African-American Households Shop More Frequently, Spend Less Per Trip

September 25, 2012

African-American consumers make more shopping trips per year than other households (162.5 vs. 151.5), but spend less per trip ($38.2 vs. $45.7), according to [download page] a September 2012 report from Nielsen. This suggests that African-American shoppers make quicker and smaller purchases based on short-term needs rather than on deal availability. In fact, African-American consumers report spending 20.8% of their shopping dollars on deals, versus 27% among other consumers. Overall, the annual “basket ring” dollars per household is $6,207.10 for African-American households and $6,922.40 for other households (11.5% more).

Younger African-American consumers spend more per trip than the $38 average. Generation Y (18-34) spends an average of $45 per trip, though this group makes the fewest trips per year (128). The Greatest Generation (65+) makes the most trips per year (185) but spends the least per trip, at $32. Baby Boomers (45-64) spend the most annually, at $6,475 (175 shopping trips; $37 per trip).

Black Consumers Less Favorable to Private Label Brands

The “African-American Consumers: Still Vital, Still Growing 2012” report, a collaboration between Nielsen and the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), reveals that fewer Black households (31%) than White Non-Hispanic (35%) households feel strongly that private label brands are just as good as branded items. As a result, Black households devote slightly less overall of their expenditures to private brands (18% vs. 18.7% share, respectively).

The lower private label share may be a result of lesser availability in the smaller retail channels (e.g. drug stores) where Black consumers make more trips (15.7 annually per household, compared to 14.2 among non-African-Americans). Or, it may indicate stronger brand loyalty among Black households or a combination of the two factors.

The Nielsen report distinguishes between Black and African-American populations – while African-Americans are 88.8% of the Black population, the Black population also includes, for example, those of Sub-Saharan descent.

African-Americans Use Their Smartphones for Product Research

Further data from the report indicates that African-American consumers are avid users of smartphones for product research.

Among those, 68% reported researching shopping information using a search engine, while 64% say they have visited a retail site or app (64%). A significant proportion also read product reviews (61%), look up prices to compare (57%), visit a shopping site or app (50%) or look for a coupon to download (38%).

This suggests that there is an opportunity for marketers to engage African-American smartphone owners on their smartphones before they embark on their frequent shopping trips. This is not a small demographic either: the report finds that smartphone adoption among the African-American population has risen from 33% to 54% in the past year, which puts it right around the 55.5% estimated average as of July 2012.

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