In the retail arena, African American consumers are among the most loyal of all ethnic groups. This is according to customer.com’s groundbreaking 2018 Retail Customer Loyalty Study, which found that 48 percent of African Americans report they tend to find a good source for their purchases and stick with it. This is compared to 35 percent of Americans overall and 32 percent of non-Hispanic Whites who said they stick with a good source for purchases once they find it.
African American consumers represent a tremendous and growing buying power. According to the latest African American spending statistics from Nielsen,1 African Americans spend $1.2 trillion annually, and their spending is expected to grow to $1.54 trillion by 2022. This underlines the importance for retailers to employ a multi-cultural and inclusive marketing strategy.
Top Factors Driving African American Brand Loyalty
African Americans respondents to our study listed several factors that strongly influence their devotion to any specific retailer. The top factors listed were:
- Fair treatment
- Unique products
- Informative website
- Ability to look up past transactions
- Caring staff
- VIP benefits
In fact, fair treatment was twice as likely to be listed as the number one loyalty factor among African American consumers. Retailers seeking to attract these shoppers would do well to go the extra mile to ensure that all of their customers are treated fairly.
When asked what would induce them to select one retailer over another when price, access and products are identical, African Americans listed many of the same factors as above, along with trust, feel the retailer is socially responsible and easy to make purchases.
Retailers Who Garner the Most African American Brand Loyalty
Study respondents were also asked to list the retailer they were most likely to exclusively shop for particular needs. In order, the retailers most often identified by African Americans include:
- Best Buy
- Sam’s Club
- Dollar General
- Family Dollar
Digital Marketing Is a Must
For retailers wishing to specifically woo the African American consumer group, any marketing approach must also include a multi-channel digital strategy. Statistics from Nielsen2 indicate that these consumers are more digitally-connected than any other ethnic group.
- 54 percent of African Americans have lived their life entirely in the digital age (as compared to 38 percent of the total U.S. population, 31 percent of U.S. Hispanics and 42 percent of non-Hispanic Whites)
- 61 percent of African Americans agree that they enjoy learning about technology or electronics products from others (14 percent higher than for non-Hispanic Whites)
- 54 percent agree they enjoy reading about new technology products (8 percent higher than for non-Hispanic Whites)
- African Americans over-index for total time spent on TV, radio, smartphone and tablet; compared with the U.S. population as a whole and with non-Hispanic Whites, they have higher household ownership of smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles, wireless headphones, smart TVs, smartwatches, smart speakers, internet-to-TV streaming devices and virtual-reality devices
- African Americans tend to be avid consumers of streaming video and podcasts, both of which have become important entertainment sources for this group
The Bottom Line
The African American consumers responding to our Retail Customer Loyalty Study reported a high degree of loyalty to those retailers who deliver on the factors important to them. Retailers who successfully incorporate a digitally-focused, multi-cultural marketing strategy that delivers upon these expectations will position themselves to win over an important customer group with both strong buying and staying power.
If you’re interested in finding ways to apply these and other loyalty stats and facts to build or refresh your marketing strategy, our CRM agency can help. Our retail marketing consultants have spent more than 40 years helping retailers dig into their customer data, develop comprehensive views of their customer base and turn those insights into actionable strategy — and stronger, more profitable customer relationships. Click below to schedule a free consultation or call 800.525.0313.
- “Black Impact: Consumer Categories Where African Americans Move Markets,” Nielsen.com, posted Feb. 15, 2018, https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2018/black-impact-consumer-categories-where-african-americans-move-markets.html, accessed Nov. 28, 2018
- “From Consumers to Creators: The Digital Lives of Black Consumers,” Nielsen.com,
https://www.nielsen.com/content/dam/corporate/us/en/reports-downloads/2018-reports/from-consumers-to-creators.pdf, accessed Nov. 28, 2018