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BET: African-American Influence Surging

The African-American population in the U.S. is expanding both in pure numbers and in buying power and has a major influence on technological and media trends, according to a new, comprehensive study by BET Networks.

According to African-Americans Revealed — a study of more than 80,000 African-American consumers over an 18-month span, broken down into several individual research reports — African-Americans in 2008 accounted for a 10% increase in population from 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, which released the survey results on Jan. 26.

The African-Americans Revealed report on multimedia engagement and digital applications shows that African-Americans are very tech-savvy, with roughly 31% of the group’s 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 that population accesses the Internet via PC, while 76% go online via cellphone. 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.

African-Americans Revealed shows us that the black community should never be referred to as one homogeneous population,” said Matthew Barnhill, senior vice president of corporate research at Viacom-owned BET Networks. “We hope this report will help organizations better connect with an audience and intimately recognize all of its complexities.”

Other report findings include a segmentation study which found that African-Americans are not a monolithic group, but rather break down into seven distinct subsets:

  • “Strivers” are mostly in their late 20s to early 40s 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;
  • “Survivors” are a group of risk-taking teen and young adult males who are hustling to keep their existence in check.

A 2010 Census study within African Americans Revealed predicts that the upcoming U.S. 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.