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Digital Trends - Black Consumers - US - May 2019

Covered in this report

This report tracks Black consumers’ household and personal ownership of technology devices, means of accessing the internet, family dynamics regarding technology, and overall attitudes that drive behavior in the category.

Devices covered in this report include:

  • Televisions: HDTV (high definition), UHD TVs (ultra-high definition), and smart TVs
  • Streaming media OTT (over-the-top) devices
  • Gaming consoles
  • Mobile devices including smartphones and tablets and phablets
  • Voice activated “smart” devices
  • Desktop, laptop, and convertible “hybrid” computers
  • E-readers
  • Home security systems
  • Cameras, including camcorders, wearables, point-and-shoot digital, D-SLR (digital single-lens reflex)
  • DVRs (digital video recorders)
  • Cable/satellite receiver boxes
  • Over-the-ear headphones
  • Bluetooth speakers
  • Portable media players

"Digital technology touches all Black consumers, whether it is a tool of convenience, a connector to their social circle, or most importantly an accessible entertainment center. Desired innovations for this consumer are rooted in a desire for better accessibility through the internet and wireless technology rather than by way of devices."

Toya Mitchell, Multicultural Analyst

This report will look at the following areas:

  • Impact of digital technology evident across Black consumer segments
  • Devices must entertain first, provide utility second
  • Fast, unlimited data is the number one priority, but anticipation of 5G does not match desire
  • Entertainment is the primary digital activity
  • Online shopping supplements in-store shopping

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • Overview
          • The insights and opportunities
            • Impact of digital technology evident across Black consumer segments
              • Figure 1: Black consumer digital segments, February 2019
            • Devices must entertain first, provide utility second
              • Figure 2: Household and personal device ownership, total vs Black, February 2019
            • Fast, unlimited data is the number one priority, but anticipation of 5G does not match desire
              • Figure 3: 5G technology knowledge and attitudes toward digital technology – Internet, February 2019
            • Entertainment is the primary digital activity
              • Figure 4: Hardware used for select online activities – Total vs Black, February 2019
            • Online shopping supplements in-store shopping
              • Figure 5: Online activities – Shopping and attitudes toward digital technology, February 2019 and October 2017-November 2018
            • What it means
            • The Market – What You Need to Know

              • Black population is younger than the general market
                • Broadband internet access on the rise in Black households, but still lower than the average
                  • Gap in internet access closed with smartphone data
                    • Black consumers prefer live TV over DVR programming
                    • The Black Population by the Numbers

                      • The non-Hispanic Black population is 41 million
                        • Figure 6: US population by race and Hispanic origin, 2013-23
                      • One third of Black people are Generation Z or younger
                        • Figure 7: Black share of generation and generational share of Black population, 2018
                      • Most Black adults are single
                        • Figure 8: Detailed type of US households, by total and Black, 2018
                      • Nearly one third of Black households include children
                        • Figure 9: US households with related children, by race and Hispanic origin of householder, 2018
                    • Market Factors

                      • Black middle class on par with the average
                        • Figure 10: Total and Black household income distribution, 2017
                      • Black consumer confidence likely mirrors all consumers
                        • Figure 11: Consumer confidence and unemployment, total and Black, 2000-19*
                      • Black broadband at-home access lags in spite of share gains
                        • Figure 12: At-home broadband internet subscription rates, by race and Hispanic origin, 2015-17
                      • Most kids use the internet at home
                        • Figure 13: Percentage of children ages 3-18 who use the internet and usage across various locations, by race and Hispanic origin, 2017
                      • Black consumers demonstrate greater reliance on smartphone data
                        • Figure 14: Smartphone unlimited data plan subscriptions, total and Black, trended 2014-18
                    • Market Perspective

                      • Live TV tops home entertainment
                        • Figure 15: Black consumers’ content consumption and sharing, October 2017
                      • Advertising is informative and blends with content
                        • Figure 16: Attitudes toward media, hi-tech, and cell phones/smartphones – Advertising, total vs Black, October 2017-November 2018
                        • Figure 17: Black consumer attitudes toward advertising, July 2018
                      • Online shopping supplements, rather than replaces, bricks-and-mortar shopping
                        • Figure 18: Attitudes toward media, hi-tech, and cell phones/smartphones – Shopping, total and Black, October 2017-November 2018
                    • Key Trends – What You Need to Know

                      • Most Black consumers still subscribe to cable, but cord-cutting is on the rise
                        • Netflix is the streaming platform of choice among cable subscribers and cord cutters
                          • Smartphone ownership is on par with the general market, but brand preferences are flipped
                            • Black consumers prefer entertainment vs informational phone apps
                              • 5G poised to have a greater impact on Black consumers
                              • What’s Happening in the World of Digital?

