Nielsen 2016 Report: Black Millennials Close the Digital Divide

Social media and mobile device use are game-changers raising influence and visibility, Nielsen reports

Black Millennials are 11.5 million strong and leading a viral vanguard that is driving African-Americans' innovative use of mobile technology and closing the digital divide. Nielsen (No. 41 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list) highlights this group in a new report called "Young, Connected and Black: African-American Millennials Are Driving Social Change and Leading Digital Advancement."


With $162 billion in buying power and undisputed cultural influence, Black Millennials are using their power to successfully raise awareness of issues facing the Black community and influence decisions shaping our world. Media and brands are taking notice, creating campaigns and content that target this increasingly influential demographic with greater ad spends and more diverse programming.

The sixth in Nielsen's Diverse Intelligence Series focused on Black consumers, "Young, Connected and Black" paints a picture of a Black diaspora that is tech-savvy; socially and civically engaged; growing in population (46.3 million or 14% of the U.S. population) and buying power (nearly $1.2 trillion in 2015); and optimistic about the future.

"We have entered a new era whereby technology has become a great equalizer," said Cheryl Grace (née Pearson-McNeil), Senior Vice President, U.S. Strategic Community Alliances and Consumer Engagement. "Black Millennials are leading the way in their use of technology to impact change and get their voices heard."

The 83.1 million U.S. Millennials are considered a key voting bloc this November. Black Millennials represent 14% of all Millennials and 25% of the total Black population. The top five markets for Black Millennials (by population) are New York, Atlanta, Chicago, D.C. and South Florida (Miami/Ft. Lauderdale). Weeks before the 2016 presidential race, the power of the Black electorate is a particular point of interest given the records set in 2012 when, bolstered by its Millennial population, African-Americans had the highest rate of voter registration and voter turnout of any demographic group in the U.S.

"African-American Millennials are blazing trails to the center of the debate over matters that are paramount to their future success and safety—all as their influence over mainstream consumers grows," said Deborah Gray-Young, Managing Partner, D. Gray-Young Inc., a multicultural marketing consulting firm and Nielsen External Advisory Council member. "Nielsen continues to be the definitive source of independent third-party insights on consumers of color. This annual report is an essential tool for organizations looking to develop a deeper contextual understanding of the influence and economic power of Black consumers."

The 2016 report delves into the spending and viewing habits of African Americans overall and credits a voracious appetite for television content with the dramatic increase in diverse television programming. Between 2011 and 2015, broadcast network TV ad spend focused on Black audiences (defined as ad dollars placed on programming with greater than 50% Black viewers) increased by 255%. The Top 10 TV shows among Black Millennials 18–24 and Blacks 35+ all had predominately Black casts or lead actors who are key to the storyline (e.g. "Empire," "How to Get Away With Murder," and "The Walking Dead").

Some other key highlights from the report:

African-Americans are Closing the Digital Divide

- African-American Millennials are 25% more likely than all Millennials to say they are among the first of their friends/colleagues to try new technology products.

- As smartphone owners, African-Americans (91%) are second only to Asian-Americans (94%).

- 91% of African Americans say they access the Internet on a mobile device, an increase from 86% in 2015, which further cements their status as digital leaders.

A Viral Vanguard: Social media engagement

- 55% of Black Millennials report spending at least one hour a day on social networking sites, which is 6% higher than all Millennials, while 29% say they spend at least three hours a day, 9% higher than all Millennials.

- 28% of African Americans age 35+ say they use social networking sites for at least one hour per day, which is 2% higher than the total population in this age group. Ten percent of African-Americans age 35+ say they use social networking sites for at least three hours per day, which is 2% higher than the total population age 35+).

Voracious Content Consumers

- African-American Millennials watch nearly 33 hours of live and DVR time-shifted television per week, about 12 and half more hours per week than total Millennials.

- African-American Millennials spend about two hours more per week (eight hours and 29 minutes versus six hours and 28 minutes) using the internet on PCs, and about an hour more weekly (three hours and 47 minutes versus two hours and 33 minutes) watching video on PCs than total Millennials.

Education advancements of Black Millennials

- 89% of African Americans ages 25–34 completed high school, compared to 77% of Black Americans ages 55 and older.

- 21% of African Americans ages 25–34 have an associate's college degree or higher, versus 17% of those who are 55 and older.

African-American incomes and spending power

- Overall Black spending power is projected to reach $1.4 trillion by 2020.

- From 2004 – 20014 the number of Black households with annual incomes of $50,000 - $75,000 increased 18% compared to 2% for the total U.S. For Black households earning $100,000+ annually, the increase between 2004 and 2014 was 95%, compared with 66% for the total population.

- The share of Black households with an income less than $25,000 declined from 43% in 2004 to 37% of the total African-American population in 2014.

For more details and insights, download the 2016 report, Young, Connected and Black: African-American Millennials Are Driving Social Change and Leading Digital Advancement.

