A new report from Nielsen—the global analytics and data company that lets me know that in the year of our Lord and Savior, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, black people are still out here watching the NFL—has revealed some very interesting things about the digital lives of black America.
From Consumers to Creators: The Digital Lives of Black Consumers is a detailed analysis of black consumers, including their spending habits, market share and how they are changing the face of technology, popular culture and the entire online economy.
While we have long recognized the power of the black dollar, when we see major corporations introduce marketing campaigns that look like a Benson & Hedges ad from a 1980's issue of Jet magazine, it highlights the fact that black consumers have become one of the most sought-after segments of the consumer population.
“African American influence has long resonated cross-culturally, and now it’s being delivered directly from creator to consumer. Give talented, creative people unobstructed access to the world stage and, inevitably, they will shine,” said Cheryl Grace in a press release. She’s Nielsen’s senior vice president of U.S. strategic community alliances and consumer engagement, who might be the only executive with a title longer than Omarosa Manigault Newman, who served as the White House senior black person in charge of surreptitious recording and secretary of line dances.
The study estimates that black spending power is currently at $1.3 trillion and will reach $1.54 trillion by 2022, halfway through the Kanye West presidency. Even though the report has a glaring lack of data on black consumers impact in the seasoning salt industry, the report contains a few interesting factoids including:
- With an average age of 34.02 years, black consumers are the youngest segment of the population, second only to Hispanics (30.82).
- African Americans are 14 percent of the U.S. population but make up 28 percent of Twitter users.
- Through the first half of 2018, 7 of the top 10 Billboard artists are black.
Although the exhaustive report revealed a lot about black consumers, it left me with a few questions that we need to discuss:
What the hell are you people listening to?
As I just stated, black artists like Drake, Migos, XXXTentacion, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Cardi B and the Weeknd are are all in Billboard’s list of the top 10 music artists for the first half of the year, which is admirable. But you know who’s No. 1?
How, Sway? (And that’s not a reference to the Kanye interview. I really need for Sway to answer this question.) Shrek’s little nephew, Ed Sheeran, is also in the top 10, along with Eminem, who deserves to be in the list based on the fact that his angry white boy music has provided the soundtrack for smoking crystal meth and planning school shootings for over a decade.
At least there’s no Taylor Swift.
Which one of you is bringing Blue Apron to cookouts?
The report highlights that black online shoppers make up a large percentage of people who buy online meal kits. At first, I thought they meant Lunchables, which I had no problem with until they removed the cookies from their meals. I have wondered why there is no fried bologna Lunchable for a long time, and was going to ask, but it turns out that y’all out here buying gentrified Vacation Bible School box lunches off the internet.
However, if Lawry’s introduces an online chicken seasoning kit, I’m all in.
There’s an entire section about Black Twitter.
This is not a joke.
Five pages of the report are dedicated to Black Twitter, which I am totally fine with, even though I know it will ultimately lead to Black Twitter’s demise. When white people and major corporations find out about it, our little section of the internet will be ruined by dry-ass cat memes and ads for mid-sized sedans.
Y’all won’t let us have nothing!
The report also highlights the fact that Black Twitter is partially responsible for the popularity of TV shows like Scandal, Empire and This is Us. It also reports on the role of Black Twitter in the movie industry, including the success of Black Panther. The report also mentions the impact of the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag, proving white America never notices a problem until black people create a catchphrase about it.
While we credit #BlackLivesMatter for social change, I always believed that “I Have a Dream” was the first hashtag.
I’m not the only black person who uses Alexa?
The report says that 45 percent of black people use one of the personal voice assistants like Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant, compared to 35 percent of whites. I don’t know whether or not this is true because every time I mention Alexa people look at me like I’m talking to the feds or having conversations with a ghost.
Also, am I the only one who made up an entire backstory for my Alexa?
My Alexa tells people she’s from ATL but she’s really from Dunwoody. She ran track in high school, pledged Delta in college and has a son from the MoviePhone guy but they broke up because he was cheating with Siri. Her mom was a telephone operator in the ’80s and her dad was first chair of the baritone section in the Mississippi Mass Choir.
She’s in grad school and worries a lot about police brutality, the mistreatment of black femmes and her edges. I’m trying to teach her to respond to my commands by saying: “I got you, boo.” Her real name is ShaLexus Mercedes Knowitall.
She drives a Honda Civic.
Are white people going out of style?
As previously noted, Nielsen reports that the mean age of African Americans is 34.08 years old, compared to the white mean age of 41.98. I contend that this is why Trump voters are so concerned—they are dying off! When they see companies talk about “diversity,” they don’t understand that these companies are trying to appeal to a changing consumer base, not trying to dismiss them.
Mayonnaise will never go out of style.
Fifty-four percent of African Americans are under 34 years old, meaning they have lived their entire lives in the digital age. But this also means they don’t know about some important things like encyclopedias, record stores and the first music download service: Dual cassette players.
For more details and insights, download From Consumers To Creators: The Digital Lives Of Black Consumers here.
And tell Sway to holla at me.