African American Millennials 1/4 Of Black Population

A recent report from Nielsen highlights African-Americans’ economic and cultural gains and continues to shine a spotlight on how African-American Millennials are forging ahead in their use of technology and social media to raise awareness and evoke a national discussion on civic and political issues.

As African-Americans, particularly younger Millennials, continue to develop and expand their influence on mainstream America, companies are making changes to reach this culture-rich group with unique, captivating campaigns, as well as products and services that meet their needs.

African-Americans continue to represent a significant percentage of growth in the U.S. population, says the Nielsen report. Having grown 21% between 2004 and 2014, the U.S. Black population is currently at 46.3 million (14% of the total U.S. population), according to the most recent U.S. Census information. 

There are 83.1 million Millennials currently in the U.S. and of which African-American Millennials comprise 14% (about 11.5 million), says the report, and comprise 25% (about 11.4 million) of the total Black population.

PR Daily, in a recent report on this subject, proposes that, for marketing pros who seek to tap into this ethnically diverse and complex audience, Nielsen’s latest report “Young, connected and black” suggests examining one niche in particular: African-American millennials. To foster a more productive and successful connection with these consumers, consider the following approaches, says the PR report.

African-American millennials are 25% more likely than other millennials to say they’re the first in their group of friends to try new technology.

Cheryl Grace, Nielsen's senior vice president of U.S. strategic community alliances and consumer engagement, points out that “… black millennials are leading the way in their use of technology to impact change and get their voices heard… marketers can leverage technology to raise their engagement with, and visibility among, these digitally empowered persuaders through increased ad spends and promotion of video content on social [media] sites…” This is often far less expensive than traditional print and television advertising, opines the report.

To hook black millennials, the messages and images must be authentic, says the report. Executives can reach this culture-rich group with captivating campaigns, as well as by tailoring their products and services to meet that group’s unique needs. A few specific interests to note from the report are:

  • Trend-setting black consumers are influencing the U.S. mainstream in profound and far-reaching ways when it comes to social media usage, television programming diversification, sports viewing, technology adoption and social activism.
  • Led by tech-savvy millennials, African-Americans have become adept at using digital platforms and apps to communicate, to leverage social media to increase the national consciousness with regard to issues affecting the black community, and to effect change.
  • More than 90% of African-American millennials own smartphones, data show. That same number of African-Americans say they access the internet exclusively on their mobile devices an increase from 86% in 2015. As this number increases, data suggest marketers should consider these consumers digital leaders.
  • Since African-American millennials over-index for learning about technology and electronic products from others, discussing and giving others advice about technology, and recommending technology products to people they know, campaigns using brand ambassadors should be considered when developing growth strategies.
  • Watching TV and movies is the primary way that African-Americans spend their time, says the report. Black viewers are helping to elevate up-and-coming black celebrities and programs, which are at the forefront of a trend towards diversity in television, movies and other media forms. More than 60% of black millennials agree that they feel really good about seeing celebrities in the media who share their ethnic background.
  • The Nielsen data suggest 55% of black millennials spend at least one hour per day on social media sites, which is 6% more than all millennials. Nearly 30% reported spending at least three hours a day, which is 9% higher than others.
  • 64% of black millennials say they keep their personal internet pages updated. Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are the most common social media sites, with strong black membership across all age ranges.

Continuing, Mia Scott from Nielsen, Robin Beaman and Shawn Tayler from Beamatic, write about additional highlights from the Nielsen report, pointing out that with $162 billion in buying power and undisputed cultural influence, Black Millennials are using their power to successfully raise awareness of issues facing the Black community and influence decisions shaping our world. Media and brands are taking notice, creating campaigns and content that target this increasingly influential demographic with greater ad spends and more diverse programming.

The 2016 report, they note, delves into the spending and viewing habits of African-Americans overall and credits a voracious appetite for television content with the dramatic increase in diverse television programming. Between 2011 and 2015, broadcast network TV ad spend focused on Black audiences (defined as ad dollars placed on programming with greater than 50% Black viewers) increased by 255%. The Top 10 TV shows among Black Millennials 18–24 and Blacks 35+ all had predominately Black casts or lead actors who are key to the storyline.

Some other key highlights from the report include:

  • African-American Millennials watch nearly 33 hours of live and DVR time-shifted television per week, about 12 and half more hours per week than total Millennials.
  • African-American Millennials spend about two hours more per week (eight hours and 29 minutes versus six hours and 28 minutes) using the internet on PCs, and about an hour more weekly (three hours and 47 minutes versus two hours and 33 minutes) watching video on PCs than total Millennials.
  • Overall Black spending power is projected to reach $1.4 trillion by 2020.
  • From 2004 – 2014 the number of Black households with annual incomes of $50,000 - $75,000 increased 18% compared to 2% for the total U.S. For Black households earning $100,000+ annually, the increase between 2004 and 2014 was 95%, compared with 66% for the total population.
  • The share of Black households with an income less than $25,000 declined from 43% in 2004 to 37% of the total African-American population in 2014.

For more details and insights, please download the 2016 Nielsen report here.



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