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Latest Nielsen Report Shows Black Millennials Closing the Digital Divide
By Jennifer Bihm Assistant Editor
Published December 8, 2016
(Courtesy Photo)

(Courtesy Photo)

“We have entered a new era whereby technology has become a great equalizer,” said Cheryl Grace, Senior Vice President, U.S. Strategic Community Alliances and Consumer Engagement. “Black millennials are leading the way in their use of technology to impact change and get their voices heard.”

Grace is speaking of a recently released Nielsen report, that shows black millennials (the 18-34 set) as being  tech-savvy, socially and civically engaged, and growing in population (46.3 million or 14 percent of the U.S. population) and buying power (nearly $1.2 trillion in 2015), and are optimistic about the future. The report, called Young, Connected and Black, “paints a picture of a Black diaspora that is tech-savvy; socially and civically engaged; growing in population (46.3 million or 14% of the U.S. population) and buying power (nearly $1.2 trillion in 2015); and optimistic about the future.”

Said researchers for the report, “African-American Millennials are forging ahead in their use of technology and social media to raise awareness and evoke a national discussion on civic and political issues. African-American Millennials are expanding the use of mobile devices (particularly smartphones with a 91% penetration rate for all African-Americans), expanding their shopping carts with fresh foods and contributing to the diversification of mainstream primetime television viewership—forging a significant increase in advertising dollars focused on African-American audiences…”

Because of this they said, companies are making great efforts to reach the “culture-rich” group.

“This annual report is an essential tool for organizations looking to develop a deeper contextual understanding of the influence and economic power of Black consumers,” said Deborah Gray-Young, managing partner, D. Gray-Young Inc., a multicultural marketing consulting firm and Nielsen External Advisory Council member.

Five significant findings highlighted in Young, Connected and Black were:

African-Americans are Closing the Digital Divide

  • African-American Millennials are 25% more likely than all Millennials to say they are among the first of their friends/colleagues to try new technology products.
  • As smartphone owners, African-Americans (91%) are second only to Asian-Americans (94%).
  • 91% of African-Americans say they access the Internet on a mobile device, an increase from 86% in 2015, which further cements their status as digital leaders.

A Viral Vanguard: Social media engagement

  • 55% of Black Millennials report spending at least one hour a day on social networking sites, which is 6% higher than all Millennials, while 29% say they spend at least three hours a day, 9% higher than all Millennials.
  • 28% of African-Americans age 35+ say they use social networking sites for at least one hour per day, which is 2% higher than the total population in this age group. Ten percent of African-Americans age 35+ say they use social networking sites for at least three hours per day, which is 2% higher than the total population age 35+).

Voracious Content Consumers

  • African-American Millennials watch nearly 33 hours of live and DVR time-shifted television per week, about 12 and half more hours per week than total Millennials.
  • African-American Millennials spend about two hours more per week (eight hours and 29 minutes versus six hours and 28 minutes) using the internet on PCs, and about an hour more weekly (three hours and 47 minutes versus two hours and 33 minutes) watching video on PCs than total Millennials.

Education advancements of Black Millennials

  • 89% of African Americans ages 25–34 completed high school, compared to 77% of Black Americans ages 55 and older.
  • 21% of African Americans ages 25–34 have an associate’s college degree or higher, versus 17% of those who are 55 and older.

African-American incomes and spending power

  • Overall Black spending power is projected to reach $1.4 trillion by 2020.
  • From 2004 – 20014 the number of Black households with annual incomes of $50,000 – $75,000 increased 18% compared to 2% for the total U.S. For Black households earning $100,000+ annually, the increase between 2004 and 2014 was 95%, compared with 66% for the total population.
  • The share of Black households with an income less than $25,000 declined from 43% in 2004 to 37% of the total African-American population in 2014.
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