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African immigrants an untapped beauty market


LOS ANGELES —Attention retailers and multicultural beauty brands: The African immigrant consumer market in the United States is a largely untapped consumer segment that yields $50 billion in purchasing power, according to data from the U.S. African Chamber of Commerce.

“There are [more than] 1.4 million Africans living in the United States, and these consumers possess very high educational attainment and incomes. Additionally, this is a segment with a powerful sense of identity and pride in being African,” stated David Morse, president and CEO of New American Dimensions, a firm that provides customized multicultural consumer research.

These consumers maintain connections to their friends and family in their native countries, as well as maintain ties to native traditions, including food, music and entertainment.

The study—conducted among 393 African immigrant adults in California, Minnesota, Washington, D.C., and New York—found that African immigrants tend to be sensible shoppers, and that younger shoppers are prone to buying products recommended by family and friends.

Supermarkets lead the list of stores patronized by African immigrants, according to the study, while discount stores and low-end department stores are the top shopping venues for clothes and accessories.

Those marketers looking to reach this consumer group are wise to turn to social media, as Africans—especially younger Africans—are heavy visitors of online social groups. Most of these consumers have personal computers, as e-mail is used heavily for keeping in touch. Nearly all of the Africans interviewed for the survey owned cell phones.

“This is a growing consumer segment within the multicultural market—one that cannot be overlooked,” stated Martin Mohammed, president of the U.S. African Chamber of Commerce.

The study is by New American Dimensions in conjunction with The African Chamber of Commerce; Bruce Corrie, dean of the College of Business and Organizational Leadership at Concordia University in St. Paul, Minn.; The Minneapolis Foundation; and Aguilar Productions.

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