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New Report Details Black Spending Power

Nielsen, NNPA say African Americans are Major Economic Players

Stacy M. Brown | 9/25/2013, 3 p.m.
The television show "Scandal" rated among the top five watched programs among African American viewers in Nielsen's research. (Courtesy photo)

If there were ever any doubt about the relevancy or the buying power of the African-American consumer, the latest and most comprehensive consumer report likely will do much to dispel any myths suggesting blacks are not major economic players.

The Nielsen Company has teamed with the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), a trade group representing 200 black community newspapers, for the third consecutive year in producing, “Resilient, Receptive and Relevant: The African-American Consumer 2013 Report,” which noted that the buying power of blacks likely will increase from its current $1 trillion level to $1.3 million by 2017.

“The consumer insights this year are some of the most varied yet,” said Cheryl Pearson-McNeil, senior vice president of public affairs and government relations at the Nielsen Company in New York. “From store brand loyalty, to top watched television networks, which mobile apps are most popular, this is a deep dive into how blacks spend their digital time, and how companies can reach 10 million black consumers. This report is really a compelling read for both advertisers and marketers.”

This report lists the premier 50 companies in the top five categories committed to the black community economically, said Cloves Campbell, chairman of the NNPA and publisher of the Arizona Informant.

“This type of information helps the NNPA continue our efforts to create conscious consumers who better understand how their economic power has a direct impact on the marketplace overall and that kind of information is invaluable,” Campbell said.

The report, released on Thursday, Sept. 19, during the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Northwest Washington, D.C., revealed that 53 percent of the 43 million blacks in the United States are under the age of 35, and the African American population is growing 40 percent faster than any other group.

Beyond the business impact blacks have on the economy, the report also provides more granular insights into its population growth, and demographic uniqueness, said A. Shuanise Washington, president and chief executive officer of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF), in Northwest Washington, D.C.

“The CBCF’s mission is to advance the global black community by developing leaders, informing policy and educating the public,” Washington said. “Nielsen’s report will prove helpful as we continue our efforts to improve the socioeconomic circumstances of African Americans and other underserved communities.”

The report noted that blacks outpaced the general public in television viewership, smartphone ownership and annual shopping trips.

Pearson-McNeil said blacks, who tend to watch more reality shows than any other group, need to demand better television programming. “Among the top shows we watch are reality-based programs,” she said.

The top five programs among black viewers, between the age of 18 and 49, are “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta 2,” “Scandal,” “Real Husbands of Hollywood,” “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” and “T.I. and Tiny 3.”

The 32-page report also noted that African Americans purchase more ethnic beauty and grooming products, read more financial magazines, and spend twice the time at personal websites than others.

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