‘We Get Tech”: Nielsen’s Latest Report On Black Economic Empowerment

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Written by Ann Brown

The tremendous buying power of African-American consumers has long been discussed and celebrated but how this power is used and should be used has been an ongoing debate.

When it comes to technology, African Americans aren’t merely buying — they are creating and changing the sector.

A new Nielsen reports shows how this power is growing, how Black consumers are using their voice, especially when it comes to tech, and how Black tech consumers are becoming the creators in that space.

“African American consumers are digitally savvy and entrepreneurial, expert content creators, and are more likely than consumers of other races to raise their voices on every subject from products to brand behavior to social justice,” Fortune reported.

The report, “From Consumers to Creators: The Digital Lives of Black Consumers,” is the eighth annual report in Nielsen’s Diverse Intelligence Series on African American consumers. It found that African-American households outpace all other demographics in mobile, tablet, smart TV, smart speaker, and gaming console ownership.

The buying power of African Americans is expected to rise from $1.3 trillion in 2017 to $1.54 trillion in 2022, outpacing the spending of the total national population, according to the in-depth and eye-opening report.

African-Americans have the highest buying power in Texas ($117 billion), New York ($116 billion), and California ($93 billion), with Georgia and Florida tied at $90 billion, Fortune reported.

The Nielsen report was authored by Cheryl Grace, Nielsen’s senior vice president for U.S. strategic community alliances and consumer engagement along with Andrew McCaskill, senior vice president of global communications and multicultural marketing, and Mia K. Scott-Aime, vice president of communications.

“Acutely aware of Black history and bounding toward a technology-enabled future, African Americans are leaning into the democratization of digital platforms to circumvent old standards of information and idea sharing as they demand more reciprocal commerce,” they write.

The new Neisen report isn’t just a presentation of numbers. It “makes the case that Black consumers, using an influence informed by identity and values, increasingly expect brands to earn their business by being authentic, socially aware, and responsible. (The section on Black Twitter is particularly compelling),” Fortune reported.

In 2017, Twitter and BET teamed up to study the Black Twitter phenomenon. In the Black Twitter chapter of the Nielsen report (beginning on Page 26 of the report), Twitter and BET share with Nielsen some of Black Twitter’s accomplishments and tips on how brands can successfully enter the space.

The Black tech consumer is vocal–very vocal. And the report points out that brands have to start recognizing not only the buying power of the Black consumer but also the voice of this demo.

“Through social media, Black consumers have brokered a seat at the table and are demanding that brands and marketers speak to them in ways that resonate culturally and experientially—if these brands want their business,” the authors of the report wrote.