‘Young, connected and Black’


Millennials bridging ‘digital divide’


Black “Millennials” – generally defined as people born between 1982 and 2000, who are now between the ages of 18 and 34 – are 11.5 million strong and leading a viral vanguard that is driving African-Americans’ use of mobile technology and closing the digital divide.

So says a New Nielsen report, “Young, Connected and Black: African-American millennials Are Driving Social Change and Leading Digital Advancement.”


According to a Nielsen press release accompanying the report, Black millennials have “$162 billion in buying power and undisputed cultural influence… (they) are using their power to successfully raise awareness of issues facing the Black community and influence decisions shaping our world.

“Media and brands are taking notice, creating campaigns and content that target this increasingly influential demographic with greater ad spends and more diverse programming.”

Latest in series
The sixth in Nielsen’s Diverse Intelligence Series focused on Black consumers, “Young, Connected and Black” shows that Black Americans are 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.

“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.”

Weeks before the 2016 presidential race, the power of the Black electorate is a particular point of interest given the records set in 2012 when, bolstered by its millennial population, African-Americans had the highest rate of voter registration and voter turnout of any demographic group in the U.S.

The 83.1 million U.S. millennials are considered a key voting bloc. Black millennials represent 14 percent of all millennials and 25 percent of the total Black population.

Increasing diversity
The 2016 report delves into the spending and viewing habits of African-Americans overall and credits a voracious appetite for television content with the dramatic increase in diverse television programming.

Between 2011 and 2015, broadcast network TV ad spend focused on Black audiences (defined as ad dollars placed on programming with greater than 50 percent Black viewers) increased by 255 percent.

The top 10 TV shows among Black millennials 18–24 and Blacks 35+ all had predominately Black casts or lead actors who are key to the storyline (e.g. “Empire,” “How to Get Away With Murder,” and “The Walking Dead”).

Other highlights
Overall Black spending power is projected to reach $1.4 trillion by 2020.
•From 2004 to 2014, the number of Black households with annual incomes of $50,000 to $75,000 increased 18 percent. For Black households earning $100,000+ annually, the increase between 2004 and 2014 was 95 percent.
•The share of Black households with an income less than $25,000 declined from 43 percent in 2004 to 37 percent of the total African-American population in 2014.
•African-American millennials watch nearly 33 hours of live and DVR time-shifted television per week (12 and half more hours per week than total millennials).
•African-American millennials are 25 percent 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 percent) are second only to Asian-Americans (94 percent).
•91 percent of African-Americans say they access the Internet on a mobile device, which further cements their status as digital leaders.
•55 percent of Black millennials report spending at least one hour a day on social networking sites (6 percent higher than all millennials); 9 percent say they spend at least three hours a day (9 percent higher than all millennials).
•28 percent of African-Americans age 35+ say they use social networking sites for at least one hour per day (2 percent 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 (2 percent higher than the total population age 35+).



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