By Toni Carey (@toni_carey)
The past two weeks have been newsworthy for minorities and marketing:
- Intel signed on will.i.am, front man of the Black Eyed Peas, for product collaboration
- Vibe Magazine, an urban music publication, announced it will sponsor NASCAR driver Darrell Wallace, Jr., as well as run extensive editorial coverage of NASCAR’s Driver for Diversity program
- The Huffington Post announced it will partner with BET (Black Entertainment Television) co-founder Shelia Johnson to launch a section geared towards African-Americans
It seems mainstream America is finally realizing the influence of the growing minority population and they should. After all, in 2009, there were an estimated 41.8 million blacks in the United States (13.6 percent of the total U.S. population). That number is expected to grow to 65.7 million by 2050, constituting 15 percent of the nation’s population. In addition, Hispanics have become the largest ethnic or race minority with a population of 48.4 million (16 percent of the nation’s total population). This number is projected to grow to 132.8 million by 2050, making it 30 percent of the nation’s population.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that minorities, collectively, are projected to make up 54 percent of the U.S. population by 2050. You can’t ignore that consumer demands will shift with this growth. But it’s just not about the number of minorities; it’s about their economic impact and their ability to influence technology and popular culture.
In a recent report by the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia Terry College of Business, the combined buying power (disposable income) of racial minorities will rise from $1.6 trillion in 2010 to $2.1 trillion in 2015, accounting for 15 percent of the nation’s buying power. Hispanic buying power is expected to grow 50 percent in the next five years to $1.5 trillion in 2015, topping the rate of growth of all other racial and ethnic groups and overall buying power. Although unemployment among African-American has increased greatly, over the next five years their buying power will increase from $957 billion to $1.2 trillion, primarily because 30 percent of the population are 18 years or younger who are notorious for setting the trends in the marketplace.
But there are other factors coming into play. Minorities are educated and they have money to spend, with 1.5 million blacks and 935,000 Hispanic 25 and older having an advanced degree. Minorities are also quickly adopting technology at a dramatic rate. According to a Pew poll released in 2010, whites are outpacing blacks and Latinos in broadbrand access, but it doesn’t mean they’re not online. In fact, black and Latinos are outpacing whites in mobile and social media usage.
- 51 percent of Hispanics and 46 percent of blacks use their phone to access the Internet compared to 33% of whites.
- 47 percent of Latinos and 41 percent of blacks use their phones for –email compared to 30 percent of whites.
- When using social media sites via phone, 36 percent of Latinos and 33 percent of blacks do so compared to 19 percent of whites.
- 25 percent of Twitter users are black
- 11 percent of Facebook users are black
- Hispanics increased their Facebook usage has increased dramatically since 2006, jumping from 3 percent to 9 percent
It doesn’t take long to realize that minorities have a huge stake in the consumer market, however approximately 50 percent of U.S. advertisers don’t include Latinos in their marketing efforts. It seems that companies are having a hard time understanding how to reach and engage minorities. And for good reason. Minorities aren’t using technology in the traditional sense and certainly don’t respond to advertising tactics or messages geared toward the masses. In, “Why Brands Need to Pay Attention to Minority Consumers Part 2,” we’ll explore the best ways to reach minorities and effective means to do so.