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African-American Buying Power Still Strong

9/27/2012, 11:15 a.m.

Report Reveals Consumer Opportunities for Businesses


In 2012, the African-American consumer continues to be vibrant and dynamic with a projected buying power of $1.1 trillion by 2015. This consumer group, which continues to experience population growth as the largest racial minority group in America with unique generational characteristics, remains at the forefront of social trends and media consumption.

These facts were revealed in African-American Consumers: Still Vital, Still Growing 2012 Report released Sept. 21 by Nielsen and the National Newspaper Publishers Association [NNPA] during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's 42nd Annual Legislative Conference [ALC], Sept. 19 to 22 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Northwest.

"This report demonstrates what a sustainable and influential economic force we are," said Cloves Campbell, NNPA chair. He further added that companies underestimate African-American consumers' frustration of not having products that meet their needs in their respective communities.

"Companies that don't advertise using Black media risk having African Americans perceive them as being dismissive of issues that matter to them."

That's Benjamin Jealous's Achilles heel. The president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People [NAACP], at one time served as the executive director of the NNPA, the 72-year-old federation of more than 200 Black community newspapers across the country, of which The Washington Informer is a member.

"Too many corporations cut out Black media in favor of mainstream media," said Jealous, highlighting that only 2 percent of advertising budgets are split among the African-American press.

"Corporations should be looking for creative ways to partner with the Black media to become part of that community. The Black press is vital in our communities."

The 25-page report maps out the disparity in advertising dollars spent on African-American media, while suggesting a need for more fair methods of administering spending.

It is the second of three annual installments - a collaboration between Nielsen, a global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy - and the NNPA. The report delves deeper into the complex community that includes Baby Boomers, urban and suburban dwellers and single mothers.

Nielsen's vice chair Susan Whiting said the year-long collaboration with NNPA has been successful.

"NNPA's insertion of the report into its 200 publications allows Nielsen access to millions of African-American consumers, and allows us to share information that will help increase the awareness of their consumer power." The first collaborative report, released last year, focused on the purchasing power of African Americans and it reached 19 million readers.

The African-American population reached almost 43 million this year and accounts for 13.7 percent of the general population, according to the report. It also pointed out that "Hispanics" are an ethnicity not a race. With such a healthy representation coupled with substantial buying power, businesses have opportunities to increase market share with African-American consumers.

Other insights from the report include: 91 percent believe that the African-American media is more relevant to them, 72 percent of African-American adults online have more than one social networking profile, 54 percent is under 35, compared to 47 percent of the general population, 54 percent own a Smartphone, compared to 33 percent last year, and advertising spending in the African-American media totaled $2.10 billion in 2011, compared to $120 billion spent in the general market media during the same period.

Educating the African-American community is a goal of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, said Elsie L. Scott, its president and CEO on the report's release during the ALC.

"By providing a resource that demonstrates how we can use our collective buying power, we are providing a service that is beneficial to the individual consumer and our collective communities at the same time," Scott said.

To download a copy of the report, visit www.nielsen.com/africanamerican