The Technology Elite of Latin America
Part 4: Psychographic Characteristics

In Part 3, we saw how household wealth is related to technological affluence .  But we saw that household wealth is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for technological richness.  On one hand, if one has few financial resources, then one is limited in the number of technological assets that one can acquire.  On the other hand, just because one is wealthy does not mean that one has to expend those financial resources on acquiring technologies for the household.  The decision to acquire technology becomes a matter of values, attitudes and lifestyles.  For $3,000, one person may decide to purchase an advanced personal computer while another person would rather have a diamond ring.

Guatemala City, Guatemala
Guatemala City, Guatemala
(photo credit: Nitzia Thomas)

In the Los Medios y Mercados de Latinoamérica 1998 study, there is a battery of attitudinal questions.  In a previous note, we had created a set of five mutually exclusive and exhaustive groups of people on the basis of their answers to this battery.  Here is the distribution of these segments within the persons whose households are characterized as being the technology elite, compared with that in the total survey population.  The index is simply the ratio of the two percentages in that segments.  According to this table, the technology elite is loaded with 'Global Professionals', to no one's surprise.


% of 
Technology Elite
% of
Total Persons 12-64
Global Professionals 37% 21% 177
Image Seekers 23% 22% 103
Curious Cosmopolitans 19% 19% 97
Concerned Traditionalists 15% 21% 73
Comfortable Conservatives   7% 17% 39

(source: Los Medios y Mercados de Latinoamérica 1998)

In the following table, we show the answers to a select set of statements given by the technology elite compared to the total survey population.  The index is calculated as the ratio of the two percentages.  If they have the same percentages, the index is 100.  Indices that are much bigger or smaller than 100 represent strong divergence.


% Agree Mostly by Technology Elite % Agree Mostly by
Total Persons 12-64
I try to keep abreast of changes in styles and fashion 29% 24% 123
I have a lot of interests and hobbies 33% 28% 119
I like to learn about other cultures 61% 54% 113
I would pay extra for a quality brand name product 47% 42% 113
I like visiting new and strange places 41% 46% 111
I am interested in the events that take place in other countries 36% 34% 105
I like to meet a lot of new people 53% 52% 103
I will try something just because it is new 20% 20% 99
I am worried that I (or family member) will lose job or not find one 73% 75% 97
In my spare time, I would rather watch TV or read than go out with friends 35% 38% 92
I am very concerned that pollution affects people's health 68% 71% 92
I prefer to buy things that my friends would approve of 13% 15% 91
I have anxieties about how much things cost 62% 69% 90
People should respect traditional values more 58% 66% 88
American products are better 18% 20% 88
I tend to be the first among my friends to try new things 19% 21% 87
I prefer to buy products manufactured in my own country 40% 50% 81
I have little desire to travel and see the world 18% 24% 77
I feel my life is dominated by events that are out of my control 10% 14% 70
I am not up to date with today's modern technology 20% 29% 69

(source: Los Medios y Mercados de Latinoamérica 1998)

Whenever we have a long list of variables that seems to be correlated with an outcome, we have to face the possibility that these variables may be correlated with each other and therefore some of them may be redundant.  As it were, we would like to get to the essence of the matter.  Or, using Occam's Razor, we want the simplest correct explanation.

We applied a formal statistical procedure here.  The problem is set up a logistic regression, with the outcome variable being membership in the technology elite (yes/no) and the predictor variables being the annual household income and all the attitudinal variables.  Only those variables which are statistically meaningful (specifically, they have a less than 5% chance of occurring by chance alone) are retained in the final model.  Here is the summary of the model, which incorporates these predictor variables:

The picture that emerges is a person who is affluent, technologically sophisticated, fashion conscious, curious about the world and anxiety-free about their economic livelihood.


(posted by Roland Soong on 1/14/00)

(Return to Zona Latina's Home Page)