As the largest racial minority group in the United States, the influence of African-Americans on the nation’s culture is pervasive_. With a collective buying power estimated to reach $1.1 trillion by 2015, Black consumers remain at the forefront of social trends and media consumption, according to the new African-Americans: Still Vital, Still Growing 2012 Report-the second installment to The State of the African-American Consumer Report released last year, a collaboration with Nielsen and the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA).
Nielsen has identified several factors that make the African-American consumer segment so uniquely diverse. Dynamic influencing factors-such as technology, social media and online connectivity- enable the Black consumer segment to leverage its collective power and influence. This segment, with its tremendous potential, holds a wealth of opportunities for businesses and advertisers, which makes understanding the Black consumer a critical need.
Key findings on the African-American consumer include:
o African-American consumers wield buying power. In certain Nielsen Designated Market Areas (DMAs), there is a correlation between a large Black population and a large base of higher-earning Black households. The Washington, D.C. DMA, for example, is 25 percent African-American and has some of the highest African-American median household incomes in the country.
o Despite the collective aging of America, the African-American population remains young. On average, the African-American population is 14 percent younger than the American population as a whole. The median age for African-Americans is 32, and 54 percent of the Black population is under the age of 35.
o African-Americans have interest and influence in the upcoming elections. Approximately 71 percent, or 28 million, of the African-American population is of voting age. Like many other Americans, Black consumers use the internet to obtain candidate information. During the primary season, African-Americans’ sources for political information included the candidates’ official sites and online newspapers and magazines: 78 percent were more likely than the average adult online to visit barackobama.com; 50 percent were more likely to visit online magazines and 25 percent were more likely to choose online newspapers for candidate information.
o African-Americans’ consumption patterns are not indicative of the total market. African-Americans make more shopping trips and offset this greater shopping frequency with less spending per trip, making quicker, smaller purchases based on short-term needs and not on deal availability. As is true among non-Black households, the younger generation of Black households offset fewer overall shopping trips with higher per-trip spending than their older counterparts. But, in all instances, Black households spend less per trip than non-Black households. Brands represent 82 percent of Black households’ total purchases compared to 31 percent for private labels.
o African-Americans are receptive to segment-specific advertising. Eighty-one percent of Black consumers believe that products advertised on Black media are more relevant to them, and 78 percent of African-Americans would like to see more Black models/actors used in ads. More than half (51%) would purchase a product if the advertising portrayed African-Americans positively. However, total advertising expenditures on TV, radio and magazine spent specifically in African-American media is only approximately one percent of the total advertising dollars spent with general market media during this same time period, which reached almost $2.1 trillion-a disparity that indicates a possible opportunity for businesses to reach African-American consumers
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