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Skin of Color in the United States
By: Daphne kasriel-Alexander, Euromonitor International
Posted: March 3, 2011, from the March 2011 issue of GCI Magazine.
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America’s newest generation, the Millennials, is in the middle of the coming-of-age phase of its life cycle, with its oldest members heading for age 30, and its youngest approaching adolescence. A February 2009 report by the New America Foundation, a public policy institute and think tank, revealed that Millennials are the most ethnically and racially diverse cohort of youth in the history of the U.S. Among those aged 13–29, 18.5% are Hispanic, 14.2% are black, 4.3% are Asian, 3.2% are mixed race or other, and 59.8%—a record low—are white.
A summer 2010 national multicultural survey by ad agency GlobalHue found ethnic boundaries blurring in the new America. After looking at four major population segments—African-Americans, Hispanics, Asian-Americans and non-Hispanic Whites—the survey, titled Multicultural Nation: Divergence and Convergence in the New America, found consumers from various ethnic groups clustered by degrees of feelings of optimism and pessimism, and by the degree to which they were engaged in their communities.
“The backdrop to many of the decisions made by the American consumer today is the degree of optimism or pessimism that they feel,” said Don Coleman, chairman of GlobalHue, who sees this as having important implications for marketers seeking to understand all American consumers—whether urban or rural, upwardly mobile or downscale, acculturated or newly migrated.
Affluent Ethnic Consumers
Luxury marketers are starting to think of new ways to segment and target consumers, and many analysts are pointing to a cohort of comfortable-but-often untapped consumers—affluent consumers of color. This group is an under the radar but overtly influential consumer segment offering opportunity for luxury purveyors.
According to Merrill Lynch, approximately 40,000 Hispanics are physicians, and Packaged Facts indicates Asian-Americans now total about 13 million people in the U.S., representing between 10–25% of elite university enrollments.1 Within this group, Indians are the fastest-growing and wealthiest ethnicity, with almost 40% of all Indians holding a professional degree.1 In the U.S., companies such as New Jersey-based Diversity Affluence are seeking to help brands understand and market to affluent consumers of color.