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BET: African-Americans Grow in Numbers, Buying Power
Demographic Outpaces U.S. Average in Weekly TV Viewing, Says Study

By R. Thomas Umstead — Multichannel News, 1/26/2010 5:36:45 PM

The U.S. African American population is expanding both in pure numbers and in buying power and has a major influence on technological and media trends, according to a comprehensive BET survey of the African-American community released Tuesday (Jan. 26).

According to “African Americans Revealed” – a study of more than 80,000 African-American consumers over 18-month span broken down into several individual research reports — African Americans in 2008 accounted for a 10% increase in population from 2008 versus 2000, while African-American buying power increased more than 55% during the same period to $913 billion. By the year 2013 black buying power will reach $1.2 trillion dollars, a whopping 35% increase versus 2008, according to BET.

The “African Americans Revealed” report on multi-media engagement and digital applications shows that African-Americans are very tech savvy, with roughly 31% of African American discretionary spending dollars, or $39 billion, going toward the purchase of computers, cell phones and electronics – a proportionally higher percentage when compared to non-African-Americans, according to the survey.

African Americans also spend more weekly time online (18 hours) than watching television (15 hours). Further, 93% of African-Americans go online traditionally via their PC’s, while 76% access the web via their cell phones. Approximately 60% of African Americans have downloaded music, a TV show, movie or ringtone in the previous month, while 50% regularly update and access a social networking account regularly.

Other report findings include a segmentation study, which revealed that African-Americans are not a monolithic group but rather break down into seven distinct groups defined by similar characteristics, including buying power and habits, media consumption, and influences.

The Strivers are mostly in their late 20’s to early 40’s and are adventurous, fashionable, social mavens and opinion leaders who have their eyes on climbing the executive ladder; Conscious Sisters are selfless women that are spiritually connected and highly conscious of their culture; Tech-Fluentials are digitally savvy and travel in globally conscious circles; Bright Horizons are young adults in high school and college that are aware of all available technology and electronic gadgets; Inner Circle Elites are working women rich in their cultural, ancestral and spiritual roots; Urban Dreamers are young, urban adults who are social magnets and trend setters intent on and focused on living life to the fullest; and Survivors are a group of risk-taking teen and young adult males who are hustling to keep their existence in check.

“African Americans Revealed shows us that the black community should never be referred to as one homogeneous population,” said Matthew Barnhill, Senior VP of Corporate Research at BET Networks. “We hope this report will help organizations better connect with an audience and intimately recognize all of its complexities.”

The report also looks at the structure of the African American family, with Couples with Children representing the largest group, followed by Empty Nesters, Single Moms, Kinship Caregivers, Multiple Adults and Single Dads.

A 2010 Census study within “African Americans Revealed” predicts that the upcoming Census count will find that 42 million African-Americans reside in the U.S., a 13.4% increase from the 2000 Census – a higher growth rate than the projected 9.8% increase for the total U.S. population.