Friday, November 21, 2008

Black buying power and advertising

As the holiday and Christmas seasons quickly approach, even as the stock market and economy falter, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on something that came up in a conversation with a friend of mine. The power of African Americans in the marketplace and the desire for advertising on Black media.

There is no question that Blacks buy things just as every group in America does. But if you were to look at most of the media coverage you might believe that African Americans are laden down with debt and/or depend on the Government for survival. Such a perception is both ignorant and false. And advertisers know it.

Recent projections place the African-American buying power at about $845 billion annually, growing to $1.1 trillion by 2012. That means the buying power of Blacks equals the money spent by the Government this year to save the entire financial and mortgage industries. This amount dwarfs the money being debated and requested by the auto industry. And this is more than double the money that is to be spent by the Government for the 2nd stimulus plan in 2009.

Targeted advertising cost up to 73% more for African Americans than any other group. That’s because the top 17% of affluent African Americans contribute 45% to all the buying power in any 1 year. And Pew research reports have shown that up to 2/3 prefer to emphasis their ethnic identity.

All of that money is part of the reason of the success of Black filmmakers, like Spike Lee and Tyler Perry. It is also part of the support to BET, and various television shows that star prominently African American actors/actresses. And it is one of the reasons why advertisers are including and/or directly marketing to Blacks. McDonald’s was one of the first to do this, but today hundreds of companies are doing so.

And the blogosphere is quickly becoming one of the major focal points of advertisers. Because the buying power of African Americans has grown 166% since 1990, the ability of blogs focused on or attracting African Americans to retain a steady daily influx of viewers is important. The internet allows visitors to connect with their favorite sites several times in a day as new posts are added to the blogs throughout the day; as I have seen in my own blogs as an example.

Political blogs were a huge resource in the Presidential election, and I can personally attest to TV One’s interest as VASS was selected as one of 2 blogs to provide daily coverage of the entire election cycle for their online visitors. Similar is true of all blogs, and especially those targeting African Americans.

Add to this the fact that the Black population tends to be younger and female (though my readers are about 50/50 for gender, age 12 - 49 predominantly, college or better educated, middle class incomes or better, and generally single); which advertisers are obsessive in their efforts to gain attention with. Not to mention that home ownership for African Americans is up 32% since 1990, and that the buying power of African Americans in just 3 states (New York, Texas, and Georgia) equals the money spent by the Government on AIG for fear of a complete collapse of the economy.

Black teens spend more money on clothing, video games, PC software and footwear than the average of the entire nation. In fact it could be argued that without Black teens athletic shoes, cell phones, DVD’s, and fast food industries might all lose their profits. And that says nothing of the fact that magazines like GQ, Entrepreneur, Inc. and others rely on the more than 25% readership that comes from African Americans.

Advertisers have increased spending in Black media by 72%, some 791 million dollars in 2006 alone. The automotive (GM leads), communications, cosmetics (L’O’real SA leads) industries and others (Dell, Procter & Gamble, Time Warner Inc., PepsiCo) lead in trying to gain Black consumer attention.

I say all this because I realize that for every news media image and story that denigrates or diminishes African Americans, the fact remains that this nation cannot survive without us. Just as was true during the time of Slavery, African Americans are the unsung backbone of the nation. Our buying power is so great that its loss would lead to financial ruin for the entire nation, in a manner that matches and/or exceeds every aspect of the current mortgage/credit crisis.

So this year when you go out to shop (or stay in and online) for your Christmas/holiday gifts, if you are Black, remember this when the guards and employees watch your every move. They need you, and if they could do it they would thank you. Because without us, they would be out of work.

**Several fact were complied from Package Facts and **

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At 4:59 PM, November 22, 2008 , Blogger M. Vass said...

Comment as found at Myspace

i couldn't agree more with your point about the amount of power black buyers have and the impact on society that the black community makes as a whole. as an example let's look at the recent election, you and i and many others know that much of the black community went out to vote for our new president elect because our community believes in him as a whole. now i do know that 61% of his supporters were white, 11% were hispanic, 5% were other and 23% were black but out of that 23% lied the majority of black voters including voters turning out for the first time in their lives, young or old and we wanted it so we made that happen. when i waited on line to vote i saw hustlers, disabled, the elderly, even strung out crackheads waiting on that line, some even ahead of me, from my black community, waiting to make things happen. when we want to we can do it.

it's never been a secret that the black community has been such a driving force in the economy we make up the classes that are suffering the most in this recession because it's our pockets hit hardest.....and that's what i'm thinking about.

Posted by jv on Nov 22, 2008 4:55 PM


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