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data on African American consumers
Black Buying Power:
$679 Billion (2004)
Black U.S. Population:
Top Five Black Cities
- New York
Top Five Black Metros:
- New York-New Jersey
- Los Angeles
Top Five Expenditures:
- Housing 110.2 bil.
- Food 53.8 bil.
- Cars/Trucks 28.7 bil.
- Clothing 22.0 bil.
- Health Care 17.9 bil.
Click here for more stats from "The Buying Power of
Get quick access to key
Click here to go to African-American Census Bureau
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Chicago, IL 60604
Study looks at habits of
African-American students as consumers
By Eric Weil
African-American college students demonstrate high levels of media
consumption, enthusiastically embrace technology and are active consumers,
the latest Student Monitor national survey of college undergraduates
reveals. Black collegians also are socially conscious and highly motivated
to achieve professional goals and to continue their education beyond the
The Student Monitor findings are based on professionally administered,
one-on-one interviews conducted among full-time undergraduate students
attending 100 representative colleges and universities throughout the
country. The study's margin of error is 2.3 percent.
African-American college students consume a broad range of various
forms of electronic and print media. Not surprisingly, females report
viewing 4 percent more television in a typical week than do males (16.6
hours compared to 16 hours among males). Nearly 8 in 10 have cable or
satellite service on the television they watch most often; not
surprisingly, all five of their favorite networks are cable-based (BET,
ESPN, HBO, MTV and Lifetime). Nearly 1 in 3 also report watching their
campus-based television network.
More than 4 in 10 (43 percent) report reading at least one nationally
distributed newspaper in the past week with USA TODAY and The New York
Times being named the most commonly read national newspapers (23 percent
and 17 percent respectively). About a third report reading the online
version of a national newspaper as well (somewhat higher among males, 35
percent compared to 30 percent among females).
The local campus newspaper is also a favorite among African-American
undergrads. In fact, about 1 in 7 report reading all of the last 5 issues
of their campus newspaper and 3 in 4 report reading at least 1 issue of
the last 5 issues. Readership actually increases with each year in school
ranging from an average of 1.5 issues among freshmen to 2.5 issues among
Ebony, Vibe, Essence, Seventeen, ESPN The Magazine, Black Enterprise,
Sports Illustrated and Cosmopolitan are the magazines most commonly read.
Nearly 8 in 10 (77 percent) African-American undergrads own a personal
computer (78 percent among males and 77 percent among females). Students
attending private schools are more likely than students attending public
schools to own a personal computer (84 percent compared to 75 percent).
Multiple computer ownership is on the rise with an average of 1.6
computers owned among student computer owners.
Males demonstrate a preference for desktops while females are more likely
to own notebook computers. In most cases (36 percent) students report
their parents purchased their computers for them while the next largest
group (29 percent) report they purchased their own. Students most often
purchase their computers online from a manufacturer such as Dell or Apple.
The next largest group of students report purchasing their computers from
an off-campus consumer electronics store such as Circuit City.
When it comes to making a computer purchase decision, what's most
important to both male and female students is "price", "service/support
warranty" and a "special offer or promotion." On average, males paid
nearly 20 percent more than females for their computers ($992 compared to
$833. Purchasers of desktops paid an average of $912 while notebook buyers
paid an average of $1,138. More than half of all computer purchases (55
percent) were made in the four-month period June through
Not surprisingly, the Internet is an important element of students' lives.
In fact, more than 8 in 10 (85 percent) go on the Internet daily or more
often, spending an average of 17 hours a week online (18 percent higher
among males at nearly 19 hours). "Checking grades" (79 percent), "complete
a class assignment" (58 percent) and "get help with homework/research
question" (55 percent) are the most common reasons students go online.
Additionally, more than 4 in 10 (higher among females at 59 percent) went
online in the past month to "look or apply for internships or jobs". About
4 in 10 females (41 percent) and 1 in 3 males (31 percent)
"instant-messaged a classmate regarding a class assignment" and about 1 in
7 "edited a digital photograph".
Facebook.com (49 percent) and BlackPlanet.com (35 percent) are the most
commonly visited, student-related websites among African-American college
students. Six in 10 (but two-thirds among females) used Google in the past
month – equal to the finding for Yahoo! Students average 2.7 email
addresses and are more likely to use a Yahoo! email address as their
primary email address than their school-provided email address (38 percent
compared to 23 percent).
Students as Consumers
Nearly 6 in 10 (higher among females) made an online purchase in the
past year and 14 percent purchased a textbook online. More than 6 in 10
students (among females, 74 percent) used an IM application in the past
month and AOL Instant Messenger is by far students' favorite (42 percent
among males and 37 percent among females). About two-thirds of males (65
percent) and more than 8 in 10 females (85 percent) report they downloaded
unlicensed music or movies in the past month.
Forty-one percent of male students and 36 percent of female students
report purchasing fewer than 100 percent of their required textbooks this
semester. Among this group of students, the most commonly reported reasons
include "can't afford the cost of a new book" (45 percent), "shared the
book with someone else" (40 percent) and "professor doesn't use the book
Students spent an average of $318.60 for the 5.1 textbooks they purchased
last semester and nearly 8 in 10 (77 percent) purchased most of their
textbooks from their "on-campus bookstore." More than 4 in 10 (46 percent)
report they are aware of e-books but only 8 percent of those have ever
purchased an e-book.
When asked how they prefer to learn about products and services, 53
percent mention "word of mouth/friends", 39 percent mention "television
advertising" and nearly an equal number, 37 percent, mention "an email
sent to me." In monthly spending, more than half of all students purchased
books or magazines not required for class and spent an average of $24.50.
Two- thirds (67 percent) of students spent an average of $46.30 for eating
on campus and 93 percent spent an average of $65.60 for eating off campus.
Favorite shopping sites, Old Navy (40 percent), Gap (28 percent) and
Victoria's Secret (25 percent), were visited in the past month. In fact,
44 percent of all females shopped at Victoria's Secret in the past month.
More than 3 in 4 (77 percent) purchased jeans in the past 6 months, and
about 6 in 10 (59 percent) purchased athletic shoes or sneakers. Nearly 6
in 10 females purchased cosmetics, spending an averageof $28.30. Nearly 3
in 4 females (72 percent) purchased fragrance spending an average of $48.
Nearly 1 in 3 (29 percent) own a digital still camera and 1 in 5 (20
percent) plan to purchase a digital still camera in the next 12 months.
Half of all males (50 percent) and 41 percent of females own a video game
console system such as Sony Playstation2 or Microsoft Xbox, and 21 percent
plan to purchase a video game console system. Cellular telephones are a
common element of students' digital lifestyle, with 90 percent reporting
ownership of a cellular telephone. Cingular Wireless (23 percent) and
Verizon Wireless (19 percent) are the cellular providers used most often
by African-American college students.
About 4 in 10 students (37 percent among males and 45 percent among
females) have a Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit card
in their own name.
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