesses As we become increasingly reliant upon our devices — from finding the nearest gas station with our navigation systems to paying for our coffee with a swipe of our phones, businesses of color need to do an internal check and ask themselves whether they are as easy to find and patronize as the other businesses we patronize in our daily lives?

Successful businesses must constantly innovate and reinvent themselves to thrive in the new economy. Many businesses today are using mobile-friendly websites, social media, and apps to optimize digital visibility and boost brand awareness. Savvy businesses are also using innovations like data analytics and tracking software to gain insights that help to increase their market shares.

Where are Black and Latino businesses in the digital world? Later this year, we will release a comprehensive report on Black and Latino businesses and the Internet Economy. This report will provide an extensive overview of the current landscape for Black and Latino businesses, as well as the landscape of available digital tools that are helping businesses to grow from sole proprietors to job creators. Most importantly, our report will examine how Black and Latino entrepreneurs can capitalize on technological advancements to not only stay competitive in the new economy, but to leapfrog ahead.

First we needed an understanding of how Black and Latino businesses are currently using digital technology, so we partnered with the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. and U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to survey their members in September and October of 2017. Our data brief, The Use of Digital Tools by Black and Latino Businesses , aggregates the most pressing results from this survey.

Key Findings:
Digital Visibility: An overwhelming majority of survey respondents (90% of Black businesses and 95% of Latino businesses) stated that they have websites for their businesses. 73% of Black and 78% of Latino business websites are mobile-friendly. A majority of Black and Latino businesses also engage social media platforms. Percentages begin to decrease for mobile-friendly websites, and they significantly decrease for use of digital tools to track customer interactions with their websites.

Digital Marketplace Presence: Approximately 20% of Black and Latino businesses surveyed have online sales or transactions that make up over 50% of their revenues.

Apps: 17% of Black and 25% of Latino businesses surveyed currently have their own apps. Of those businesses that reported not having an app, over a quarter indicated that they were unfamiliar with the process, and nearly a quarter stated that they lacked the technical support to develop an app.

Digital Business Tools: 76% of Black and 78% of Latino businesses surveyed bank online. A majority of Black and Latino business owners also report using online platforms for accounting. Less than half of Black and Latino business owners reported using digital tools for invoicing, payment processing, or data analytics.
Cybersecurity: 57% of Black and 29% of Latino business owners surveyed who suffered cyberattacks reported that they experienced a loss of data resulting from the attack(s).

Read our full 10-page data brief here.