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African American Consumers Are Powerful Digital Users

December 13, 2012

The history of the internet has been brief, not gaining power in its marketing initiatives until the mid-1990s. Today websites are becoming extensions of traditional media outlets, such as Radio, Television and Print. For an advertiser, it is crucial to create opportunities that increase revenue by tailoring marketing campaigns that speak directly to various consumer and demographic groups. For example, African Americans in particular, make up roughly 27 million of the online consumer base, who spend nearly one-third of their time on the internet, with a buying power that is expected to exceed $1 trillion in 2012.

Before you begin the process of crafting a successful promotion, it is important for advertisers to obtain a clear understanding of the African American online consumer and their behaviors. Once believed to be behind in technology, African American consumers are more in tune with what the world-wide web has to offer. There are five key elements in understanding the African American online consumer.

African American online consumers are:

  1. Heavy users of various social media, video and mobile outlets
  2. Very outspoken within their community and use the web to be heard
  3. Passionate users of various search engines
  4. Using the web to research products and services prior to the point of purchase
  5. More open to digital marketing, looking for ad content that is truly significant to their lifestyles and that speaks to them directly

Recently, a study was conducted to review the media habits of African American online consumers in the U.S.  As a result, African American consumers performed higher than the average in major online activities. For example, African American Men are 19% more likely than the average U.S. Adult to monitor investments and stocks online and 16% more likely to read technology news online. The study also found that 63% of African American Adults made purchases online and 21% downloaded coupons online.

As African American online consumers continue to break down the digital boundary regarding their technology habits, it is essential for advertisers to become creative with campaigns and promotions that speak directly to this prime and valuable consumer.

-Nicole Somerville, Sales Research Consultant

Source: Nielsen, Ecommerce, Q4 2011, May 2012