Nielsen Studies African-American Consumer Trends

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Nielsen Studies African-American Consumer Trends


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As a consumer group, African-Americans continue to experience population growth, have unique generational behavioral trends and characteristics and are projected to reach $1.1 trillion in buying power by 2015. This makes them a viable market segment full of business opportunities, according to the "African-American Consumers: Still Vital, Still Growing 2012 Report," released by Nielsen and the National Newspapers Publishers Association (NNPA).

The report, released during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's (CBCF) 42nd Annual Legislative Conference, is the second of three annual installments of a collaboration between Nielsen and the NNPA, a 72-year-old federation of 200 black community newspapers.

"Our collaboration with the NNPA has been successful," said Susan Whiting, vice chair, Nielsen. "NNPA's insertion of the report into its 200 publications allows Nielsen access to millions of African-American consumers, and allows us to share vital information that will help increase the awareness of Blacks' consumer power."

Report findings include:

  • Advertising spending in black media totaled $2.1 billion in 2011, compared to $120 billion spent with general market media during the same time period.
  • 91 percent of blacks believe that black media is more relevant to them.
  • Brand name products represent 82 percent of black households' total purchases compared to 31 percent for private labels.
  • 81 percent of blacks believe products advertised on black media are more relevant to them.
  • 54 percent of African-Americans own a smartphone, a 21-percent increase from last year's ownership.
  • 54 percent of the black population is under 35; compared to 47 percent of the general population.
  • 48 percent 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 groceries, fast food restaurants and the gym, and they prefer television and print as primary media sources.
  • Generation Y (18-34) African-Americans are more likely to spend time at someone else's home and select radio, mobile phones and gaming consoles as their media of choice.

"Marketers underestimate the opportunities missed by overlooking black consumers' frustration of not having products that meet their needs in their neighborhoods. And companies that don't advertise using Black media risk having African-Americans perceive them as being dismissive of issues that matter to Black consumers," said Cloves Campbell, chairman, NNPA. "This report demonstrates what a sustainable and influential economic force we are."

To download the report, visit