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Major media ad spending has historically not been focused on Black American consumers, although that has been changing of late, particularly on broadcast TV. Advertisers would be wise not to miss out on the $1.2 trillion in spending power of Black Americans, which is disproportionately high in certain categories, per Nielsen data.

Nielsen looked at Black consumer spending in CPG categories during 2017, determining this demographic group’s share of total spending across several categories. It then ranked the top categories by Black consumer share of spend, which in some cases is considerably larger than their population share (14%).

In fact, there are 4 categories in which Black consumers account for more than one-fifth of total category spending:

  • Ethnic Hair & Beauty Aids (85.7%; $54.4 million in Black consumer spending);
  • Women’s Fragrances (22.4%; $152 million);
  • Feminine Hygiene (21%; $54.1 million); and
  • Men’s Toiletries (20.1%; $62 million).

The Personal Soap & Bath Needs category, where Black consumers account for 18.9% share of spending, rounds out the top 5. (See the above chart for the top 10.)

Black Women Fuel Spending

Black women are driving spending in several of these categories. In a report [download page] released last year, Nielsen found that Black women are 61% more likely to spend more dollars per buyer on Personal Soap & Bath Needs than non-Hispanic White females. They were more than twice as likely to spend more on a per-buyer basis on Ethnic Health and Beauty Aids, and 40% more likely to spend more on Men’s Toiletries.

In the report, Nielsen notes that Black women increasingly influence culture in several areas including fashion, being more likely than non-Hispanic White women to be influenced by what’s hot and what’s not, to agree their fashion style is trendy, and to buy brands that reflect their style.

Interestingly, Black women are more than twice as likely as non-Hispanic White women to agree that a celebrity endorsement might influence them to consider or buy a product, and likewise more than twice as likely to agree that when a celebrity designs a product, they’re more likely to buy it.

Where Multicultural Consumers Have the Most CPG Spending Influence

Returning to the latest data release, Nielsen reveals that multicultural consumers account for just over half of spending on Dry Vegetables and Grains (50.2%). More than 40% of spending on the Baby Food (42.8%) and Personal Soap & Bath Needs (41.6%) categories comes from multicultural consumers, a segment that includes African-Americans, Hispanic and Asian consumers, as well as those identifying as “Other.”

The full report is available for download here.

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