CONSUMER CATEGORIES WHERE AFRICAN AMERICANS MOVE MARKETS
Black consumers are speaking directly to brands in unprecedented ways and achieving headline-making results. Throughout 2017, popular brands witnessed the power of Black Twitter and the brand impact of socially conscious Black consumers. Through social media, Black consumers have brokered a seat at the table and are demanding that brands and marketers speak to them in ways that resonate culturally and experientially—if these brands want their business. And with African Americans spending $1.2 trillion annually, brands have a lot to lose. DIVING INTO THE DOLLARS SPENT Black consumers and consumers of color alike are making considerable contributions to the overall market—in some cases representing more than 50% of the overall spending in key product categories. For example, half of the total spend ($941 million) on dry grains and vegetables in the U.S. in 2017 came from consumers of color. And Black consumers represented $147 million of the total spend in this category, which has recently made advances in product creation to meet the demands of their diverse buyers.
Mainstream manufacturers across other industries are also seizing the opportunity to create specific products that appeal to diverse consumers. Not so surprisingly, African Americans have cornered the ethnic hair and beauty market, ringing up $54 million of the $63 million total industry spend in 2017. But marketers should find it interesting that Black consumers aren’t just spending on products created specifically to appeal to them. In fact, in terms of sheer dollars, African Americans spent considerably more money in the general beauty marketplace last year. Black shoppers spent $473 million in total hair care (a $4.2 billion industry) and made other significant investments in personal appearance products, such as grooming aids ($127 million out of $889 million) and skin care preparations ($465 million out of $3 billion). African Americans makeup 14% of the U.S. population but have outsized influence over spending on essential items such as personal soap and bath needs ($573 million), feminine hygiene products ($54 million) and men’s toiletries ($61 million). Nielsen research also shows Black consumers spent $810 million on bottled water (15% of overall spending) and $587 million on refrigerated drinks (17% of overall spending). Luxury, non-essential products such as women’s fragrances ($151 million of a $679 million industry total), watches and timepieces ($60 million of $385 million in overall spending) and even children’s cologne ($4 million out of $27 million) also play well to an audience that’s keen on image and self care. “
Our research shows that Black consumer choices have a ‘cool factor’ that has created a halo effect, influencing not just consumers of color but the mainstream as well,” said Cheryl Grace, Senior Vice President of U.S. Strategic Community Alliances and Consumer Engagement, Nielsen. “These figures show that investment by multinational conglomerates in R&D to develop products and marketing that appeal to diverse consumers is, indeed, paying off handsomely.”