A Nation in the Cloud: The Impact of the Puerto Rican Transnationals and Diasporas on US Markets

A new cultural nation has been born with the digital era made of Puerto Ricans who reside outside the Island. A nation is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as  "a large body of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular state or territory". Nowadays this definition applies to the group of Puerto Ricans who keep their heritage, language and culture residing outside the Island.  This phenomenon started with the first diaspora (migratory movement) of Puerto Ricans to the mainland in the 1940’ and 50s. However, back them we could not define this group as a nation since they were scattered through the United States. Today the Oxford definition applies since this group has found a "state" or "territory" were everybody is connected. This is the "cloud". Thanks to the technology and the Internet, Puerto Ricans can share their lives in a virtual and real way.  Marketing wise this connectivity represents a great opportunity to reach this group through technology and emotions. Puerto Ricans in the mainland represent more than 5 million people (according to the Pew Research Center) or about 10 percent of the total U.S. Hispanic Market, being the second largest Hispanic group after the Mexicans. In addition, they represent a profitable segment reporting higher median annual personal earnings than other Hispanics, according to the Pew Research Center. 

This all started in the 1940’s when a big migratory movement of Puerto Ricans went to New York, Chicago and even to Hawaii looking for job opportunities. But back then,  this group had no resources to get connected with their relatives and friends. However, they preserved their identity, passing it to a third generation of Puerto Ricans living in U.S.  As a result there are about 3.5 million Puerto Ricans born on the Mainland that culturally define themselves as their parents and grandparents who were born on the Island.  In addition, a second diaspora has emerged since 2006 when an economic recession hit the Island. Now there are 1.5 million Puerto Ricans that were born on the Island living in U.S.  

This recent diaspora also has found a way to get connected without loosing the bonds with their loved ones.  The connectivity comes from the Internet access trough their mobile phones, computers and social media.  In fact, Puerto Ricans on the Island have over 1.2 million Facebook accounts to get connected with their friends and relatives all over the world.  In addition, this second diaspora has kept its mobility due to the proliferation of low cost airlines servicing the Island, becoming trans-nationals. These trans-nationals represent the second largest visiting group to Puerto Rico with 27.7% of total “tourists” according to The Puerto Rico Tourism Department.  And here is where the opportunity arises… this connectivity and mobility has given Puerto Rico main media vehicles a way to reach over 5 million Puerto Ricans outside the Island through their Facebook pages, websites and Cable TV.  Moreover, co-marketing is possible because both groups-Islanders as well as Mainland residents- have been raised consuming national brands since Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory with leading U.S. companies servicing the Island.

Now is possible to reach this niche within the U.S. Hispanic Market through key Puerto Rican vehicles such as nuevodia.com with 2 million unique monthly visitors from U.S. (Puerto Rico’s main newspaper), Wapa América through Cable TV with 5.5 million subscribers in the Mainland (Puerto Rico’s leading TV Channel) and main radio stations through live streaming. Production wise there is also an opportunity with a new tax incentive offered by the government of Puerto Rico to stimulate commercial production on the Island for outside markets. This includes a 40% tax credit on all payments to Puerto Rico residents with starting production budgets of $100,000.

Therefore, A Nation in the Cloud is a reality for over 5 million Puerto Ricans who live in the mainland and are willing to connect with sources that enrich their cultural knowledge and identity. 

Lopito, Ileana & Howie, Inc. has over 42 year of experience specializing on the Puerto Rican and Hispanic consumer.