Black Consumers Have Brokered a Seat at the Table

Through the use of social media African American spending power is charting the path forward for consumer brands. Will companies be able to build and strengthen their relationships with black consumers through culturally sensitive and socially conscious products?

Why This Matters: Jay-Z wasn’t lying when he said “We are the culture. Nothing moves without us.” Nielsen’s research shows black consumers are tastemakers when it comes to setting the tone for mainstream brand choices. “Our research shows that black consumer choices have a ‘cool factor’ that has created a halo effect, influencing not just consumers of color but the mainstream as well,” according to Cheryl Grace, Senior VP at Nielsen,

Over the course of the past year, we saw several examples of what can go wrong when black consumers perceive a brand to be culturally insensitive and inauthentic. Pepsi and Dove both took a lot of heat on social media for ads they ultimately had to pull off the air. Self-inflicted wounds like these are not what brands can afford, when black consumers make up 14% of the population and have major influence on spending. With luxury items like watches black people account for $60 million of the $385 million in overall spending. As for women’s fragrances they represent $151 million of a $679 million industry.

Situational Awareness: There are three black CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, none of which are consumer goods brands. So, while black people influence decisions at these companies at the grassroots level, there’s still room for leadership improvement that reflects this large consumer group.

CBx Vibe: “F.U.B.U”, Solange