Sleep With One Eye Open: Black Spending Benefits Everyone But Us!!

by Nadra Enzi

African-Americans in Georgia are an economic force. This force must be taken seriously since its impact is $40.7 billion annually! To do otherwise would be very costly.

Demographic data clearly shows where Black consumers spend their money. Consider the nation wide picture. Business persons should examine the following statement from the US Bureau of the Census Consumer Expenditure Survey:

"Despite their lower average income levels, African-Americans spent more on telephone services, personal care products and services, electricity, natural gas, childrens apparel and shoes. Blacks also spent a higher proportion of their money on groceries and housing."

Eight markets were identified: Telephone services; personal care products; electricity; natural gas; childrens clothing; groceries and housing.

Are Black businesses becoming service providers in these high value areas? If not, can others be blamed for capitalizing on opportunity? While common knowledge states we do not "buy Black", common sense demands serious study and courting of the community dollar.

Target Marketing News, a Black marketing research firm, identified some more interesting expeditures. Its 1998-2001 Black Consumer Study documented a 13.4% increase in our purchase of new, used cars and trucks nationally. The money spent on these items grew from $25.6 billion to $31.3 billion in two years. The same study showed a range, $8.3 billion to $8.6 billion, that was spent on gifts alone!

African-American spending power stands at $490 billion annually and surpasses the Gross National Products of Canada, Spain, India and Mexico. These figures demand serious attention.

Contrary to the popular notion that African-Americans are too poor to vacation, 2,276,940 visited Mexico in 2001. The source of this information, Scarborough Release 1, stated that 710,200 African-Americans stayed in the Hilton hotel chain while on business last year. The poverty myth is further assaulted by the 2,305,070 African-Americans who shopped with the Dillards department store corporation.

All African-Americans are not destitute and like any other consumer, we will spend on those goods and services we consider appealing. Black business persons must compete with outside interests who have entrenched themselves inside our pockets. The question of an economic lifetime for our business persons truly is, "Black buying power is impressive- are YOU getting your share?!" Riding on our answers is financial success or failure.

The author is a public safety advocate who advises everyone to sleep with one eye open. He is a member of both the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice.

Sleep With One Eye Open: Black Spending Benefits Everyone But Us!! by Nadra Enzi

© Copyright 2002. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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