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African immigrants like US Blacks, are an untapped niche market within the US population. US African Chamber of Commerce estimates the buying power of African immigrants to be $50 billion dollars in annual consumer spending.
A new first-of-its-kind study undertaken by New American Dimensions and commissioned by the US African Chamber of Commerce (USACC) found this market to be underserved and completely mis-understood (see http://www.99clients.com/USACC/African_Immigrant_Presentation(2).pdf).
The 1.4 million African-immigrant market has been growing steadily in the United States. With this in mind the USACC commissioned this study to identify their consumption of goods and services in hopes of helping marketers understand the consumer attitudes, and buying habits of the African-immigrant market.
As expected a overwhelming majority of African-immigrants (87%) place high importance on staying connected with family and friends in their native country. This data is validated by their high use and ownership of electronic and communication devices such as computers (85%), cell phones (96%), and Internet access (73%),
When it comes to consumer purchases, most respondents cite word of mouth as a favorite influence in purchasing, demonstrating strong trust in friends and family. Other influences include Advertising (mainly TV and Print), Pricing, and Brand loyalty. Most like to purchase in person, instead of online, so they can see, touch, and examine what they’re buying.
African immigrant shoppers are prone to hunting around for the right price and the right product. More than one-third will generally choose the brand with the lowest price: Supermarkets are the most- patronized stores among this demographic group, while discount stores and low-end department stores are the top shopping venues for clothes and accessories. 58% of African immigrants prefer African food compared to food from other cultures. 46% buy products that agree with their religion.
The study found that media consumption in the African immigrant market basically surrounds their desire to stay informed and culturally aware of their homeland. African immigrants spend more hours watching English language media than African language media. CNN tops the list of favorite English-language TV channels followed by ABC, Fox and NBC. The majority of respondents believe Africans are usually portrayed negatively in the US media.
Respondents want to see positive images and stories about their home countries. Many point out that poverty, AIDs, and fighting monopolize press and fictional depictions of Africa. They want the media to show real people who are happyt and content, don’t focus on the jungles or tribal activity and avoid Coming-To-America stereotypes.
Among African immigrants, those in younger demographics are the heaviest visitors to internet social groups. Yahoo and Facebook are the most favored websites. 72% of respondents use email and instant messaging (IM). The favorite African language websites named in the study where Hiram.com, and African News.com,
In terms of aspirations, African immigrants most often describe “success” in big-picture, far-reaching terms. Most respondents emphasize the need to give back to their community, and most send money to relatives back home on a regular basis. According to David Morse, president and CEO of New American Dimensions. “This is a segment with a powerful sense of identity and pride in being African.” These consumers possess very high educational attainment and incomes
About the research: The study was conducted by New American Dimensions in conjunction with The African Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Bruce Corrie, The Minneapolis Foundation and Aguilar Productions. Findings are the result of focus groups in Los Angeles, New York City and Minneapolis and a four-market quantitative survey of 393 African immigrant adults in California, Minnesota, Washington, DC and New York. The study is supplemented by a video snapshot of Africans to personify the findings from the research and bring them to life.
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