Affluent African Americans Wield $29.8B in Spending Power

September 12, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

African-American | Household Income | Retail & E-Commerce | Travel & Hospitality

The purchasing power of Affluent African Americans in the US – those with minimum individual annual incomes of $75K – is estimated at $29.8 billion, according to a study by Uptown Magazine and Diversity Affluence.

The study, which examined behaviors, attitudes, opinions and spending patterns of this wealthy demographic, also found that fashion and luxury brands, targeted advertising and personalized service are increasingly important to affluent African Americans.

Key findings:

  • Affluent African Americans most often read the The New York Times and Wall Street Journal newspapers, as well as magazines BusinessWeek and Newsweek, Jet and The Economist.


  • 50% go out for fine dining and more than 25% go to clubs/bars at least once a week.
  • More than 20% go clothes shopping at least once a week. Men focus their fashion spending on career wear, casual wear and shoes, while women spend on purses and shoes.
  • 75% shop in higher-end, specialty department stores, and 66% shop in traditional department stores.?Outlets and “last chance” stores also are popular destinations, suggesting that even affluent shoppers look for bargains.


  • Luxury bottled water and wine (both domestic and imported) are the beverages of choice, though other high-end beverages are frequently consumed.
  • More than 10% travel on business at least once a week and about one quarter shop during business travel.
  • More than 70% have a passport and have used it on international travel in the past year. About one-third travel internationally at least three times a year and one-tenth travel internationally at least every other month.
  • Nearly 10% plan to buy or lease a new vehicle in the next three months, and more than one-quarter more expect to do so in the next year.
  • Luxury sedans are the most common current and future vehicle types preferred. Those who own mid-range and economy vehicles are looking to trade up in their next purchase or lease to a more prestigious option.
  • While more than 60% have gym or fitness center memberships and one-third have home gyms, nearly 40% wish they were doing more to stay fit.
  • 65% participate in cardio exercise and 57% participate in resistance/weight training to stay fit. About one-third jog, speed-walk or practice Yoga or Pilates. Another fifth say they run, swim or play tennis on a regular basis.
  • Affluent African Americans are looking for insider information to satisfy their need for new social experiences. They see themselves as resources for friends and colleagues on what’s new and like to treat themselves to the very best and indulge in conveniences.
  • Nearly 30% make the majority of their living through entrepreneurial activities, and another 10% aspire to do so in the next five years.

“Affluent African Americans are an educated, sizeable and often untapped opportunity for luxury brands,” said Leonard Burnett, co-CEO and?group publisher of Uptown Media.

About the study: The research comprised a national online survey and a series of regional focus groups in Atlanta, Chicago, and Washington, DC from March?to July 2008. The respondent mix was 35% male and 65% female; 68% were single and 32% were married or committed.

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