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Nielsen, ESSENCE partner for expanded 2014 African American Consumer report

(September 25, 2014) Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights; with ESSENCE, the number one media company dedicated to African-American women, today jointly released "Powerful. Growing. Influential. The African-American Consumer 2014 Report," This is the fourth report examining Black consumers issued by Nielsen, surveying more than 10,000 online and in-person participants during the 20th ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans, to uncover what matters most to African-American consumers and key drivers of their purchasing and viewing habits.

"The ESSENCE Brand is strong in the African-American community," said Cheryl Pearson-McNeil, senior vice president, U.S. Community Alliances and Consumer Engagement, Nielsen. "This relationship has offered a successful cross-platform engagement opportunity to reach and listen to thousands of African-American consumers across the country."

The fourth report presented new insights on Blacks' media consumption, cultural identity, perceptions of advertising, and decision-making and preferences when shopping. Ninety-two percent of African-Americans surveyed tune in to radio each week.

Fifty-nine percent of African-Americans agreed that advertisers in Black newspapers know how to connect with the African-American audience.

African-Americans continue to over-index in real-time television viewing, and watch nearly 45 hours per week, which is about 14 more hours weekly than any other group.

More than half (52%) of affluent African-Americans (annual incomes of $50,000+) agreed that advertising in culturally relevant magazines provides useful information about products and bargains.

African-Americans are heavy users of smartphones and have high participation rates on social media. Smartphone penetration for Blacks is at 78%.

Blacks also feel their expression on social media provides a strong connection to their favorite brands and 81% are more likely to support brands or their favorite company via social channels.

"The ESSENCE of Black Women Consumers," a special pull-out section on Black females, is a new feature for this year's report. The insights provide a comprehensive view of the Black woman and her power as a consumer.

"In partnership with Nielsen, we uncovered the true 'Essence of Black Women Consumers', who self-identify as community-builders," said Michelle Ebanks, president, Essence Communications Inc. "For our passionate audience of women--who are striving for economic, social and political equality -- strengthening community through consumerism is intrinsic and serves as a pathway to empowerment."

Highlights from "The ESSENCE of Black Women Consumers" include:

- 80% of Black women will tell their friends about a product if they like it.

- Black women are twice more likely to spend more than three hours on social networking sites in an average day than the general market.

- 79% of African-American women agree that pursuing good health is important.

- 62% of African-American women believe embracing and supporting their ethnic culture is important.

Culturally Relevant Advertising

Cultural identity and diversity were two important themes which African-Americans indicated resonated with them and are critical variables that drive purchases. Compared to the general population, African-Americans are 30% more likely to believe diversity in advertising is important, and 38% are more likely to make a purchase when the advertisements have African-Americans included.

To download a copy of the full report, please visit Nielsen's microsite for African-American consumers at

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