Mainstream media coverage of Black Americans often focuses on the economic and racial disparities that plague Black communities. These pressing societal issues, however, are not the only stories to tell. Black Americans have endured centuries of hardship yet have emerged vibrant, resilient, and optimistic, contributing culturally and economically to the prosperity of America. We explore this story in The Black Consumer Project. WATCH the playback here.

The Black Consumer Project

ThinkNow and Quantasy + Associates have teamed up to share the narrative of Black Americans as we see it through the lens of our consumer insights and ad agency work. Per the 2020 Census, 46.9 million Americans identify as African American or Black alone or a combination with another race. They contribute $1.4 trillion in annual spending, making them one of the country’s main economic drivers. Fortune 100 firms frequently retain our services to bring authenticity to marketing and media plans targeting Black consumers. But perhaps, more importantly, that authenticity gives a voice to a community that has been misrepresented in advertising since the dawn of the ad age. So, we launched The Black Consumer Project – a series of nationally representative surveys capturing the opinions of over 1,000 Black Americans and 500 non-Blacks to articulate the narrative of one of America’s most vibrant but often misunderstood consumer segments. The project uncovers the unique perspectives, behaviors, and preferences among African American consumers. The first of the several waves, Black Identity, releases in December 2021, focusing on values, self-perception, belief in “The American Dream,” and attitudes held by emerging Black affluent consumers. Future waves will focus on industry specific verticals such as Media & Entertainment, Financial Services and Health & Wellness.

Black Identity

We use the terms African American, Black American, and Black interchangeably throughout the research. In Wave 1 of The Black Consumer Project, we delve into how these terms are viewed by different segments of the Black community as well as more recent terms like Person of Color (POC) and American-Born Descendant of Slaves (ADOS).

We delve into whether Black Americans consider that their race/heritage defines them. The answers are enlightening and vary considerably by demographic segment. Like most consumers, African Americans appreciate being seen and heard by the brands and companies they support. We, therefore, ask Black consumers whether they have boycotted a company or brand that they felt did something unethical towards the Black community and whether they feel it’s important that companies and brands support diversity and inclusion. Race, however, is just one of many factors that play into Black identity. Included in the study are questions about personal values, how Black consumers would describe themselves, and what their dreams for the future are.

The American Dream

The belief that upward mobility and success is possible in America is shared across all races. What defines success, however, varies. There is considerable difference, for example, within the various age cohorts of the Black community in terms of how they view the American Dream and whether they feel pride in being an American. Income and other demographic differences also affect these views. There are also distinct differences between how Black Americans feel about upward mobility and success when compared to non-Black consumers. The Black Consumer Project, Black Identity, launches December 7th with an online streaming event featuring Associates’ Melanie Williams and ThinkNow’s Roy Eduardo Kokoyachuk, who’ll dive into the data, and a panel discussion featuring Rashad Drakeford (Global Head of Content Marketing, Robinhood), Dom Brown (Sr. Manager of Culture + Community, Instagram) and Diaundra Jones (Co-Founder, Seventh Ave), and moderated by the Julian Mitchell. Don’t miss the first wave of The Black Consumer Project.

Stream The Black Consumer Project here.