Porter Novelli

The second installment of “We are Black History” focuses on key emerging groups within the African-American community. African-Americans account for 13.8 percent of the total United States population and they continue to thrive. The black population has grown 64 percent faster than the rest of the country since 2010, swelling to 43 million people. Blacks remain the largest racial minority in the country and their buying power is progressing at similar rate. According to recent forecast, by 2015 African-Americans will account for $1.1 trillion (as mentioned in our previous blog post) and $1.3 trillion by 2017, a jump of nearly 30 percent from $1 trillion in previous years. This figure is larger than the GDP of many countries in the world.

The tapestry of African-American communities is varied: we are not all the same. So how do you best use your marketing dollars to reach African-Americans? One smart way to approach may start with audience segmentation. There are three “sub-groups” that marketers are paying close attention to, as well as trends that offer a cultural thread to reach them. Let’s examine these three “sub-groups” and their purchasing power:

  • Powerful Women. Now that the spending power of black women is being recognized, brands are seeing the value of having a better understanding of this consumer group. Women control 43 percent of the annual spending power for the black population and comprise 54 percent of the adult black population. Black women are more than three times as likely to be the head of their household in comparison to the general population.  In fact, female black heads of household represent 29 percent of all black households, compared to 20 percent for the overall population.  As such, black women are more likely to be the primary decision maker across a wide variety of product categories. Black women are multi-dimensional, highly active consumers, whose definition of success includes owning their own businesses, accomplishing educational, career and financial goals, and connecting to their cultural heritage.
  • Millennial Influencers. Did you know that the black population, on average, is three years younger than the general population? It’s true. Blacks have an average age of 35, compared to the general market’s age of 38. More than half of the population, 53 percent, is under the age of 35, compared to 47 percent of the total market population. Known as early adopters of new technologies and communication tools, young African-Americans go beyond merely providing a strong base for brands – they are also key influencers. Black Millennials are also significantly more likely than Millennials of any other ethnic background to regularly use social networking sites to make sure they purchase the best product at the best price.
  • The Emerging South. Marketers and advertisers that create campaigns with an emphasis on geography are paying more attention to 12 key cities that have a high concentration of African-Americans for successful penetration of this important segment. African-Americans continue to live regionally and in the top major metropolitan areas. Collectively, 12 major U.S. cities have a black population over 17 million. However, the reverse migration from northern and eastern urban cities to large urban southern cities continues as 55 percent of blacks live in the South.

The evidence above highlights the spending power of a dynamic sector of African-Americans that include Powerful Women, Millennials and Emerging Southern Influencers. There is a lot of potential for marketers to tap into these groups by developing relevant messaging, strategies, and tactics. For more information on these groups, please reach out to the PN Multicultural Practice.