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black consumer spending

Updated on March 12, 2012

An article from Huffington Post revealed the following information:

The State of the African-American Consumer Report found that black buying power is projected to reach $1.1 trillion by 2015, The Louisiana Weekly reports.

Other notable findings in the report include:

  • With a buying power of nearly 1 trillion annually, if Blacks were a country, they'd be the 16th largest country in the world

In 2010 the African-Americans Revealed study reported that black buying power was at about $913 billion with a projected increase to $1.2 trillion by 2013. Boyce Watkins, a professor of business at Syracuse, said he was not surprised by studies with these kinds of results.

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


The writer of this article said “When we get our tax refund, we go straight to the store.” I always say most African Americans are plagued with the mentality: “Find a dollar, spend a dollar.”

I wonder the statistics spikes on car sales, 40”+ television sales, and clothing sales for African Americans once they received their tax money? I wonder how many people banked on America believing that our economy would recover and purchased stock for companies with a solid future. Oh yeah, we don’t have money for that, but we do have money for the latest cell phone (on the bus) and designer handbag (during foreclosure). It makes perfect sense to have a $35,000+ car parked at an apartment complex. It makes perfect sense to work two jobs so you can spend more money going to dinner and partying. Sometimes I look at people and I want to say no matter how many handbags, vehicles, or jewelry you buy -you are still the same person. Your “items” don’t make you important, relevant, or of value except to those who are just as shallow and purposeless. I’m not by any means saying that if you make a decent amount of money you shouldn’t enjoy nice things but if you are maxing out your credit cards, broke with no cushion for emergencies, or spending 99% of your disposable income living above your means– ridiculous. If your card is being declined, you have to go out and beg for someone to buy you food/drink, and you’re living hand to mouth trying to keep up with some image instead of living within your means – get it together! If you are a dynamic person, you are a dynamic person in all ways: rather you drive a paid for older Honda accord or a new Mercedes. If you are ignorant– you will be ignorant in a pinto or a new Mercedes because you eventually have to open your mouth.

African Americans stimulate the economy like no other, no matter what their financial situation, for one reason. What is that reason? Most African Americans lack positive self-esteem. If you are driven without purpose by jealousy, envy of your neighbors, insecurities about your physical appearance, crabs in a barrel mentality, and lack of career and financial success – wouldn’t you put stock into everything except yourself? Look at me, I’m important now because I have a $500 pair of jeans, Gucci shoes, and drive an $80,000 car –I present some “image” of importance. I wonder if you reviewed the debt to income ratio of that person, future investments (pursued non-aggressively if any), beliefs, principles, values – you would probably drop your jaw in disbelief.

Black men, black women, black children are plagued with low self-esteem and so many believe that if they could just attain this “image” of what happiness is, through materialism, then it will make their lack of self value increase. When does one determine who they are and become whole within themselves within the African American community?

In my lifetime I have encountered people who feel that they need to mention their salaries, how much their jeans cost, and what type of vehicle they drive. I just look at them, say; “oh, okay” and move on to discuss movies, current events, or activities we may have in common. Sometimes I might say; “I don’t care about that” which leaves people totally baffled. The message I’m sending is that I’m talking to you to get to know you, not what you drive, what designer clothes your wear, or how much money you have because my friendship or interaction with you is never based on who you are and not what you have. The past generations have changed dynamics within our community rending African Americans with a record number of broken homes, marriages, poor financial situations, poverty, and a few generations of confusion. The results are dollar millionaires trying to hide all their insecurities with clothes, jewelry, and cars instead of addressing their issues to make them a better person with a mindset determined to prepare for the future by obtaining that which is truly important. People who believe they are somebody once they buy things that mean nothing including the sallow relationships they develop which comes along with this fake high living lifestyle. Relationships that also contribute to their lack of self-esteem because they are constantly worried about if their facade will be uncovered which will leave them lonely as well.


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    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 5 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      To realtalk247: We Black people need to become investors, not just consumers. Black people being mostly consumers is the reason why our communities are not flourishing at the optimum level. We purchase and are making others rich.

      I believe that this incessant purchasing mentality among the Black population is for status reasons. Many Black people believe that they do not have any status and the purchase of items will give them a sense of importance and value. There are Black people who believe that the accoutrements of clothes, cars, and other material things will give them a false sense of wealth.

      Well, this thinking is totally delusional. It is highly important to save and invest at least 30% of your salary. Think, do you really need all the accoutrements? The answer is usually in the negative. If more Black people invest, especially invest in their communities and of course, for their future, they will be much more affluent!

      Your presentation should strike a nerve and start intense discussions. I would like to add that many Blacks spend a lot of monies on useless accoutrements but cannot spend monies on their children's education which would help their futures. Now, that is the apex of being illogical to say the least!