BET: Population, Spending Skyrocketing for African Americans


The results of the 2010 U.S. Census won't be available until December, but preliminary data suggests the African-American population is growing at a faster rate than the rest of the general population. Perhaps more importantly, it has become apparent that African-American consumers are commanding more buying power than ever before.

According to a comprehensive new BET study, the number of African-American citizens is expected to rise by 13.4 percent from the 2000 Census, to 42 million people. Over the course of the first eight years of the previous decade, African-American buying power increased 55 percent to $913 billion; by 2013, that figure is expected to shoot up another 36 percent to $1.24 trillion.

As a segmentation study, BET's "African Americans Revealed" report looks to dispel the prevailing attitudes that lump black consumers into one homogeneous demographic. Among the many aspects of the African-American experience that the initiative touches on are: family dynamics, tech savvy/adoption, spirituality and education.

The Viacom network last week unveiled the results of the study in an early-morning gathering of media buyers, clients and demographers. Louis Carr, BET's president of media sales, said the presentation was designed to get the conversation started, a catalyst meant to spark a number of substantive conversations with BET's sponsor partners.

"We’re looking to establish the idea that we can offer boundless opportunities for sponsors to connect with the African-American marketplace," Carr said, adding that the study provides a wealth of information about consumer behaviors that are often overlooked.

For example, based on a panel of 10,000 women age 18 and up, African-Americans account for 11 percent of all health and beauty purchases, with an average annual spend of $1,284 per woman. That outstrips the general population's average yearly investment ($1,012 a piece).

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