Yesterday Senior Vice President of U.S. Strategic Community Alliances and Consumer Engagement, Nielsen, Cheryl Grace and Congresswoman Maxine Waters released the findings of African-American Women: Our Science, Her Magic, a special installment in the Nielsen Report Diverse Intelligence series, at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in Washington, D.C. Black spending power is expected to be 1.5 trillion by 2021, partly due to Black women’s preferences and brand loyalty.
In their press release, it states that this new report, “paints a portrait of Black women as trendsetters, brand loyalists and early adopters who care about projecting a positive self-image. They are playing an increasingly vital role in how all women see themselves and influencing mainstream culture across a number of areas, including fashion, beauty, television and music. Young, independent and 24.3 million strong, Black women comprise 14% of all U.S. women and 52% of all African-Americans. Relatively young with an average age of 35.1 years (versus 42.8 for non-Hispanic White women and 39.4 for all women), they have enjoyed steady growth in population, incomes and educational attainment. Sixty-four percent enroll in college right out of high school and 23% over age 25 have a bachelor’s degree or higher (up from 18% in 2005).
‘Black women have strong life-affirming values that spill over into everything they do. The celebration of their power and beauty is reflected in what they buy, watch and listen to, and people outside their communities find it inspiring,” says Cheryl Grace, Senior Vice President of U.S. Strategic Community Alliances and Consumer Engagement, Nielsen. “Understanding how Black women’s values affect their buying decisions has long been a marketing necessity. Now, marketers must also recognize the intercultural influence of Black women on the general market as an increasingly vital part of how all women see themselves, their families and the rest of the world.’”
With the findings of the report now published, we had some questions of our own for Ms. Grace. Read our quick Q&A below.
Fancy: Could this new insight from the Nielsen Report help to increase the possibility of more business funding assistance and investing for Black, women owned businesses?
Ms: Grace: It’s important to look beyond the sheer number of new business started by Black women and pay close attention to the influence and impact Black women wield as a whole over brand preferences, viewing habits and where people spend their money cross-culturally. That kind of credibility is valuable not only to retailers and marketers but also to institutions and high net worth individuals looking to invest in diverse suppliers. Black women entrepreneurs similarly benefit from Nielsen research if their target audience is primarily African American. They can also refer to it when called upon to make the business case for investment in their business ventures.
Fancy: We all have heard African-Americans in the television and film industry discuss the lack of opportunities. Will these new findings help to change any of that?
Ms. Grace: It’s already changing. We’re seeing a lot of content that leans into the African American experience right now. Ad spends on shows with greater than 50% Black viewership is up 255%. And African Americans aren’t the only ones watching. Nielsen data shows that programming with Black leads has mainstream appeal. That insight is important for content creators, as well as manufacturers and retailers looking to create engaging, high-impact advertising campaigns.
What’s more, there is less reliance on traditional pathways into the industry. Today if you have a really good idea and a great following, you can design your own director’s chair. Just look at people like Issa Rae, who moved from the Web to television, and the impact of folks like Shonda Rhymes. Because of “Grey’s Anatomy,” we got “Scandal” and “How to Get Away with Murder”. Those shows paved the way for “Blackish” on ABC and “Empire” on FOX. The proliferation of Black content shows money is being made and networks will continue to follow the prototype.
Fancy: Does this type of information leave us more vulnerable to exploitation as a community?
Ms. Grace: Having an independent, third-party enumerate the power and influence of Black consumers moves us closer to getting more of the type of products and services we want and need in our households and communities. As a consumer, you always have a choice. Information is power, and that’s why we’re not only sharing this data with our clients, we’re sharing it with the public.
To view the highlights of the report click here.
In 2011, Nielsen launched the Diverse Intelligence Series, a robust portfolio of comprehensive reports that focus solely on diverse consumers’ unique consumption and purchasing habits. The series has become an industry resource to help brands better understand and reach ethnic customers. To learn more about Nielsen’s Diverse Intelligence research series, visit www.nielsen.com.