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By Darwin Campbell

HOUSTON – Economic impotence is at the heart of every problem that effects the Black community.

In the LetsBuyBlack 365 movement, the reasoning is simple: Support Black business because the fallout from a Black community without strong businesses and economic power is the lack of political power.

Lack of political voice means schools not controlled by us can and do massively mis-educate and under-educate our children,” according to a mission statement from the group. “Mis-educated children grow up unable to compete nationally academically nor later for jobs. Unable to compete, the miseducated turn to illegal or hard jobs to survive.”

That is a vicious cycle African-Americans must break in order to progress and move forward in America.

We don’t feel wealthy, because we are sending all of our money outside the Black community.

One way to reverse the trend is to start investing at home – in businesses in our own neighborhoods.

Support Starts at Home

There are many reasons to support Black business in the Black community, but nothing more important than recognizing the economic power that rests in the palm of our hands.

The H-Town Black Konnect is one way to break that cycle by supporting the premise of connecting our communities to the services they need – and from an African-American perspective.

H-Town Black Konnect can showcase and display the multitude of Black business savvy and talent that exists in the Black neighborhoods operating just around the corner or down the street. It is important to advertise your business as a service to our community so that they can know who you are and what it is you specialize in. That opens doors to new friendships, relationships and partnerships that can last a lifetime.

Recognize Black Economic Power

Black buying power reached $1.2 trillion last year, and is estimated to be $1.4 trillion by 2020, according to the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth.

That kind of combined spending power would make Black America the 15th largest economy in the world in terms of Gross Domestic Product and the size of Mexico, based on World Bank data.

By comparison, in 1990, Black buying power was $320 billion. As the largest consumer group of color, in a nation that is becoming increasingly darker, this trend will only continue to have its impact on the U.S.

The size and influence of affluent African-Americans is growing faster than that of non-Hispanic Whites across all income segments, and the impact is being felt across industries,” said Cheryl Pearson-McNeil, Senior Vice President, U.S. Strategic Community Alliances and Consumer Engagement, Nielsen. “These larger incomes are attributed to a number of factors including youthfulness, immigration, historic educational attainment and constant, relevant dialogue across various social media channels that have an impact on African-Americans’ decisions as brand loyalists and ambassadors. Savvy marketers are taking notice.”

According to more research by as detailed in a report by Nielsen in collaboration with the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), Blacks current buying power sits at $1 trillion and that is forecasted to rise and reach $1.3 trillion this year.

In an excerpt from another report, Nielsen highlights that by 2060, the Black population will increase from 45.7 million to 74.5 million, with 17.9 percent of the U.S. population.

From 2000 to 2014, the rate of African-American population growth was more than double the white rate of 8.2 percent, and 35 percent faster than the U.S. population as a whole.

Dr. Boyce Watkins told the Atlanta Star Journal last year that the key to economic growth, progress and independence is for Blacks need to harness that wealth.

According to Watkins, with over $1 trillion, one can buy: 1,000 NFL teams; 3,000 predominantly white universities; the annual budget of 1.4 million charter schools across the nation; pay the tuition at Howard University for 50 million students for an entire year; buy 854,000 community centers; purchase NBC, ESPN and CBS and still have $1 trillion left over.

How We Spend Our Money

Currently 43 million strong, African-American consumers have unique behaviors from the total market. A Nielsen study revealed that African-Americans are more aggressive consumers of media and shop more frequently.

Blacks also watch more television, make more shopping trips, purchase nine times more ethnic beauty and grooming products, read more financial magazines and spend more than twice the time at personal hosted websites than any other ethnic group.

African-Americans also make an average of 156 shopping trips per year, compared with 146 for the total market and favoring smaller retail outlets. Some of those stores and shops include: drug stores, convenience stores, and dollar stores. Personal health and beauty supply stores are also popular within the black community, because of stocking an abundance of ethnic hair and beauty aids that cater specifically to the unique needs of African-American hair textures.

Overall, health and beauty supply stores have an average household penetration rate of 46 percent among African-Americans, and the average black household spends an average of $94 in that type of store each year.

Other Black buying trends popular buying categories include fragrances, personal items as well as family planning, household care and cleaning products and an increasing emphasis on family and cooking ingredients tied to cultural traditions.

For business, it is another opportunity to connect with black shoppers and build a strong customer base.

Redefining the Purpose

Given the powerful cultural influences and population growth, there appear to be having an unprecedented impact across a broad range of industries, particularly in television, music, social media and social issues,” according to the report.

The big question remains how does that translate in Houston, Texas.

Black Business is important and the lifeblood of our progress and success in the Black community and we must channel that income to businesses by spending money in our own communities and advertising with those business in the community in The H-Town Black Connect .

It seeks to help business and consumer meet and provide the kinds of connections that go well beyond one purchase or one visit.

The H-Town Black Konnect supports the principles and overall goals of LetsBuyBlack 365.

In that movement are five key goals are to:

1) Empower Black people through committed Black owned businesses

2) Create vehicles to empower young people with opportunities for the present and the future

3) Re-instill consumer confidence in Black Businesses

4) Infuse capital in targeted enterprises that can increase the availability of sustainable jobs and career opportunities for our people

5) Be a hub for dialog and action around economic empowerment.

The H-Town Konnect is the setting the pace and standards for future prosperity in the African-American community by not only being a leader, but being ahead of the curb in introducing business and consumer to a new relationship.

That strategy makes a true “Konnection” that benefits the community as a whole and builds economic power and wealth in the community. That allows us to creating many jobs in our own communities over enriching others..

Research from the Nielsen Company, Let’s Buy Black 365 and information from Atlanta Star Journal contributed to this story.

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