MONEY: Black Buying Power Estimated to Hit $1.3 Trillion in 2017

In the 2013 Report "Resilient, Receptive, and Relevant - The African American Consumer", Nielsen and the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) estimated that Black Buying Power would go from $1 Trillion in 2013 to $1.3 Trillion in 2017.  Nielsen noted that there were 43 Million African American consumers in 2013 and explored the unique differences from the total United States market.

(Image courtesy of Black Entrepreneur)

Nielsen Holdings (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement.  Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. (Nielsen)

The National Newspaper Publishers Association, also known as the Black Press of America, is a 73-year old federation of nearly 200 Black community newspapers from across the United States.  Since World War II, it has held without peer or competitor since the associated Negro Press Dissolved in 1970.  In 2000, the NNPA launched NNPA Media Services - a print and web advertising - placement and press release distribution service.  In 2001, the NNPA and its foundation began building the BlackPressUSA Network - the nation's premier network of local Black community news and information portals.  The BlackPressUSA Network is anchored by - the national web portal for the Black Press of America. (NNPA)

Although the report was published nearly four years ago, it is worth examining the content and how relevant it is today in 2017.  To view the 2013 Nielsen report "Resilient, Receptive, and Relevant - The African-American Consumer" in its entirety, click here.  Please see the highlights from the report below:


The African American community accounts for 13.8% of the total United States population and continues to grow.  The Black population grew 64% faster than the rest of the country since 2010, amassing a total of 43 million people; this includes individuals who are Black and another race.

(Image courtesy of Nielsen)


Known as early adopters of new technologies and communications tools, young African-Americans go beyond merely providing a strong base for brands - they are also key influencers.  Other demographic segments have identified Blacks as a driving force for popular culture, with 73% of Whites and 67% of Hispanics who believe Blacks influence mainstream American culture.


While African American men continue to dominate as the financial providers for Black households, companies seeking to connect with African-American consumers may want to pay close attention to women, who comprise 54% of the adult Black population.  Black women Head of Households represent 29% of all Black households, compared to 20% for the overall population.  Women control 43% of the annual spending power for the Black population.  Education plays a large factor in the power of Black women.  The number of African-Americans who completed college increased by nine percent between 1990, when 11% of African-Americans completed college; and 2010 when 20% had done so.

This increase in educational attainment has resulted in 23% of Black women who work full-time, earning incomes of $50,000 or higher, and has also resulted in younger, educated Black women delaying or foregoing starting families and having children.

(Image courtesy of Black Entrepreneur)


Since 1954, the earliest year for which the Bureau of Labor Statistics has consistent unemployment data by race, the unemployment rate among African-Americans has averaged 9.9%, almost twice the national average.  In spite of these numbers, Black have demonstrated a resiliency in coping with tough economic times.


The reverse migration from northern and eastern urban cities to large urban southern cities continues as 55% of Black live in the South.  Young, college-educated, and forward-thinking Black professionals are deciding to call the South home as well as older retirees.  "Blacks who moved to the South were disproportionately young - 40% were adults ages 21 to 40, compared with 29% of the non-migrant Black population.  One in four newcomers had a four-year college degree, compared to one in six of the Black adults who had already lived in the South."


African-Americans have continued to grow their financial power as the number of African-American households has increased by 20% since 2000, while aggregate income has increased 45%, meaning that Blacks' income has grown 2.3 times faster than the number of Black households.

(Images courtesy of Nielsen)


A higher percentage of upper income Blacks, who earn $100K or more, shop more at warehouse clubs (73%) annually than Non-Blacks (67%), while their shopping frequency is nearly identical (14 versus 15).  Whole Foods attracts a greater percentage of affluent Black shoppers than affluent Non-Black shoppers (16% versus 11%), and higher income Black shoppers make two or more trips annually to grocers.

