NEW YORK: Digital savvy African American consumers have embraced technology to such an extent that they are having an unprecedented impact on the economy, culture and wider society, a new study suggests.

According to research firm Nielsen, African Americans participate more than other ethnic groups in the US when it comes to video and audio streaming, gaming and smartphone ownership.

In addition, they over-index against non-Hispanic white Americans for spend per capita on a variety of grocery and non-grocery categories, as well as enjoying learning or reading about technology or electronic products.

The Nielsen report, entitled From Consumers to Creators: The Digital Lives of Black Consumers, forms part of the company’s ongoing Diverse Intelligence Series, which focuses on the digital lives of multicultural consumers.

Unveiled last week to coincide with the Congressional Black Caucus 48th Annual Legislative Conference, the report asserts: “Black influence on the economy and pop culture has been intensified by participation in the digital universe and adoption of social media and technology platforms.”

It says that more than half (54%) of all African Americans have lived their entire lives in the digital age and urges brands to recognise their huge purchasing power, which currently stands at $1.3 trillion and is estimated to rise to $1.54 trillion by 2022.

“African Americans are leveraging innovations in technology and social platforms to level the playing field and get ahead in a marketplace unencumbered by corporate barriers to entry,” said Cheryl Grace, Nielsen’s SVP of strategic community alliances and consumer engagement.

“African American influence has long resonated cross-culturally, and now it’s being delivered from creator to consumer,” she added.

Looking at some of the findings in more detail, the report says 90% of African American consumers live in a household with a smartphone – or 6% higher than the total population.

Almost three-quarters of African Americans aged 13 and older identify as gamers, compared with 66% of the overall US population, while the African American podcast audience grew by 70% to 3.6 million between 2014 and 2017.

Also of note for marketers, even though African Americans make up 14% of the total US population, they account for 28% of Twitter’s 67 million users. And finally, 9.3 million (or 20% of all African Americans) are on or self-identify using Black Twitter.

Sourced from Nielsen; additional content by WARC staff