                                • TV and content viewership
                                  • Most Black consumers still subscribe to cable or satellite . . .
                                    • Figure 19: Cable and satellite subscribers and cancellers, total vs Black, October 2017-November 2018
                                  • . . . but the share of households that subscribes is falling
                                    • Figure 20: Cable subscribers and satellite ownership, total vs Black, trended 2014-18
                                  • Cable households a mix of mostly premium channels plus Netflix subscribers
                                    • Figure 21: Video clip of Netflix’s “What Had Happened Was” talk show featuring Sanaa Lathan and Regina Hall, October 2018
                                    • Figure 22: Premium cable and streaming subscriptions among cable subscribers, total vs Black, October 2017-November 2018
                                  • Black cord cutters rely on paid streaming video for content
                                    • Figure 23: Alternatives to cable/satellite TV, total vs Black, October 2017-November 2018
                                  • Inexpensive, easy-to-use Amazon Fire TV is the preferred streaming device
                                    • Figure 24: Streaming device type, total vs Black, October 2017-November 2018
                                  • Mobile phone ownership and behavior
                                    • Black consumers choose Samsung due to cost and flexibility
                                      • Figure 25: Smartphone ownership, total vs Black and vs 2017, October 2017-November 2018
                                    • Smartphone brand name more important than available features
                                      • Figure 26: Leading cell phone/smartphone feature ownership and use, total vs Black, October 2017-November 2018
                                    • App usage suggests greater value in entertainment vs tools
                                      • Figure 27: Top 10 cell phone/smartphone apps usage, total vs Black, October 2017-November 2018
                                    • Free music content trumps paid subscriptions
                                      • Figure 28: Streaming music app use, total vs Black, October 2017-November 2018
                                  • What’s Next?

                                    • Streaming services fatigue seems inevitable
                                      • 5G is coming, but few understand what that means
                                        • Figure 29: 5G awareness and knowledge, February 2019
                                      • Instagram’s new check out feature will be a game changer for Black consumers
                                      • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                        • Digital user segments based on impact of technology on their lives
                                          • Home is the Black consumer’s entertainment center
                                            • Smartphone and computer ownership on par, yet overindex on entertainment-driven devices
                                              • Content consumption is primary online activity
                                                • Parents are comfortable with kids online after they set guidelines
                                                  • Data quality trumps device innovation
                                                  • Black Consumer Digital Segmentation

                                                    • Digital integration dependant on utility
                                                      • Figure 30: Black consumer digital segmentation, February 2019
                                                    • Digital can never replace traditional communication for Light Users
                                                        • Figure 31: Light digital user profile, February 2019
                                                      • Services and hardware are utilitarian tools for Moderate Users
                                                          • Figure 32: Moderate digital user profile, February 2019
                                                        • Heavy Users’ lives revolve around digital access
                                                            • Figure 33: Heavy digital user profile, February 2019
                                                        • Household Device Ownership

                                                          • Reliance on home entertainment drives tech ownership
                                                            • Figure 34: Household device ownership, total vs Black, February 2019
                                                          • Less expensive and multifunctional home devices growing in popularity
                                                            • Figure 35: Household device ownership, 2017 vs 2019, February 2019
                                                          • Heavy Users accumulate devices as they are introduced to market
                                                            • Figure 36: Household device ownership, by Black consumer digital segments, February 2019
                                                          • Parents own devices with broader family appeal
                                                            • Figure 37: Household device ownership, by parental status and gender, February 2019
                                                        • Personal Device Ownership

                                                          • Smartphone ownership enables connection, entertainment, and organization
                                                            • Figure 38: Personal device ownership, total vs Black, February 2019
                                                            • Figure 39: Attitudes regarding cell phones/smartphones, total vs Black, October 2017-November 2018
                                                          • Consumers shift to more-efficient devices as they become available
                                                            • Figure 40: Personal device ownership, 2017 vs 2019, February 2019
                                                          • A device for every need . . . if you have the income
                                                            • Figure 41: Personal device ownership, by household income, February 2019
                                                          • Difference in personal ownership due to cost, rather than desire
                                                            • Figure 42: Personal device ownership, by Black consumer digital segments, February 2019
                                                        • Methods of Accessing the Internet

