Make no mistake, African-American consumers have power. The question is, do they use it?
According to the recently released The State of the African-American Consumer Report collaboratively by Nielsen, a global provider of consumer analytics, and The National Newspaper Publishers Association, a federation of more than 200 Black community newspapers in the U.S., African-Americans' buying power is expected to reach $1.1 trillion by 2015. If African-Americans were a country, they'd be the 16th largest country in the world.
The Black consumer has long complained that corporations and product marketers and advertisers overlook their segment. "I believe African-Americans' buying power is overlooked," says business expert and author Gayle M. Gilmore. "Blacks are targeted more by advertising and marketing for products or services that may be more detrimental to our health and debt such as cigarettes, alcohol, videos, electronic gadgets, etc, (Statistics show that Blacks buy more and pay more) than beneficial and needed products and services."
The buying power should be leveraged, says Gilmore. "We as Blacks, buy what we want, when we want it, a lot of times whether or not we can afford it. For example, we buy expensive tennis shoes and sneakers just for the name brand. We can become slaves to debt. This affects the political strength of the U.S. as a whole," she says. "I think the best ways to leverage our individual buying is to be more selective in our budgeting and in whom we support and buy from. We should support more African-American businesses." The importance of Black buying power to the U.S. economy should never be overlooked, says Gilmore. "Of course, the more we buy, the better we will be economically because more buying will stimulate more demand for goods and services which would increase the need for more jobs," she points out.
According to the report:
• The number of African-American households earning $75,000 or higher grew by almost 64%.
• African-Americans in higher income brackets spend 300% more in higher-end retail grocers, more than any other high-income household.
• African-Americans use more than double the amount of mobile phone voice minutes compared to whites--1,298 minutes a month compared to 606.