Women are the key factor in the buying power of the Hispanic population, integrating the Latino and American cultures into their decisions, according to a study released Thursday by Nielsen.

The study, entitled "Latina Power Shift," found that 86 percent of Latino women make the main purchasing decisions in their households, meaning that the management of the Latino community's $1.2 trillion in buying power - which will rise to $1.5 trillion by 2015 - is in their hands.

"Due to their unique place within the multigenerational family, the modern Latina is 'ambi-cultural,' that is, capable of moving from English to Spanish or vice versa, feeling just as Latino as American. The majority of these Latinas are proud of this duality," Monica Gil, Nielsen's senior vice president for public affairs and government relations, told Efe on Thursday.

"Today, 73 percent of Hispanic female high school graduates are enrolled in the university," compared with 61 percent of Hispanic men and 72 percent of non-Hispanic women, Gil said.

The Nielsen study particularly emphasizes Latinas' consumption of technology and their use of social networks.

Hispanic females are more apt to seek, share and publish information online, both in English and in Spanish, where cooking recipes constitute the No. 1 category in their searches, followed by music, health issues, beauty and show business.

Contrary to what is commonly thought, they are also big buyers of electronic items, especially smartphones.

All this signifies a real challenge for companies and brands that want to reach these purchasers who have the last word in their households, and therefore - Gil emphasized - it is important to understand the cultural duality of these women. EFE