NEW YORK The growing number of African immigrants in the U.S. represents a cultural market that is largely untapped.
These consumers, who wield an estimated $50 billion in purchasing power, maintain connections to their friends and families in their native countries as well as preserving native traditions in areas such as food, music and entertainment.
So says a comprehensive study by multicultural research firm New American Dimensions, in conjunction with the U.S. African Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Bruce Corrie, the Minneapolis Foundation and Aguilar Productions.
From multiple focus groups in Los Angeles, New York and Minneapolis, and a four-market quantitative survey of 393 African immigrant adults in California; Minnesota; Washington, D.C.; and New York, the study aimed to capture unique insights into the daily lives and thoughts of this group.
• Within the larger African immigrant consumer market in the United States, there is a unique Islamic market segment that is similarly untapped. Marketers have an opportunity to deliver culturally appropriate products to this sub-segment, such as in the food and beverage category.
• African immigrants often shop around for the right price and the right product. Younger shoppers are more prone to shopping for products recommended by family and friends. Supermarkets top the list of stores frequented by African immigrants.
• Most African immigrants have their own checking and savings accounts, and about two-thirds have credit cards.
• E-mail and international calls are heavily used for maintaining ties with relatives and friends. Younger Africans are also the most frequent visitors to Internet social groups.
• African immigrants spend more hours watching English-language media than African-language media, most likely because of availability of in-language options. Overall, CNN headed the list of favorite English-language TV channels, followed by ABC, Fox and NBC, while Yahoo and Facebook ranked at the top of the list of favorite Web sites.
“There are over 1.4 million Africans living in the U.S., and these consumers possess very high educational attainment and incomes,” noted David Morse, president and CEO of Los Angeles-based New American Dimensions. “Additionally, this is a segment with a powerful sense of identity and pride in being African.”
“This is a growing consumer segment within the multicultural market — one that cannot be overlooked,” added Martin Mohammed, president of the Washington-based U.S. African Chamber of Commerce, the leading advocate organization for African businesses and entrepreneurs.