African-Americans Prove Particularly Receptive to Advertising

March 5, 2014

Experian-African-American-Attitudes-to-Advertising-Mar2014African-American consumers are more likely than the average American to consider a range of advertising types as purchase influencers, while being less likely to rely on word-of-mouth, finds Experian Marketing Services in a new study. Advertising’s influence spans online and offline channels: for example, African-Americans are 39% more likely to purchase products they see advertised on their cell phones, while also being more likely to refer to various in-store tactics, such as advertising on the floor. In fact, 11.5% of African-American consumers say they always refer to advertising on the floor, making them 52% more likely to than the average consumer to do so.

Aside from mobile ads – which they’re 86% more likely to be interested in receiving – African-Americans are 28% more likely to purchase products advertised on a social media site. And while they may not be as influenced by their acquaintances, they do over-index in their use of social media as a vehicle for sharing information about companies and products they like.

As for African-Americans’ shopping attitudes, the study shows that African-Americans are willing to experiment with new retailers, but also will remain committed to preferred ones. That is, they’re 77% more likely than average to go out of their way to find new stores to shop at, but they’re also 46% more likely to be willing to travel up to an hour or more to shop at their favorite stores.

Overall, African-American households account for an estimated $156.9 billion in discretionary spending. That equates to about 8.7% of the nationwide total, a relatively smaller figure then their population share (12% according to this study, 14% according to the Census Bureau). (By comparison, Experian estimates that Hispanics total roughly $193 billion in discretionary spend, or about 10.9% share of nationwide spend, while they make up about 17% of the population.)

Across the country, 1.4% of households are African-Americans with annual household incomes of at least $100,000. The top DMAs for these households are Washington, DC., New York, NY, and Atlanta, GA. Clearly – given other research on the topic – DC attracts a wealthy crowd.

Despite African-Americans’ sizable numbers and favorable response to advertising, just 3% of major media ad spending is targeted to them, according to a recent study from Nielsen.

About the Data: The data found in the Experian report is based on the Spring 2013 Simmons Connect study, a comprehensive survey of 24,374 U.S. adults, including 2,101 African Americans.

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