                                                          • Anytime, anywhere computing and content consumption dominates access
                                                            • Figure 43: Methods of accessing the internet, total vs Black, February 2019
                                                          • Users’ access differs by entertainment preferences
                                                            • Figure 44: Methods of accessing the internet, by Black consumer digital segments, February 2019
                                                          • Family entertainment enabled across multiple devices
                                                            • Figure 45: Methods of accessing the internet, by marital status and parental status, February 2019
                                                        • Hardware Used for Online Activities

                                                          • Content is king online
                                                            • Figure 46: online activities, any device, total vs Black, February 2019
                                                          • Smartphones handle all activities, but computers make shopping easier
                                                            • Figure 47: Hardware used for online activities, by device, February 2019
                                                          • Smartphone use is determined by its utility and value
                                                            • Figure 48: Hardware used for online activities – Smartphone, by Black consumer digital segments, February 2019
                                                          • Computers are equally as important in consuming content
                                                            • Figure 49: Hardware used for online activities – Computer, by Black consumer digital segments, February 2019
                                                          • Nearly half own a smart TV, but not all watch video on them
                                                            • Figure 50: Hardware used for online activities – Smart TV, by Black consumer digital segments, February 2019
                                                        • Family Dynamics and Technology

                                                          • Parents’ dependency on technology extends to the kids
                                                            • Figure 51: Family dynamics and technology, total vs Black, February 2019
                                                          • Middle-class kids own their own personal devices
                                                            • Figure 52: Family dynamics and technology, by household income, February 2019
                                                          • Parents give older kids autonomy with tech devices due to trust
                                                            • Figure 53: Family dynamics and technology, by kids’ ages, February 2019
                                                          • Married parents attempt to balance family interaction with tech access
                                                            • Figure 54: Family dynamics and technology, by marital status, February 2019
                                                        • Attitudes toward Digital Technology

                                                          • Data quality has greater value vs device innovation
                                                            • Figure 55: Attitudes toward digital technology, February 2019
                                                          • Black consumer attitudes toward tech on par with the general market
                                                            • Figure 56: Attitudes toward digital technology, total vs Black, February 2019
                                                          • Fast, unlimited data is crucial for Heavy Users
                                                            • Figure 57: Attitudes toward digital technology – Data and internet, by Black consumer digital segments, February 2019
                                                          • Device obsolescence is a concern, but not enough to buy new
                                                            • Figure 58: Attitudes toward digital technology – Device and services, by Black consumer digital segments, February 2019
                                                          • Digital technology is the hub for entertainment, connection, and efficiency
                                                            • Figure 59: Attitudes toward digital technology – Innovation, by Black consumer digital segments, February 2019
                                                        • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                          • Data sources
                                                            • Consumer survey data
                                                              • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                • Abbreviations
                                                                  • Terms
                                                                  • Appendix – The Consumer

                                                                      • Figure 60: Smartphone unlimited data plan subscriptions, total and Black, trended 2014-18
                                                                      • Figure 61: Attitudes toward media, hi-tech and cell phones/smartphones – Shopping, total and Black, October 2017-November 2018
                                                                      • Figure 62: Attitudes toward media, hi-tech and cell phones/smartphones – Advertising, total vs Black, October 2017-November 2018
                                                                      • Figure 63: Cable and satellite subscribers and cancellers, total and Black, October 2017-November 2018
                                                                      • Figure 64: Cable subscribers and satellite ownership, total vs Black, trended 2014-18
                                                                      • Figure 65: Premium cable and streaming subscriptions among cable subscribers, total vs Black, October 2017-November 2018
                                                                      • Figure 66: Alternatives to cable/satellite TV, total vs Black, October 2017-November 2018
                                                                      • Figure 67: Streaming device by type, total vs Black, October 2017-November 2018
                                                                      • Figure 68: Smartphone ownership, indexed to total and vs 2017, October 2017-November 2018
                                                                      • Figure 69: Leading cell phone/smartphone feature ownership and use, total vs Black, October 2017-November 2018
                                                                      • Figure 70: Cell phone/smartphone apps usage, total vs Black, October 2017-November 2018
                                                                      • Figure 71: Streaming music app use, total vs Black, October 2017-November 2018

                                                                  Digital Trends - Black Consumers - US - May 2019

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