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U.S. Consumer Goods Manufacturers and Retailers Find Growth Across the Store in $177 Billion Fresh Market

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The latest Total Consumer Report from Nielsen (NYSE: NLSN), which leverages the company's new Total Food View, shows that fresh categories within the U.S. are driving nearly 49% of all dollar growth across the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brick-and-mortar landscape. In fact, within the last year, fresh and perishable foods generated more than $177 billion in sales—marking a sizable growth opportunity for many FMCG marketers who may be operating with a siloed and non-holistic view of their market.

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"Each year we induct a new class to the DLN, we're strengthening our diverse pipeline for years to come," said Audrey Yi, VP, Diversity & Inclusion at Nielsen.

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Originally Published by Nielsen.

We recently inducted the class of 2018 for our Diverse Leadership Network (DLN) in Chicago, marking our fifth class of the program. The DLN, a 15-month leadership development program, is our most diverse leadership program and provides opportunities for high-potential, mid-level leaders to learn from senior leaders within the company, collaborate among their peers, and apply their skills to practical business case studies.

The 2018 class includes 40 talented associates from the U.S., Canada and Mexico and across every function of our business. Participants met with their coaches for the first time during the orientation. DLN coaches are senior leaders who guide participants throughout the 15-month program and provide strategic guidance for non-DLN related experiences as well. Some of our more than 90 associates who are DLN alums spoke at this year's orientation event, sharing strategies and tips for optimizing time in the program and enjoying networking and learning from their fellow classmates.

"Each year we induct a new class to the DLN, we're strengthening our diverse pipeline for years to come," said Audrey Yi, VP, Diversity & Inclusion at Nielsen. "Our data from the past five years of DLN graduates shows that, upon graduation from the program, associates are expanding their leadership and influence in our company, as 93% of alumni are in a new or expanded role and 20% have reached the VP/general manager level. Representation of DLN graduates in leadership positions shows that we're committed to infusing diversity and inclusion into everything we do at Nielsen."

DLN graduates are expected to complete business impact projects that will provide process improvements and innovation for our business. That's why we also invited senior leaders to share the company's strategic priorities for FMCG/Retail, Total Audience, Gracenote and more. Participants will use the content of these presentations to guide their problem-solving process on business projects that will be assigned later in the program.

As part of the program's initiative to foster external relationships with clients and other brands, Eugene Campbell, Director, Supplier Diversity and Sustainability for Allstate and Co-Chair of our African-American Advisory Council, gave a keynote address during the orientation. Eugene spoke about the unique opportunity afforded to DLN participants, and how this class should utilize their coaches and other resources to aid in their leadership journey.

DLN IMPACT PROJECTS

Meanwhile, the DLN class of 2017 has continued their development in the program and recently completed four business impact projects that will be beneficial for many aspects of our company and our clients.

Development and Socialization of Multicultural Solutions

A team of DLN participants developed a strategy to both aggregate and socialize Nielsen's multicultural solutions with clients. The team created a multicultural solution roadmap, that points our client teams to the appropriate Nielsen product that helps our clients better reach multicultural consumers. They also created a task force that meets monthly to increase client awareness of our multicultural solutions. This project is essential to our business, because it shows our clients that we know the importance of multicultural consumers and are able to accurately measure their unique consumer preferences and behaviors.

Sales Engineering Process Improvement

Another DLN team created a streamlined process for our data to reach our clients. First, they engaged with both our sales engineers and client service teams to assess the areas where there were opportunities for increased efficiency. Then, the team developed a detailed responsibilities structure, which ensures that tasks are properly allocated and prioritized. The end result of this project is a better flow of information to our clients, which allows us to drive their business goals more efficiently.

Internal Cultural Adoption of Total Audience

A third team worked to socialize and evangelize our Total Audience system for internal associates. The group developed a strategy to both educate our employees and build their interest in our Total Audience measurement, which seeks to measure viewership across the many platforms available to consumers today. By creating this engagement, we ensure that our associates know the best way to incorporate Total Audience solutions into their client relationships and that our clients have access to our best audience measurement tools.

Experienced Hire Talent Assessment Model

Our final DLN team studied Nielsen's need for a way to assess prospective experienced candidates for Nielsen jobs. They helped Nielsen select Pymetrics, a talent assessment company that will use a candidate-friendly, AI-powered, bias-free set of games to assess a candidate's fit for a role.

"The DLN team was instrumental in helping us get to the talent behind what's next, by evaluating the marketplace for talent assessment solutions," said Chris Louie, SVP, People Analytics and Talent Assessment and sponsor of the DLN talent assessment project. "They leveraged their diverse set of experiences—different perspectives shaped by their current functional and geographic homes and their personal experiences as candidates. This provided unique perspectives on what a useful cross-Nielsen solution would look like. This project is a prime example of the superior results that diverse teams can produce when empowered to do so."