Black America and The Internet
The population of Americans of African descent has been steadily increasing for years. As a result, Black Americans, more than ever are spending time surfing and conducting business on the web. The African-American web surfer has become a hot target for web developers and the business industry, as more web-based programs are being created with Black users in mind.
African-Americans continue to increase the amount of dollars they spend in proportion to their rising salaries. Black households also continue to spend more than Hispanics, Asians or other minority households in almost every consumer product category. With this trend, many people are taking their money and their time, to the world wide web.
Most of the millions of dollars being spent online goes towards clothing, food, music, beverages, cars, home furnishings, wireless services and travel. But Black America also spends its online time doing research, searching for jobs, banking, reading news, and finding friends. Black women make up the majority of African-Americans online with over 11 million users and those numbers continue to surge.
Some studies show that there is still a "digital divide" in the U.S. between Black and White Internet users. White web users surpass Blacks in Internet access and computer use. Only 38 percent of African-Americans have ever used the Internet while 49% of Whites surf the web.
However, technical data compiled since 2001 shows that Blacks are not only using the web more, but Black women users are more heavily influenced by information about the products they buy than White women. This fact has created an increase in the demand to market to female surfers with more specialized websites, and more advertisements that target the things Black women look for online.
Black male surfers are slowly catching up. Often being criticized for not utilizing the vast web to their advantage, Black men are beginning to tune in to news, online dating, online gaming, job-boards, and health-related information. All of which can be found at great websites for men like Mybrotha.COM!
The current state of marketing to African-Americans online still has a long way to go. Few companies have made notable investments geared towards Blacks and most do not possess the cultural awareness needed to market to African-Americans. Seeing someone of African descent in media and/or advertising is far more important among African-Americans and Hispanics, than among White children.
But the influence of Black web users is limitless. As the Internet grows and becomes more saturated with targeted content, Blacks are beginning to close the gap in Internet usage. Marketers need to develop communications, ecommerce, services and messages that help African-Americans feel welcome and confident about spending time online.
The importance of this cultural relevance will extend far into the future and shape the success of Internet marketing.