*African Americans rank second among every consumer group in the nation – spending trillions each year collectively. However, there was a $7 million decline in investment to reach Black people via television in 2018 despite the fact they are spending more time watching TV and streaming shows than the general public, reports the Huffington Post.
In addition, it appears that certain prominent brands have consistently failed black people. Whether it be a luxury brand like Gucci selling a blackface sweater or a fast-food company like Wendy’s co-opting Black language and phrases, corporations aren’t listening to the demographic with the second-largest spending power in the country.
That’s proven by Nielsen’s latest report, “It’s in the Bag: Black Consumers’ Path to Purchase.” The report, released Thursday, highlights how media engagement, spending habits, lifestyle interests and more economic advancements have made Black people a key population that helps stimulate the U.S. economy.
“This year, we wanted to help brands and marketers understand the multi-faceted process Blacks take to buy the products they buy,” said Cheryl Grace, Nielsen’s senior vice president of community alliances and consumer engagement and co-creator of the Diverse Intelligence Series Report, in a statement. “There are several drivers; but culture is at the center of them all. Further, with their love for technology, they are much more savvy and conscious consumers. They are, as we say, ‘woke.’ They pay attention to how companies are speaking to them. As they spend more, they want more for themselves and from the brands they support.”
Nielsen’s study shows Black Americans are more likely than the total population to agree that ads provide meaningful information. However, money spent on advertising to Black consumers decreased by 5 percent between 2017 and 2018.
“Right now there is a grand total of about $18 billion of $84 billion overall being spent on advertising focused on African Americans through media. That’s a decline from the year over a year,” Grace said. “We’re watching more, but brands are spending less to reach us. It’s a problem.”
Grace told HuffPost this is why it’s vital to create programming and ads inclusive of Black people’s voices. “When you have a level playing field and you allow us to participate, we’re gonna react and we’re generally gonna do it a little bit larger than total population has allowed,” she said. “So that niche content is really very critical.”