The Hottest Online Shopper You Aren’t Marketing to -
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The Hottest Online Shopper You Aren’t Marketing to
2016 holiday shopping

Is your ecommerce business missing out on a huge, untapped market of online shoppers? According to a report from Nielsen, black consumers have reached a “tipping point” in terms of their impact on American society — and that includes the economy.

Black consumers are having an unprecedented impact on society, the report says, and are becoming influencers in social media, social issues and pop culture. The growth of the multicultural population, the fact that black consumers are younger than the general population on average, and immigration from Africa and the Caribbean are also contributing factors to black consumers’ growing influence.

Affluent black consumers are an especially important group. In the past several years, the average household income of black consumers has grown faster than that of consumers in any other age group. The growth is especially pronounced at the $100K and up household income level. These affluent consumers are more likely than the general population to shop online for a variety of products, including groceries.

How best to reach those consumers? Interestingly, old-school marketing tactics can be very valuable in tapping into the $1.2 trillion purchasing power of black Americans. The Nelson report says there are more than twice as likely as the general population to read magazines (52 percent vs. 22 percent), spend twice as much time as the average population listening to the radio (12 hours/week vs. six hours/week) and watch 60 more hours of TV per month than the general population.

Drive black consumers to your e-commerce website by incorporating your URL into your off-line marketing and advertising. For example, you can run cable TV ads highlighting a URL that takes them to a special any page with an offer or discount, or run radio ads that encourage them to visit your website by sharing the URL.

Many black Americans gravitate toward print magazines and newspapers targeting a black audience, which can be a more effective advertising medium than general-interest publications. Along the same lines, if your advertising on radio, Urban Contemporary, Adult Urban Contemporary, Gospel and Urban Oldies stations have a very high percentage of black listeners.

Of course, don’t forget about online marketing. Black consumers are more likely than the average population to have smartphones, and spend about 56 hours a month using apps or browsing the Internet on them. In addition, they’re more likely than the general population to pay attention to mobile advertising as a source of information about products, services and discounts.

Last, but not least, thinks social. More than eight out of 10 black consumers say they are more likely to support a brand or company that uses social media, and more than three-fourths say they like to share opinions by posting reviews and ratings online. Twitter is an especially valuable social channel for engaging with black consumers, especially Millenials.

The takeaway: When trying to reach black consumers, integrating a wide variety of marketing channels is the best way to increase your chances of success.

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Karen Axelton

Karen Axelton

Karen Axelton is Chief Content Officer of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her company’s blog at
Karen Axelton

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