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Black Buying Power To Hit $1.5 Trillion, Thanks To Black Women

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In a new report, Nielsen explores the consumer buying power and behavior of black women and finds an independently-minded demographic that has embraced digital technologies. Black women are using their reclaimed time, money and voices to enrich their families, communities and each other. They’re also very ambitious.

African-American Women: Our Science, Her Magic was unveiled today at an event in Washington, D.C. that featured Congresswoman Maxine Waters and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. The report, which marks only the second time Nielsen has focused on the consumer behavior of black women, found that black households are on track to spend some $1.5 trillion by 2021.

Here are other interesting insights from the African-American Women: Our Science, Her Magic report, which reveals that black women are increasingly setting trends, technologically savvy, and single.

  • 86% admitted to spending 5 or more hours each day on social networking sites
  • 82% of black women say it’s important to be well-groomed
  • 81% of black millennial women, ages 18–34, have never been married
  • 74% of black women agree global warming is a serious threat
  • 74% of black women agree that they make healthy food choices
  • 68% of black women are content with their appearance and their self-image
  • 64% of black women are aiming to make it to the top of their profession
  • 60% of black women agree they buy natural products because they are concerned about the environment
  • 59% of black women agree they are willing to pay more for a product that is environmentally safe.
  • 58% agree that they don’t mind giving up their personal time for work
  • 55% agree a company’s environmental record is important in their purchasing decisions
  • 46% of black women agree they often use natural or organic beauty products
  • 43% of black women say they like to share their opinions about products and services by posting reviews and ratings online
  • 29% of total black American households contain a married couple with an average household size of 2.47
  • 14% of black women have annual incomes of $50,000 or higher (up from 9% in 2005)

“Black women are voracious consumers of video and other digital content, and are leaders even in more traditional media categories,” says Cheryl Grace, Senior Vice President, U.S. Strategic Community Alliances and Consumer Engagement for Nielsen. “Radio is the big surprise, with a 92% penetration,” just ahead of television, which has a 90% penetration. Black women remain big fans of magazines as well, but “consume more multimedia content on our devices than any other category of women.”

Black women as both consumers and creators will be a great leveler in the future, suggests Grace. One example is Issa Rae, whose trailblazing work on YouTube was picked up by HBO for the award-winning Insecure series. Another is #OscarsSoWhite, a hashtag and protest movement created by activist April Reign, that successfully challenged the overrepresentation of white performers and creators in the Academy. “We are really seeing the impact that the social [and creative] movements are having,” she says. “Corporations can’t afford not to pay attention to black women online anymore.”


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