According to the 2017 Nielsen report “African-American Women: Our Science, Her Magic”, Black purchasing power is estimated to reach $1.5 trillion by 2021. The study further dives into the female segment as accounting for nearly 52% of the total Black population in the U.S. She is relatively young; about 35 years old, compared to the white female average age of 39. She is educated; 64% having enrolled in college after high school. She is unique; with complex characteristics and different needs to be met. Basically, she is magic.
Understanding the Black Matriarchy
Many of today’s African-American households are run by a matriarch, a family structure primarily led by women. This system leads females to become the main purchaser for the home in various categories. The Harvard Business Review states that women make the purchase decision for 94% of furniture, 92% of vacations, 91% of homes, 60% of cars and 51% of consumer electronics! Needless to say, she runs the show. They are the decision-makers and marketers need to be speaking with them.
Black women are social media mavens
We know these conversations need to be had, but where to have them? With over 80% of African American women owning smartphones and spending at least 5 hours per day on social networking sites, digital is a pretty safe bet. Nielsen reports that African-Americans are 44% more likely than Caucasian and Latino groups to interact with brands on social media or to use social networks to support companies and brands.
Social media platforms are places for brands to get intimate with their consumers; be witty, be vulnerable, and be honest. As the female cliché quips that ladies like to talk to gossip with their girlfriends, 43% of Black women say they like to share their opinions by posting ratings and review online. Word of mouth from members of the same community is a powerful tool to increase trial and awareness of bands aiming to enter into new markets.
Celebrate their Skin, Curves and Mind
With brands like Fenty creating a wave in the makeup space, it is clear that other products need to diversify their collection in order to cater to multicultural audiences. Being a woman of color is not a blanket statement. There are wide ranges of shades and shapes, and marketers have to go about this in a culturally relevant and socially conscious way. Clothing companies should be mindful of the models they chose, especially if their selection paints the same picture in each shot. After all, 52% of Black women say they buy products that are consistent with the image they would like to convey.
Nike’s recent Just Do It campaign featuring Serena Williams is a great example of a strong African American female who exemplifies courage and serves as a role model to young girls with big dreams. To appeal to more black female consumers, messaging and creative should show black females in a positive light, highlighting intelligence and independence. Celebrate her, for her achievements, and uplift her as she strives for more.
Authenticity: Staying True to Your Roots
Going natural isn’t just about hair. It’s about sticking to values and beliefs for women of color. Brands that speak with an authentic voice come off as more trustworthy than brands who try and toss in phrases from the Black vernacular in attempt to fit in. This can have an adverse effect, and with mishaps like the controversial H&M ad not too far from our memories, taking a chance is far too risky. That is why listening is so important for marketers and should be the first step before revamping any plans. Learn about the topics that black women care about and enter the conversation to do something about it.