Posted on January 29, 2010

Study: Black Buying Power Increased Dramatically

Denise Stewart,, January 28, 2010

The percentage of blacks in America is growing, and so is the amount of money blacks have available to spend on goods and services, according to a study released this week.

The “African-Americans Revealed” study, based on a BET survey of 80,000 black consumers over 18 months, showed a 10 percent increase in America’s black population between 2000 and 2008 and 55 percent increase in black buying power over the same period.

According to the survey, black buying power is estimated now at about $913 billion and is projected to increase to $1.2 trillion by 2013.

A similar study released in November by the Selig Center at the University of Georgia estimated that black buying power would be about $1.1 trillion by 2014, with current spending power for blacks at about $910 billion.


Until the recession set in about a year and a half ago, blacks in America had been experiencing an upturn in wages and earnings, Watkins [Boyce Watkins, a Syracuse University business professor] told

“Unfortunately, when African-Americans make money, we spend it. We don’t use it to invest or produce,” Watkins told “When we get our tax refund, we go straight to the store.”

Blacks spend a large part of their disposable income–$39 billion–on computers, cell phones and other electronics, the survey showed. That’s about 31 percent of the available disposable income.

The survey also showed that blacks spend more time each week online than they do watching television.

According to the study, blacks spend about 18 hours each week online, compared with 15 hours watching television.

“African Americans Revealed” predicted there will be 42 million blacks in the United States, which would be a 13.4 percent increase over the 2000 Census. The total population growth for the nation in the upcoming Census is projected to be 9.8 percent.


“Of the many diverse supporting forces, one of the most important is the increasing number of blacks who are starting and expanding their own businesses,” [University of] Georgia researchers said.

The fact that blacks are getting more education and better access to higher salaries also is boosting buying power. The percentage of blacks who have completed high school or college increased has increased from 66.2 percent in 1990 to 83 percent in 2008, according to Census data cited in the report from the Selig Center.