“Identities are more than what meets the eye. Our identities are our lived experiences, and Black consumers are focused on expressing those experiences through various mediums. Although Black consumers have a special interest in physical appearance as a form of self-expression, physical appearance is just a microcosm of their greater identity. For brands, a deep dive into the skills, lifestyles, and heritage of Black consumers will ultimately help this group feel seen and represented.”
Courtney Rominiyi, Multicultural Consumers and Culture Analyst

This Report looks at the following areas:

  • How Black consumers define their own identity
  • Areas used to express individuality/personality
  • Self-expression through physical appearance
  • Connection of personal style, heritage and community

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • This Report looks at the following areas
        • Market context
        • Executive Summary

            • Top takeaways 
              • Market overview 
                • Opportunities and challenges
                  • Opportunity: represent Black consumers’ personal interests rather than just their skin color in advertising
                    • Figure 1: Elements that influence identity, 2023
                  • Opportunity: utilize gaming and VR to improve the footwear shopping experience and help create community for Black men
                    • Figure 2: Expression of identity through physical appearance, footwear, by gender, 2023
                  • Opportunity: help young Black adults create the perfect standout look with a virtual closet
                    • Figure 3: Purpose of appearance, by age, 2023
                  • Challenge: helping young Black consumers feel confident in expressing their identity
                    • Figure 4: Purpose of personal style, 2023
                  • Key consumer insights
                    • Black men need more attention and outlets to express their personal identity
                      • Most Black consumers are looking to stand out with their appearance
                        • Freedom of expression can help with mental wellness for Black consumers
                        • Black Consumers by the Numbers

                          • Black population on the rise with a projected 4% increase from 2022-2027
                            • Figure 5: Population, by race and Hispanic origin, 2017-27
                          • Three in 10 Black consumers earn less than $25K annually
                            • Figure 6: Household income distribution, by race and Hispanic origin of householder, 2020
                            • Figure 7: Median household income, by race and Hispanic origin of householder, 2020
                        • Market Factors

                          • Inflation will impact shopping patterns
                            • Figure 8: Consumer Price Index change from previous period, 2013-23
                          • Unemployment remains low, but fear of recession looms
                            • Figure 9: Unemployment, 2020-23
                          • CROWN Act is helping make hair discrimination illegal
                          • Competitive Strategies and Current Opportunities

                              • Meeting consumer needs through the lens of the Wellbeing Trend Driver
                                • Mix fashion and fitness to empower young Black consumers
                                  • Meeting consumer needs through the lens of the Value Trend Driver
                                    • Collaborations with high-end brands improve quality and affordability
                                      • Meeting consumer needs through the lens of the Technology Trend Driver
                                        • Create a virtual closet that gives consumers the perfect look
                                        • Symbols of Identity – Fast Facts

                                          • Defining Their Own Identity

                                            • Black consumers believe their abilities and responsibilities are the greatest influences on their identity
                                              • Figure 10: Elements that influence identity, 2023
                                            • Brands should focus on initiatives that help Black consumers feel more in tune with their personal lives and legacy rather than simply their skin color
                                              • Commercial spotlight: NFL promotes female empowerment and athleticism through Super Bowl LVII commercial featuring Diana Flores
                                                • Figure 11: NFL Super Bowl LVII commercial || run with it, 2023
                                              • Brand spotlight: Talenti amplifies Black voices and appeals to Black consumers through their skills and talents
                                                • Figure 12: Talenti Purpose, 2023
                                              • Division in perception of identity between younger and older Black consumers presents opportunity for brands to extend their market reach
                                                • Figure 13: Elements that influence identity by age, 2023
                                                • Figure 14: Polo Ralph Lauren Instagram page, 2023
                                              • Racial and cultural heritage becomes an important identifier as Black consumers’ HHI increases
                                                • Figure 15: Racial and cultural influence on identity by income, 2023
                                            • Areas Used to Express Individuality/Personality

                                              • Physical appearance, community and activities are the best mediums for Black consumers to express themselves
                                                • Figure 16: Areas used to express individuality, 2022
                                              • Brand spotlight: Anti Social Social Club builds community through fashion and social initiatives
                                                • Figure 17: Anti Social Social Club, Instagram page, 2023
                                              • Black men are keen on footwear as a point of self-expression
                                                • Figure 18: Expression of identity through physical appearance, footwear, by gender, 2023
                                              • Hairstyles are a mainstay for Black women as a primary means of self-expression
                                                • Figure 19: Expression of identity through physical appearance, hairstyle, 2023
                                              • Brand spotlight: Spotify educates, connects and jams – create a fun styling experience for Black women with a guided playlist
                                              • Importance Placed on Self-expression through Physical Appearance

                                                • Black consumers place a great deal of importance on physical appearance as a reflection of their identity
                                                  • Figure 20: Importance of self-expression through physical appearance, 2023
                                                • Brand spotlight: Dove commits to banning hair discrimination with the CROWN Act
                                                  • Figure 21: The Crown Act Instagram page, 2023
                                                • Physical appearance is part of parenting identity for Black fathers
                                                  • Figure 22: Importance of self-expression through physical appearance, fathers vs overall, 2023
                                                • Most Black consumers use their appearance to stand out, with Gen Z leading the charge
                                                  • Figure 23: Purpose of appearance, by generation, 2023
                                                • Brand spotlight: Puig’s Wikiparfum guides consumers to the best fragrance option based on their preferences
                                                  • Figure 24: Puig Instagram page, 2023
                                              • The Impact of Physical Appearance on Mental Wellness

                                                • Expressions of personal style can influence mood and community
                                                  • Figure 25: Purpose of personal style, 2023
                                                • Brand spotlight: Megan Thee Stallion and her mental health resource website encourage mental wellness through clothes and music
                                                  • While open to experimentation, young Black consumers may feel strained while doing so
                                                    • Figure 26: Purpose of personal style, 2023
                                                  • Brand spotlight: Strava mixes fashion, community and fitness to empower young Black consumers
                                                    • Figure 27: Strava Instagram page, 2023
                                                  • Most Black consumers have a casual personal style and likely want everything else in their lives to follow that trend
                                                    • Figure 28: Preferred personal style, 2023
                                                  • Brand spotlight: Jacquemus x Nike collaboration creates luxury in the casual – helping Black consumers strike a balance between comfort and couture
                                                    • Figure 29: Jacquemus Instagram page, 2023
                                                • Expressing Identity through Physical Appearance and Connection to Heritage

                                                  • Diversity in lineage is likely to influence how Black consumers dress
                                                    • Figure 30: Attitudes towards symbols of identity, 2023
                                                  • Brand spotlight Logitech leverages partnership with BeReal to connect with their Gen Z target
                                                    • Figure 31: Logitech Instagram page, 2023
                                                  • This connection to fashion and heritage allows Black consumers to connect with their community
                                                    • Figure 32: Attitude toward style and identity, 2023
                                                  • Brand spotlight: George at ASDA launches clothing collection for young people with disabilities
                                                    • This point of connection is especially important for Black men
                                                      • Figure 33: Purpose of personal style, any agree, by gender, 2023
                                                  • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                    • Consumer survey data
                                                      • Abbreviations and terms
                                                        • Abbreviations
                                                          • Terms

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