Women Drive African-American Purchases

September 26, 2011

nielsen-african-american-women-as-primary-decision-makers-sept11.gifWomen see themselves as the primary drivers of a variety purchases in the African-American consumer demographic, according to [download page] a report released in September 2011 by The Nielsen Company. Data from “The State of the African-American Consumer” indicates the category with the largest gap in whether women see themselves or men as the primary purchase drivers is health/beauty, with 77% of women saying they are the primary drivers and only 1% saying men are the primary drivers.

While there are no categories where men are seen as the primary purchase drivers (automobiles/other transportation has the highest rating for men being the primary drivers, 20%), there are few categories where a large percentage say men and women have equal influence on purchase decisions. These are locations for social activities (women 50% and men/women equally 47%), personal electronics (women 47% and men/women equally 41%) and automobiles/other transportation (women 49% and men/women equally 31%).

African-Americans Spend Less Per Trip in Major Channels

nielsen-african-american-spend-per-trip-sep-20111.JPGExamining the average amount spent per trip in major retail channels by African-Americans compared to non-African-Americans, the study finds African-Americans spend less per trip on average in many channels.

For example, African-Americans average $52.60 per trip in the supercenter channel, 16% less than the non-African-American average of $62.50.

In addition, African-Americans spend an average of $34.10 per trip to grocery stores, 18% less than the $41.80 spent by non-African-Americans. The gap is narrower in per-trip spend averages in the mass merchandiser (5%) and drug store (12%) channels.

African-Americans Shop More

nielsen-african-american-trips-sep-2011.JPGOne possible reason for African-Americans spending less per trip in many retail channels is that they average more annual shopping trips than other ethnic groups. African-American households average 165.7 annual shopping trips per household, 8% more than the 153 average annual shopping trips of other households.

Meanwhile, the average basket ring dollars spent per year by African-American households is $6,138, 11% less than the $6,883 spent per year by other households. Per trip, African-American households have an average basket ring of $37, 18% less than the $45 spent by other households.

Interestingly, African-American households are less deal-prone than other households, spending an average of 20.9% of their purchase dollars on deals, 20% less than the 26.3% of other households’ purchase dollars spent on deals.

High-Income African Americans Spend More than Other High-Income Households

While African-Americans show the same product category preferences, those with household earnings greater than $100,000 tend to make fewer trips and spend 41% more per trip than the average household in this group. Additionally, higher earning African-Americans patronize major retail chains with higher regularity and go to convenience and dollar stores at a much-reduced level than the group average and spend 300% more in higher-end retail grocers like Whole Foods than other high income households.

Other Findings

  • African-American consumers devote a lower dollar share of their total consumer-packaged-goods spending to store brands (17.7% compared to 18.3% for White non-Hispanic).
  • 46% of African-Americans agree/strongly agree they always buy the brands they trust, compared to 36% of White Non-Hispanics.
  • The buying power of African-American consumers is projected to reach $1.1 trillion by 2015.

Young Consumers Increasingly Multicultural

By January 2012, Nielsen estimates released in June 2011 predict that almost half (45%) of the 12-24 market will be multicultural. In contrast, only 37% of the 25-54 market and 24% of the 55-plus market will be multicultural.Breaking down the expected 2012 cultural mix of the 12-24 market by ethnicity, 55% will be white (non-Hispanic), 22% will be Hispanic, 15% will be African-American, and 6% will be Asian.

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