By Ryan Velez
Recent data is showing how much spending power Black people have, even if they are making less money on average than other ethnicities. Research shows that Black consumers represent 14% of the U.S. population, but outsize on spending in a number of fast-moving consumer goods categories, and according to a Nielsen report called “African-American Women: Our Science, Her Magic,” Total Black spending power is expected to reach $1.5 trillion by 2021. The Network Journal discusses how brands and retailers can speak to this population through their marketing and advertising.
“As African Americans, we are not afraid to use social media platforms to level the playing field and talk to the brands we love,” Cheryl Grace, senior vice president, Strategic Community Alliances & Consumer Engagement, Nielsen, told TNJ.com. “Brands should keep in mind that in order to track our attention and viewing habits, they have to represent us accurately. It can’t be done devoid of cultural nuances.”
One can only look at recent history to see how Black spending and social media presence are tied. How many times have we seen brands get a spike in activity with the power of Black Twitter or a positive headline for conscious reasons? The same applies to the other end as well. When a brand does something that catches fire or misses the point, the consequences can affect the bottom line as well as public perception. This is doubly important as we are in the midst of a shift in regards to businesses as well. Many retail giants are in precarious positions, which mean there is a flurry of online businesses trying to make up space. Both sides want to make sure they appeal to black buyers to either get ahead or stay afloat.
“When it comes to African-American consumer spend, there are millions, sometimes billions of dollars in revenue at stake,” said Andrew McCaskill, senior vice president, Global Communications and Multicultural Marketing, Nielsen. “With 43% of the 75 million millennials in the U.S. identifying as African American, Hispanic or Asian, if a brand doesn’t have a multicultural strategy, it doesn’t have a growth strategy. The business case for multicultural outreach is clear. African-American consumers, and all diverse consumers, want to see themselves authentically represented in marketing, and they want brands to recognize their value to the bottom line.”