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Native American Buying Power

Last updated on June 13th, 2024 at 12:03 pm

The Selig Center projects that the nation’s Native American buying power will rise from $19.6 billion in 1990, to $40 billion in 2000, to $67.7 billion in 2010, and to $90.37 billion in 2015. Native American buying power in 2010 will be 69 percent greater than in 2000. The 2000-2010 percentage gain is larger than the increases in buying power estimated for whites (49 percent), for the U.S. population as a whole (52 percent), and for blacks (60 percent). It is smaller than those estimated for Asians (98 percent) and for Hispanics (108 percent), however. Despite this fast-paced growth, Native Americans will account for only 0.6 percent of all U.S. buying power in 2010, up only slightly from their 0.5 percent share in 1990, when they accounted for only $19.6 billion in buying power.

Many forces support the continued growth of Native American buying power, but one of the most important is that the Native American population is growing much more rapidly than the total population, and is expected to continue to do so. From 2000 through 2010, the Native American population grew by 19.8 percent, outpacing the projected gains of 11.9 percent for the black population, 9.8 percent for the total U.S. population, and 7.7 percent for the white population. Also, the Native American population is relatively young. The 2008 American Community Survey reports that the median age of Native Americans is 32.1 years compared to 39.1 years for whites (or 36.9 years for the total population). The implication is that labor force entry and the climbing of career ladders should provide an extra boost to the group’s buying power in future years.

Entrepreneurial activity is another major force powering the growth of Native American buying power. The 2002 Survey of Business Owners showed that the number of the number of American Indian-owned firms increased by 67 percent from 1997 to 2002 whereas the number of all U.S. businesses increased by only 10 percent. Preliminary results from the 2007 Survey of Business Owners show that the number of Native American firms increased by 18 percent from 2002, which is the same as that for all U.S. firms.

Although comprising one percent of the country’s population in 2010, Native Americans will control $67.7 billion in disposable income, which makes this diverse group economically attractive to businesses. In order, the ten states with the largest Native American markets are California ($9.7 billion), Oklahoma ($6.5 billion), Texas ($4.9 billion), Arizona ($4.2 billion), New Mexico ($2.9 billion), Washington ($2.6 billion), Florida ($2.6 billion), North Carolina ($2.5 billion), Alaska ($2.5 billion), and New York ($2.4 billion). This market is only slightly more focused on a few states than is the total U.S. consumer market. For example, in 2010, the five largest American Indian markets account for 42 percent of Native American buying power, whereas the five largest total consumer markets account for 38 percent of U.S. buying power. Similarly, the ten largest Native American markets account for 60 percent of Native American buying power and the top ten total consumer markets account for 55 percent of total U.S. buying power.

Ranked by the rate of growth of Native American buying power over 2000-2010, the top ten states are Hawaii (230 percent), Florida (123 percent), Iowa (118 percent), the District of Columbia (114 percent), Arkansas (112 percent), Mississippi (111 percent), Pennsylvania (109 percent), Wyoming (108 percent), West Virginia (107 percent), and Maryland (100 percent). Many of these states have relatively small, flourishing markets, but Texas and Florida stand out from the other leading states as the third and seventh largest Native American consumer markets in the nation, respectively.

In 2010, the ten states with the largest Native American shares of total buying power include Alaska (8.6 percent), Oklahoma (5.4 percent), New Mexico (4.5 percent), Montana (3.4 percent), South Dakota (3.3 percent), North Dakota (2.8 percent), Arizona (2.1 percent), Wyoming (1.3 percent), Nevada (1 percent), and Washington (1 percent). Compared to 2000, Native Americans’ share of the market will climb the most in North Dakota, Hawaii, Wyoming, Arkansas, and Montana, but will decline slightly in Alaska.

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Shelby Team

The Shelby Report delivers complete grocery news and supermarket insights nationwide through the distribution of five monthly regional print and digital editions. Serving the retail food trade since 1967, The Shelby Report is “Region Wise. Nationwide.”

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