(Image courtesy of Nielsen Homescan)


1. Disposable Diapers
2. Unprepared Meat/Frozen Seafood
3. Milk
4. Paper Products
5. Cheese
6. Pet Food
7. Vitamins
8. Bread & Baked Goods
9. Fresh Meat
10. Packaged Meats
11. Frozen Prepared Foods
12. Medications/Remedies
13. Frozen Vegetables
14. Housewares Appliances
15. Bottled Water
16. Prepared Snacks, Meals, Salads, Salad Dressings in Deli
17. Fresh Produce
18. Shelf Stable Juices & Drinks
19. Nuts
20. Sugar/Sugar Substitutes


1. Liquor
2. Milk
3. Cheese
4. Pet Food
5. Disposable Diapers
6. Vitamins
7. Bread & Baked Goods
8. Paper Products
9. Unprepared Meat/Frozen Seafood
10. Medications/Remedies
11. Diet Aids
12. Fresh Produce
13. Fresh Meat
14. Baby Food
15. Packaged Meat
16. Housewares Appliances
17. Pet Care
18. Wine
19. Coffee
20. Prepared snacks, meals, salads, salad dressings in deli


Blacks spend 44% more time on Education and Career sites and 21% more time on Family and Lifestyle sites than Total Market consumers, breaking the myth that Blacks are disinterested in education and the family's well-being.  Additionally, African-Americans continue to be resilient in their role as early adopters of technology as 14% are more likely to spend time on Telecom/Internet Service sites.

African-Americans spent more than twice the time per person at web hosting sites than Total Market consumers, which indicates Blacks are more likely to own personal websites.  When it comes to web searches, Google Search, with over 15 million unique visitors during a one-month period is the #1 search engine among African-Americans.

Black have taken to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to gain desired exposure in cyberspace and use social networking to mitigate real world inequality.

For Blacks online platforms are like beauty/barbershops where people come to voice their opinions, share funny stories, and connect with others.  Black are 44% more likely than Total Market consumers to create a social media profile.

(Image courtesy of Nielsen)


Black Travel and tourism is a $40 Billion industry - a big business made bigger because African-Americans tend to travel in groups and are more prone to use a variety of online resources to help them with travel planning.  Among African-Americans who plan destination trips, 54% use online resources to review websites of destinations they consider, 44% conduct general online searches, and 30% use third party travel websites.


Blacks read financial magazines 28% more than other consumers and spend an average of 87 minutes online looking at websites related to finance and investment, which is 12% higher than the overall market.  However, African-Americans under index for most categories within the financial sector, particularly in purchasing common financial products such as mutual funds, first mortgages, and stocks.


Blacks go to the movies just as much as other consumer groups, with an average of 6.3 trips per year.  Similar to television, Blacks historically have supported films where they see characters they look like, can relate to, or with whom they can identify.  One exception is the action/adventure genre, which is particularly appealing to Black audiences versus Total Market regardless of the ethnicity of the cast.

(Image courtesy of Nielsen)


  • Recognize your value as important consumers because Blacks are still the largest single race in the United States.  Leverage the power of numbers when and where possible to ensure retailers and businesses are responding to the relevant needs of the Black community.
  • Endeavor to persevere as smart shoppers while facing economic conditions.  Continue to exhibit resilient shopping behavior.
  • Become a smart shopper and take advantage of the value (better per-item pricing) when offered.
  • Insist that providers of television programming, network and cable, are responsive to Black viewing preferences.
  • Explore and identify new online platforms to interact with like-minded African-Americans.  This could lead to the discovery of new and different culturally related sites that welcome African-Americans who want to engage in experience related to the Black culture and lifestyle.  Such sites offer the opportunity to have candid and honest conversations about subjects that affect the Black community.
  • Continue to use social media to express opinions about both political and social issues, and to get recommendations for and feedback about products and services as this behavior is already recognized as an influential force.
  • Transform education into action by increasing savings and investments; take the time to become more financially savvy so wealth in Black America continues to grow. 


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