With a population of 44 million and buying power more than $1 trillion in 2013, African Americans are a key segment in a U.S. economy that is increasingly reliant on purchase patterns of minority consumers, according to “The African-American Consumer Market, 9th Edition,” a report by market research publisher Packaged Facts. By 2017, the buying power of African Americans is forecasted to reach $1.3 trillion.
Beyond sheer buying power potency, the real strength of African American consumers is their economic optimism in comparison to other consumers, especially in regard to their own future personal finances. And despite being generally among those who were—and still remain—the most negatively impacted by the Great Recession and its aftermath, African American adults are 53 percent more likely than average to have positive expectations for the U.S. economy overall.
Considering that when African Americans spend, it is often on high-quality, trendy and brand name or designer products, they have the potential to be retail industry game-changers under the right circumstances, says David Sprinkle, Packaged Facts research director. The report reveals that African Americans are 36 percent more likely to be planning to purchase a big ticket item (such as a car or major appliance) in the near future.
That many mainstream marketers fail to incorporate the African American demographic in their media and marketing plans is perplexing and a trend that must be corrected if retailers desire to maximize their scope of influence on the buying public, according to the report. African American consumers in general are highly receptive to product advertising, and effective forms of targeted marketing have the ability to both significantly influence purchase decisions and establish brand loyalty that resonates for generations. Beyond receptiveness merely to traditional forms of marketing via television commercials, African Americans also are much more likely to notice and be influenced by marketing they encounter on their mobile phones, at movie theaters and in the movie themselves, through product placement in video games, and especially via the internet and social media in particular.
The feature photo at top by Jose Luis Pelaez Inc./Blend