April 7, 2023
The influence of African Americans across entertainment, media, sports, food, and the arts is more pronounced than ever before. Comprising about 14% of the population, the African American audience is an economic heavyweight, with spending power set to reach $1.8T by 2024. This increase in economic influence is being driven by expected population growth of 22% between 2020-2060, compared with a 27% decrease in the non-Hispanic White population during the same time. As more brands look to tap into the economic power of this audience, there are three factors they should be aware of that drive how the African American consumer makes purchasing decisions.
The pandemic and the social upheaval that followed the murder of George Floyd helped reinforce the desire among the African American audience to activate their wallets in order to create a positive impact on the world. COVID-19 disproportionately affected African American consumers, and many of those consumers recommitted to using their economic power to help uplift the community. A recent Neilsen study revealed that the African American audience is more likely than other groups to spend their money supporting products and retailers who make efforts to fight racial injustice, battle hunger, and food insecurity.
Social media is amplifying this message of socially responsible shopping, especially Twitter, where the African American audience comprises a formidable segment of users of the platform. ‘Black Twitter’, as it is known, is a powerful vehicle to spread the word about brands and products that reflect their shared values. Initiatives like the 15 Percent Pledge and Buy From a Black Woman, have made it easier for the African American audience to find these brands by consolidating them in pop-up shopping events and on their respective websites.
In the past, when consumers felt ignored or misrepresented, there wasn’t much recourse beyond an angry letter or phone call to the customer support line. But as mentioned above, members of any audience can turn to social media to air their grievances or shout out a brand that gets it right when it comes to representation or messaging that reflects their worldview.
The African American audience has become ever more aware of how brands speak to them, and are quick to call out messaging that misses the mark, or worse, ignores them altogether. Often, the reason this happens can be attributed to a lack of diversity at the executive level of the team. Another is a lack of research to find out who the African American consumer is and what motivates them to support one brand over another. Hiring a qualified and experienced market research agency like Eyes4Research can help brands drill down on exactly what resonates positively with African American consumers and gather the data that they need to effectively speak to and with this audience.
Among affluent African Americans, clothing, especially luxury fashion, is employed to counter racial stereotyping. To this demographic of African Americans, dressing more casually is perceived as a liability and can increase the chances of experiencing negative encounters in situations like dining at a restaurant or shopping in a store. There have even been anecdotes of African Americans being intentional about dressing well when they go to doctors’ appointments to increase the odds of being given the best possible care. While these might not be fool-proof methods, it nonetheless partially fuels the desire for luxury fashion among the affluent African American audience.
Brands looking to capture their share of the economic power of the African American audience must understand what drives this consumer and understand its power in shaping trends. By investing in research to learn what this audience needs and wants, brands can gather the necessary data to effectively tailor their messaging and unlock the spending from this valuable and influential segment.
Read more about consumers and what drives their purchase decisions on the Eyes4Research blog. Eyes4Research also has everything you need to collect high-quality insights from consumers. Our online panels are made up of B2B, B2C, and specialty audiences ready to participate in your next research project. Learn more about our specialty online panels here.