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MEE Productions
Media Economics Group
Nia Enterprises
Salon Sense Magazine Sanders\Wingo
Target Market News
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The Media Audit
The Nielsen Company
U.S. Census Bureau
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 Black Stats          
Frequently requested data on African American consumers

Black Buying Power:
  $803 Billion (2008)

Black U.S. Population:
  41.1 million

Top Five Black Cities
  - New York
  - Chicago
  - Detroit
  - Philadelphia
  - Houston

Top Five Black Metros:
  - New York-New Jersey
  - Washington-Baltimore
  - Chicago-Gary
  - Los Angeles
  - Philadelphia

Top Five Expenditures:
 - Housing $166.3 bil.
 - Food $65.3 bil.
 - Cars/Trucks $31.5 bil.
 - Clothing $26.9 bil.
 - Health Care $23.9 bil.

Click here for more stats from "The Buying Power of Black America."
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U.S. Census 
Bureau Data

Click here to go to African-American Census Bureau data


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Marketers told their ideas about Black, Urban Gen Y consumers need update

By Karl Greenberg
(April 6, 2010) Three ads in the most recent issue of Vibe Magazine tell a story about marketing to urban African-American Millennials and how those consumers define themselves. One is a print ad for Heineken beer: a young African-American hipster relaxes with a Heineken, a woman's leg draped across the picture in the background, and the text: "Charisma. You can't buy it. You can't make it. And you sure can't fake it."

Another is for a new fashion collection by hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons: Russell Simmons ArgyleCulture, on sale at Macy's. The third, for Rocawear, is a pair of print ads showing toddlers in white-on-white sets, suggesting a fashion and architectural studio. "My grandmother was a science teacher; my mother is a genetic engineer. I am next," says one headline.

The text for the Heineken ad could be a caution sign on the hazard-strewn road to pitching young urban consumers. The later ads are both tracks hinting at where urban African-American self-identity is heading, and what it says about how they define themselves, and how a lot of marketers still think they define themselves.

At last week's marketing series, "The New Black. The New Urban," which took place at media mogul Damon Dash's DD172 center, the message was, indeed, that marketers can't make it by faking it or by relying on outdated notions about what African-American -- and more broadly, urban Millennials -- see when they look in the mirror.

At the event, sponsored by Alloy Access, the multi-cultural and urban division of Alloy Media and Marketing, Tru Pettigrew, president of Alloy Access, said the firm has been approached by big brands over the past year. He said they wondered why, despite their increasing media commitments to urban markets, 12- to-29-year-old African-Americans and urbanites were not buying.

"They were saying, 'What is happening with the African-American and urban space that is causing our brand metrics to decline? What's different about this generation? How do we speak to them?'," he said. "They are asking why it seems their brands are not as entrenched in their lives as they were 10 years ago."

Pettigrew and Andre Pinard, director of consumer insights at Alloy Access, said the answer is in how marketers are defining the segment: they are, he said, still taking an old-school approach, focusing on athletes and entertainers, repurposing general market creative and ignoring young urbanites' connectivity and influence, and the segment's "conscious march to change the broad perspective of what it means to be African-American youth."

Pinard said Alloy Access partnered with Harris Interactive last year to define the market, via a survey of over 2,000 people. He said the survey suggested that connectivity and openness were two drivers of urban identity. The firm had identified five others: expression, creativity, discovery, versatility and authenticity.

"Connectivity opened a space where like-minded individuals can create a movement, and Openness means acceptance of different cultures and attitudes," said Pinard, who added that the firm adopted -- and redefined -- the term "Urban Hustler."

"It means a drive, a work ethic, and striving to upward mobility. We found that urban is a mindset; it's not about ethnicity, and it's grounded in interests and aspirations. Urban consumers are go-getters, connectors, and trendsetters," said Pinard.

"We believe that this new black, urban mindset is about harnessing social capital. It's the notion that social currency relates to the size of your network." He said the symbolic battle between 50 Cent and Kanye West shows how "black and male" has changed. "The person who walked away as victor was Kanye, not 50 Cent, as one might have expected."

They suggest marketers establish a "trialogue" relationship with consumers. "Don't chase the clouds -- know what you are to this audience and stay true to that. Find out what is shared between your consumer and your brand and leverage that. Don't try to be something that you're not," said Pettigrew. "Finally, be true to your relationship: you have to be committed."

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 15th Annual Edition
'Buying Power of Black America' report breaks down billions in expenditures

(January 19, 2010) Black consumers are responding to tighter economic condition by focusing more of their spending on items and services that improve their homes and lifestyle. That's one of the trends revealed in the 15th annual report, "The Buying Power of Black America," published by Target Market News. The report analyzes spending for black households in 2008 and finds that African-Americans...
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