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Target Market: How to Reach African-American Consumers

March 4th, 2013 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

With Black History Month just behind us, multicultural marketing agency Ameredia took a look at the buying power of the African-American consumer in America. Here are some of the interesting statistics they cite regarding the power of black consumers.

  • The total African American population is 42.6 million, or 14,468,417 households.
  • Cities with a large proportion of African Americans include New York City (the leader, with a population of 3.2 million African Americans), Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Memphis, Detroit and Houston.
  • The median household income of African American families is $33,460.
  • Some 24 million African Americans age 25 and up are pursuing higher education. 18.3 percent African Americans have a bachelor’s degree or higher; 32.6 percent have an associate’s degree or have attended some college.

African Americans make more shopping trips than the average consumer. They are more likely than average to buy beauty and ethnic products, children’s cologne, toiletries for both men and women, frozen meats, and fresh vegetables and grains.

As shoppers, African Americans are influencers and trendsetters whose purchasing habits affect others. They set trends in their purchase of apparel, autos and food and in their use of social media.
Speaking of social media, nearly three-fourths (72 percent) of African American adults have a profile on more than one social media network. Twitter is extremely popular with African Americans.

When they are using social media, African Americans are likely to be doing it on a mobile device. More than 54 percent own smartphones, and these consumers are heavy users of mobile data—they’re likely to be texting, emailing and surfing the Web, along with downloading music, videos and photos to their devices.

How can you reach this important niche market?

  • Be positive. Ameredia cites Nielsen research that 51 percent of African Americans say they are more likely to buy a product if its advertising portrays the black community in a positive manner.
  • Use niche media. A whopping 91 percent of African Americans in the Nielsen study say that black media is more relevant to them than generic media outlets. Advertise with cable TV shows, radio shows, blogs, websites and publications targeting the black community.
  • Don’t “lump” all African Americans into one category. As Ameredia points out, the black community in the U.S. comes from many different backgrounds, including Africans, African Americans, Afro-Latin Americans and Afro-Caribbeans. “Each distinct group contributes their unique diverse cultural experience, language, identity and migratory journey to the mix,” Ameredia cautions.
  • Know your market. Depending on where your business is located, you may have many different subcategories of African American consumers in your market, and you will need to understand how each group wants to be communicated with, sold to and marketed to.

Image by Flickr user Abode of Chaos (Creative Commons)


The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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