The Importance of Black Culture in Consumer Behavior

Analyzing black consumer behavior is multi-faceted, but culture is at the core of it all. African Americans are much savvier and conscious, as they narrow in on what companies are doing and holding them responsible from the way they communicate, how they give back to communities, and most importantly, representation as it determines whether or not African Americans will consider purchasing from these brands. 

Spending Power

While African Americans make up approximately 13% of the US population, they have an overall spending power of $1.2 trillion, making them one of the main sources of growth for many industries and brands. According to a recent report from Nielsen, African American consumers, “represent more than 50% of the overall spending in key product categories and are the key to winning the masses.”

Brand Loyalty 

African American consumers have proven to be the most loyal out of all ethnic groups. A study from revealed that 48% of African Americans tend to find a good source for their purchases and stick with it compared to the 32% non-Hispanic White population who said they stick with a good source for purchases once they find it. Some important factors that drive brand loyalty within the black community include fair treatment, unique products, caring staff, status, and VIP benefits. 

Cultural Influencers 

In communities of color, the brands you wear and companies that you support are indicative of your own identity, which is why POC are extremely selective in where they are spending and, in many cases, would rather spend more for the brands they love. Cheryl Grace, Senior VP of U.S Strategic Community Alliances and Consumer Engagement stated, “research shows that Black consumer choices have a ‘cool factor’.” This ‘cool factor’ influences both the minority communities and mainstream culture. The statistics below illustrate the importance of culture and representation within this minority group. 

  • 87% of African Americans believe recognition of their culture is important 
  • 38% are more likely to purchase ads that include POC 
  • 55% are more likely to purchase products from a business that is minority-owned or endorsed

Social Responsibility 

Holding brands accountable and ensuring they do their part to give back is very important to African American consumers. 42% of African Americans expect their favorite brands to support social causes which significantly higher than other ethnic groups that fall under 20%. Over the past few years, there have been several instances where brands have failed people of color, such as the controversial Gucci ad that was shown to be racially insensitive. Brands who are inclusive and support causes such as giving back to underprivileged communities or taking a stand in political and socio-economic issues receive more support from POC than other races. 

Going Digital

“Campaigns targeted to Black consumers guarantee reach against this influential audience and exceed engagement benchmarks by over 70%.”

54% of African Americans have lived their life entirely in the digital age compared to 31% of U.S Hispanics and 42% of non-Hispanic Whites. They also spend a lot more time on their devices than other ethnicities and are engaged on social media. In fact, ‘Black Twitter’, an online community and subgroup within Twitter’s social media platform, is known for being at the forefront of brands’ social media campaigns. In fact, Esther Akinola stated that “Black Twitter users are more likely to engage with content than any other demographic.” Brands are beginning to notice the creativity and impact that Black Twitter users have and often times snatch these ideas for monetary gain. They’re online engagement and reach is extremely powerful in the marketing world and brands are beginning to realize this.

Twitter Marketing highlights the power of #BlackTwitter

As the world becomes more diverse, it is imperative that brands stay educated and continue to pay attention to cultural values and trends as they will help increase engagement and sales within the minority groups.