African-Americans Display Above-Average Device Ownership and Usage

September 25, 2018

“African Americans are on the cutting edge of household device ownership.” So says Nielsen in a report, “From Consumers to Creators: The Digital Lives of Black Consumers,” [download page] which does indeed find above-average ownership of a variety of technology devices among African-American households.

African-Americans outpaced non-Hispanic Whites and the total population in ownership of each of the 9 devices identified, including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and streaming devices.

Some of the larger gaps were observed for gaming consoles, owned by two-thirds (66%) of African-American households, compared to half (51%) of the total population. In fact, 73% of African-Americans ages 13 and older are gamers, and 55% of them prefer to play on a console, a higher rate than the gamer population at-large (49%). The report notes, though, that “despite the large number of African American gamers, there is a lack of diversity and diverse stories within the games themselves and within gaming developers in the industry.”

The gaming industry is lagging the TV industry in that sense. Previous research from Nielsen indicates that broadcast TV ad spending focused on Black audiences has been surging, with the primary attributable reason being an increased diversity of programming on broadcast networks featuring mostly Black casts and/or leading actors.

African-Americans are also creating in many different areas, per this latest report, from high-profile websites to podcasts, music and film, with strong mainstream cultural influence.

African-Americans Are Heavy Device Users

The study points out that African-Americans have the second-youngest median age of any race/ethnicity, such that 54% have lived their entire lives in the digital age.

With that in mind, it may not be too surprising to see that African-Americans are heavy device users. They’re more apt than the general population to use their devices for messaging websites/apps (such as Facebook Messenger and Snapchat), video streaming services, discovery/ideation platforms (such as Instagram), audio streaming services, digital wallets and voice assistants.

Although African-Americans are traditionally heavy viewers of legacy TV, they’re also streaming video at high rates. Compared to non-Hispanic Whites, they’re 20% more likely to stream video via a internet-to-TV device on a weekly basis, 34% more likely to stream video to a smartphone, and 33% more likely to do so on a tablet.

African-Americans Are Tech Influencers

Six in 10 African-American adults agree that they’re fascinated by new technology, and 6 in 10 likewise agree that they enjoy learning about technology or electronics products from others. African-Americans can act as influencers, too: 56% agree that when they find a tech product they like, they typically recommend it to people they know.

Finally, they’re 36% more likely than non-Hispanic Whites to give others advice when they’re looking to buy tech products, and 33% more likely to say they often take the chance to discuss their knowledge of tech products with others.

The full report is available for download here.

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