Four Group Traits That Characterize Black Consumers

The Black consumer segment continues to grow steadily, both in absolute numbers and as a share of the total U.S. population.

By 2060, Collage projects Black consumers to represent 55 million consumers, or 14 percent of the total U.S. population. To capture the growth and influence of these consumers, brands and marketers must deepen their understanding of the Black consumer segment.  Originally, released in the Fall of 2020, this page now includes the webinar replay presented January 27, 2021.​ 

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Essentials of Black Consumers

Which Group Traits best characterize Black Consumers?

The four Group Traits which best characterize the Black segment are Perseverance, Ambition, Realness, and Self-Expression.

1. Perseverance

People sharing the Group Trait of Perseverance are deeply motivated to carry on in their personal pursuits despite whatever struggles and setbacks they face.

These individuals are less likely to give up what they put their minds to and more likely to take obstacles as motivation to work even harder.

Black resilience, determination, and tenacity stem from a history of adversity and oppression. Black Americans are acutely aware of the challenges they face, and they know that achieving their own success often requires more hard work than it does for others. Individual drive and hope for a better tomorrow motivate Black Americans to overcome the barriers they face in pursuit of their goals.

It is important to remember, though, that this spirit of perseverance is forward-looking and closely linked to the segment’s Optimism. As the data below shows, a large majority of Black consumers are confident that their lives will continue to get better and that things will work out for them in the end. Black consumer substantially over-index on these sentiments compared to their non-Black counterparts.

Black consumers are optimistic about the future

2. Ambition

People sharing the Group Trait of Ambition are driven to succeed and to focus on the necessary steps to achieve their goals.

These individuals are sensitive to barriers to success and attuned to the way that today’s choices can impact future goals.

Nobody knows what the future holds, but Black Americans already have a plan for it. They’re hyper-focused on their own futures and have record-breaking and history-making in sight, for both themselves and their communities. Giving back to the community and paying it forward so that future generations can reach for even greater heights is itself a powerful goal of many Black consumers.

Black consumers have high standards for their own individual accomplishments. They’re the most likely segment to say they’re “always trying to be the best and make it to the top.” The segment is also much more likely to say they will do important things in life than the White segment.

Black consumers are achievers 

3. Realness

People sharing the Group Trait of Realness emphasize being true to themselves over any attempt to “put on a mask” in the presence of others.

These individuals are more likely to “live their truth, even if this means sacrificing relationships with those who may not accept them.

Black consumers are self-assured and take pride in themselves. From Black bodies to Black lived experience, Black Americans emphasize the importance of individuals living their truth and embracing the maxim “if you can’t be anyone but yourself, you might as well be the best possible version.”

Put simply, Black consumers are less likely to “filter” themselves based on expectations of how other people might react. One implication of this Group Trait is the expectation for content which reflects Black lived experiences as they truly are. Black consumers want to see representations of people who not only look like them, but also go through experiences which they can relate to. There is great demand for authentic and nuanced portrayals of Black life, and much power in getting those portrayals right.

Black consumers prefer when their values are represented

4. Self-Expression

People sharing the Group Trait of Self-Expression have talent and creative potential they can’t wait to share with the world.

These individuals know they have something special to offer and are more likely to take whatever opportunities they can find to broadcast their craft and artistry.

Black Americans know what makes them special and want to share it with the world. From high fashion and artistic excellence to everyday expertise and influence, Black voices have undeniable power. And Black consumers know that their uniqueness leads to opportunities for excellence and exceptionalism.

The importance of Self-expression in the Black segment positions these consumers as major drivers of influence. In addition to the high value they place on sharing their talents, Black Americans are also more likely than other segments to see themselves as valuable sources of expertise and recommendation with opinions others need to hear. And they often seek out opportunities for spreading their voices and influencing others.

Black consumers see their own recommendations as valuable 

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