It's in the bag: Black consumer's path to purchase
An analysis of African Americans' growth in purchasing power that makes the case for diversity in advertising.
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The report explores the non-linear and uniquely technologically driven road that African Americans follow to make purchasing decisions, which ultimately maximizes both online and in-person shopping options. This path highlights several differences in shopping behavior and purchasing when compared to the total U.S. population.
Key takeaways include:
African Americans are welcoming recipients of advertising across all channels. However, while the trends of the Black buying power and over-indexing in spending continue to increase, companies' investments to advertise to them have decreased.
- African Americans are more likely than the total population to agree that advertising provides meaningful information on most platforms, including mobile (42% higher), television (23% higher), radio (21% higher) and the internet (18% higher).
- Advertising spend designed to reach Black consumers declined 5% between 2017 and 2018.
Physical appearance reflects a sense of cultural pride and self-expression in the Black community. This is evidenced by the top spending priorities for African Americans from everyday soap to luxury handbags.
- African Americans outspend the total market on personal soap and bath needs by nearly 19% ($573.6 million).
- Men are making an impact with grooming habits, outpacing the total market by 20% on toiletry items.
- Blacks are 20% more likely than the total population to say they will "pay extra for a product that is consistent with the image I want to convey."
- They are also more likely to say they shop at high-end stores including Saks Fifth Avenue (63%), Neiman Marcus (45%) and Bloomingdales (24%).
While online shopping grows, African Americans continue to head to physical stores for the personal touch and feel experience—but with more discerning eyes.
- More than half (52%) of African Americans find in-store shopping relaxing, compared with 26% of the total population.
- 55% of Black consumers say they enjoy wandering the store looking for new, interesting products.
- When shopping, African Americans are more influenced than the total population by store staff (34% more likely), in-store advertising (28% more likely) and merchandising (27% more likely).
The "for us by us" trend of Black-owned brands is profoundly impacting the African American path to purchase and consumer marketplace. Black consumers support brands that align with their lifestyles and values.
- African Americans dominate the ethnic hair and beauty aids category, accounting for almost 90% of the overall spend.
- 42% of Black adults expect brands they purchase to support social causes (16% higher than the total population).
- 35% of African American shoppers are more likely to agree, "when a celebrity designs a product, I am more likely to buy it."
- Procter & Gamble (P&G) is the largest advertiser in African American media, spending more than a half-billion dollars ($544.3 million). Five of the top 20 baby care category products come from P&G's Pampers and Luvs brands.
Soul food drives African American consumers' top grocery purchases. These consumers are also passionate about the environment, wanting to buy safe, locally sourced food items.
- African Americans outpace the general market on: Quaker grits ($19 million); Louisiana Fish Fry ($11 million); Glory Greens (frozen and fresh, $9.5 million combined) and Jay's Potato Chips (nearly $2.7 million).
- 61% say produce is the most important category to buy local, followed by bakery and prepared foods (56%), eggs (55%) and dairy (52%).
- Blacks over-index the total population concerned about food safety issues: antibiotic use in animal production (by 20%); artificial ingredients (by 19%) and GMO crop development due to climate change. The biggest worry is rising prices due to trade tariffs (68% Blacks vs. 56% total population).
The report can be downloaded here.