Black buying power growth is evident

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Retailers in the Black Belt region should take notice of recent information that shows the buying power of blacks in Alabama has doubled over the last decade.

This news is something all marketers in this region should consider in their approach to grow and maintain business. The fact that black buying power is growing means that buying power is growing in our region.

The news of the growing buying power of blacks was released in a 200-page study commissioned by Elements Communications, Inc. The intent is to help businesses realize the value of minority customers.

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It’s up to marketers to learn how to tap into and grow a minority customer base with disposable income. But the first step in growing those customers is to realize that they exist and that they are looking for opportunities to buy.

The survey defined buying power as disposable income left over after taxes. That income is used to purchase goods and services. According to the survey, blacks spent more per household on telephones, electricity, children’s apparel and footwear than whites.

The study cited that shoe retailers and clothing retailers can stand to gain the most by intently focusing on African-American customers.

Currently it is difficult to find uplifting news about the economy and retailing compared to the booming days of two and three years ago. But this study reveals that an important consumer segment in this state is seeing rising incomes and that is good news to everyone in Alabama.

If businesses can make an effort to further tap into this market, then they also could see rising sales as black incomes rise.

The study was a good idea. It shows that it is often necessary to think outside the box to find new market segments and ways to better serve customers. We hope local retailers make note of the opportunity and we hope they are able to capitalize on it.