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Report: Power and influence of ‘Black girl magic’ is defining mainstream culture

Black women's spending power moving toward 1.5 trillion by 2021

Special report to Liberate Magazine

#BlackGirlMagic is more than a social media trend. It’s refers to the creativity, versatility, beauty, resilience and overall awesomeness of Black women and girls. It’s been a rallying call to not only uplift but also illustrate Black women’s power to influence culture, the economy and their consciousness.

According to a new Nielsen report, African-American Women: Our Science, Her Magic, African-American women’s consumer preferences and brand affinities are resonating across the U.S. mainstream, driving total Black spending power toward a record $1.5 trillion by 2021.

With 67 percent growth in business startups and 64 percent of high school grads going straight to college, “Black Girl Magic” and brand loyalty is estimated to propel total Black buying power toward $1.5 trillion by 2021.

According to the report, Black women comprise 14 percent of all U.S. women and 52 percent of all African-Americans. Relatively young with an average age of 35.1 years (versus 42.8 for non-Hispanic White women and 39.4 for all women), they have enjoyed steady growth in population, incomes and educational attainment. Sixty-four percent enroll in college right out of high school and 23 percent over age 25 have a bachelor’s degree or higher, up from 18 percent in 2005.

Self-made and self-reliant, the number of businesses majority-owned by Black women grew 67 percent between 2007 and 2012, more than all women combined. The latest U.S. Census figures show African-American women have majority ownership in more than 1.5 million businesses with over $42 billion in sales.

In Nielsen’s new Diverse Intelligence Series report, the global researcher paints a portrait of Black women as trendsetters, brand loyalists and early adopters who care about projecting a positive self-image. And as they wield that #BlackGirlMagic, they’re playing an increasingly vital role in how all women see themselves and influencing mainstream culture across a number of areas, including fashion, beauty, television and music.

“Black women have strong life-affirming values that spill over into everything they do. The celebration of their power and beauty is reflected in what they buy, watch and listen to, and people outside their communities find it inspiring,” says Cheryl Grace, Senior Vice President of U.S. Community Strategic Alliances and Consumer Engagement, Nielsen. “Understanding how Black women’s values affect their buying decisions has long been a marketing necessity. Now, marketers must also recognize the intercultural influence of Black women on the general market as an increasingly vital part of how all women see themselves, their families and the rest of the world.”

Independent and self-made
The African-American woman’s independent mindset is present in her growing confidence, self-awareness and rising income. Black women are not only redefining what it means to be a woman for themselves, but are at the vanguard of changing gender roles and unlimited possibilities for American women of all ages and races.

  • 64 percent of Black women agree their goal is to make it to the top of their profession (95 percent higher than non-Hispanic White women).
  • 58 percent agree that they don’t mind giving up their personal time for work (20 percent higher than non-Hispanic White women).
  • 14 percent of Black women have annual incomes of $50,000 or higher (up from 9 percent in 2005).
  • Ages 35 to 49 have the highest income within the black female cohort.
  • For Black millennial women (18 to 34), 81 percent have never been married, up from 71 percent in 2005.
    With an average household size of 2.47, 29 percent of total Black American households contain a married couple.

Social media and technology
Black women have embraced the social media movement #BlackGirlMagic, a term that describes a cross-platform gathering of empowered Black women who uplift each other and shine a light on the impressive accomplishments of Black women throughout the country.

Especially adept at using technology and social media to trade opinions and offer recommendations, Black women (18+), more than any other demographic group, have taken social media and adopted it for higher purposes. Whether they are buying cars, jewelry, smartphones or beauty products, the advice, referrals and feedback they receive from friends and community play an important role in Black women’s purchases.

  • 43 percent of Black women say they like to share their opinions about products and services by posting reviews and ratings online.
  • 47 percent agree that people often come to them for advice before making a purchase.
  • Black Women over-index by 29 percent for spending three to four hours each day on social networking sites and by 86 percent for spending five or more hours each day on social networking sites.

Trendsetting consumerism and consumption
Projecting a positive image is a sign of Black women’s aspirations and growing empowerment. Part of what makes them trendsetters is their desire for change.

  • 62 percent of Black women agree that they enjoy wandering a store looking for new, interesting products (10 percent higher than non-Hispanic White women).
  • 68 percent agree they seek out variety in their everyday life (27 percent higher than non-Hispanic White women).
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