When the Business Community Spends Money on Advertising, Blacks Are Ignored

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While the nation’s 43 million African Americans make up 13.7 percent of the U.S. population, American business spent just 1.6 percent of its advertising in the black community.

If that woefully inadequate statistic is a spur to American businesses to invest more in the black community, a new report by Nielsen and the National Newspaper Publishers Association (the organization of the nation’s black press) serves as a roadmap for how the business community can go about making decisions on how to spend more dollars in the black community—whose buying power is expected to reach $1.1 billion by 2015.

The report, called “The African-American Consumers: Still Vital, Still Growing,” offers a detailed analysis of how the black community currently spends its money and its time, and what are its priorities.

Among the highlights of the report:

  • 91% of Blacks believe that Black media is more relevant to them.
  • Brand name products represent 82% of Black households’ total purchases compared to 31% for private labels.
  • 81% of Blacks believe products advertised on Black media are more relevant to them.
  • 54% of African-Americans own a smartphone, an increase from 33% last year.
  • 54% of the Black population is under 35; compared to 47% of the general population.
  • 48% of Black grandparents live with their grandchildren and serve as primary caregivers.
  • African-American Baby Boomers (45-64) spend more time at the stores or grocers, fast food restaurants and the gym; and prefer television and print as primary media sources.
  • Generation Y (18-34) are more likely to spend time at someone else’s home; and selected radio, mobile phones and gaming consoles are their media of choice.

The report talks in detail about the importance of family in the black community.

“Family members related by birth or marriage comprise 66% of all American
households and 64% of African-American households,” the report says. “Companies seeking to align with mothers and grandparents will find optimal opportunities within the Black community as a Black household is 127% more likely to include a single parent, most often a woman. there is also a strong cultural precedent for intergenerational family members living in one household. almost 19% of grandparents living with their grandchildren are african-american, and 48% of Black grandparents who live in the same household with their grandchildren serve as their primary caregivers.”

The report outlines how much of the black community is concentrated in the South and also in large urban markets and their suburbs.

There are also interesting factoids in the report, such as how the black community buys more hand and body lotion at a rate of 54% higher than the general, how African Americans make more shopping trips during the week than any other group—but spend less during each trip than the rest of the country—and are much more loyal to brands than the general population.

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