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To spend or how much to spend, that is the question millions of Americans are faced with each holiday season. But unlike in recent years, it appears that many are opting to loosen the purse strings this holiday season and forgo tightly budgeted shopping lists for more bountiful spending sprees. In particular, multicultural consumers are expected to drive this year’s increase in holiday spending with African-Americans making up the largest percentage of the increase, according to Nielsen’s 2014 Holiday Sales Forecast.

Trends such as rising consumer confidence in the economy, lowered inflation and falling gas prices indicate that consumers overall are eager to spend more this holiday season than last year. Multicultural households are projected to account for 43% of the increased spending this holiday season. African-Americans are expected to be the heavier spenders this season, accounting for 17%, spending more than other groups.

So where are African-Americans shopping?

With multicultural households driving this year’s online growth, African-Americans plan to spend 20% more online compared to last year. African-Americans also plan to spend 15% more at electronics retailers and grocery stores this season.

African-Americans’ holiday lists are diverse as well. Electronics including smartphones, TVs and laptops will account for 17% more spending by African-Americans compared to 10% of total households. Other product areas where increased spending is planned include 17% more on food and 15% more on apparel.

African-Americans — at 44 million strong and approximately 14.2% of the country’s population — make up a powerful group with a growing impact on American culture and business. This demographic is largely young — 53% are under the age of 35 — giving them an oversized influence on the latest trends, especially with music and pop culture. In addition, higher academic achievement has translated into increases in household income — 44% of all African-American households now earn $50,000 or more and 23% earn above $75,000. And these higher household incomes, coupled with overall population growth, are driving the substantial purchasing power of the African-American consumer, which is expected to reach $1.3 trillion in a few short years.

The 2014 Holiday Sales Forecast insights were derived from two custom studies: a consumer survey of more than 25,000 U.S. households in September 2014 and sales forecasts from an analysis of 92 categories covering five departments representing more than $100 billion in sales.

holiday Shopping graphic (WEEK 7_11-20)

To read more about this year’s holiday shopping findings, please visit

For more insights on African-American consumers, please visit Nielsen’s microsite for African-American consumers at



‘Tis the Season for the Power of Black Consumers  was originally published on