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

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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 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."
Get quick access to key
U.S. Census 
Bureau Data

Click here to go to African-American Census Bureau data


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Burger King to raise ad spending on black consumers after cutting black agency

(August 24, 2010) In an article appearing last week in the New York Times, Burger King executives announced that they were re-assigning advertising accounts handled by ethnic advertising agencies to general market agencies. The shift was being made because top executives at the quick service restaurant chain believe that younger African-American and Hispanic consumers don't necessarily view the world as ethnically divided, but rather as "a melting pot."

"We felt the right decision for Burger King is to address all our consumers as a whole, instead of taking a segmented approach," Leo Leon, vice president for marketing impact at the Burger King North American operations was quoted as saying.

UniWorld Group, which had for decades been Burger King's African-American agency of record, has seen its assignment diminish over the past years with Wunderman, a WPP agency, handling more and more of the advertising targeting black consumers. Hispanic-owned LatinWorks will have its assignment for Hispanic advertising re-assigned to Crispin Porter & Bogusky. According to the article, Burger King said UniWorld's field team members will be offered positions at Wunderman.

Executives at Burger King are also quoted as saying, now that the shift is being made, they intend to increase the dollars spent to advertise to blacks and Latinos by "more than 30 percent." However, industry figures show that Burger King has been cutting ad spending while their ethnic agencies handled ethnic marketing.

According to data from Nielsen's Ad Views, Burger King spent $8.7 million with black targeted media in 2008. That figure dropped by 27 percent in 2009 to $6.3 million. The biggest decline in actual dollars was in spot advertising purchased on urban radio stations and black-targeted cable TV programs.

Burger King's total advertising spend in 2009 was $401 million.

Ironically, the ad spending cuts in black-oriented advertising come at time when African-American consumers are spending slightly more per households on eating at fast food chains than their white counterparts.

According to "The Buying Power of Black America" report, Black consumers increased their spending at restaurants about five percent to $20.4 billion in 2008. About $1.1 billion is estimated to have been spent at Burger King by African-Americans.

Burger King is taking a decidedly different approach than the industry leader McDonald's to tapping into the billions of dollars represented by black consumers . While both restaurant chains have retained an African-American agency of record for about the same number of years, McDonald's continues to rely on Burrell Communications for strategy and creative targeting the African-American market. Burger King claims about a 22 percent share of the quick service restaurant business, while McDonald's has 41 percent.

Though Burger King has made numerous changes in advertising agencies over the past 30 years, it had its most consistent agency relationship with UniWorld Group. At one point during the long partnership, when Burger King took almost a year to decide which new general market agency to hire, UniWorld handled all of the restaurant's advertising, including general market and Hispanic.

The Rev. Al Sharpton said on his radio show he intends to address the elimination of Burger King's African-American and Hispanic ad agencies. Members of The Marketing & Media Project of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition have said they will request a meeting with Burger King executives to discuss the change.

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