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Black Millennials In the US Are Closing The Digital Divide And Whats True For Them Is Also True For Africans


A Nielson (the digital age measurement company) report just out today say younger generation of blacks in the United States are closing the digital divide through their use mobile technology than any other racial group in the United States.

The report notes that blacks have used social media to also push issues that concern the black community from police shootings to education and over the years, we have seen how popular hashtags on Twitter and elsewhere have been formed to raise awareness around the world. “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.

Here’s a few highlights from the report for you;

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

With respect to economic 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.

As a student of history, this should come as good news to the black community and America which relies heavily on consumer spending.

Elsewhere in Africa, it is projected that consumer spending will increase in major cities into the 2020s and this is good news for tech companies too because consumer purchasing power is critical to shipments of new devices.

In July, we did a report on why PC shipment to African nations has continued to fall and one of the critical factors is drop in purchasing power and the overall economy. Many African nations are oil export dependent and since the price crashed, it’s been quite difficult for many nations and Nigeria which is the largest consumer market is currently in a recession. There is also the strength of the dollar against other currencies and the list goes on and on. But what’s true for African Americans is also true sometimes for Africans.

Both were ruled and relegated at some point in history and only began to independently start doing business less than  60 years ago and as result, the average white was more educated than his black counterpart and that meant higher earnings as well. Higher earnings also meant higher economic power and this continued well into this decade but thanks to the internet. This is fast changing even as people get more aware.

  • Africa has a growing population of over 1 billion and over 200 million of the population is between 15 and 24 years of age.
  • It is projected that there e will be nearly 400 million smartphone users on the continent by 2017
  • Countries like Nigeria have achieved a near 100 percent tele density and this is true for many other African nations
  • Broadband coverage rate is growing and much more

Social media is being used to change the way we do things. A simple hashtag can make all the different. Remember the Arab Spring? Well it started from North Africa and the internet was really used to change governments.

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