More Shoppers Want to “Buy Black” this Holiday Season

12/1/17

By Sydney Price, NC BIZ News

Black shoppers are attempting to increase sales of black-owned retailers who often go overlooked this holiday season, specifically in the beauty industry.

The number of black-owned businesses grew 34 percent between 2007 and 2012 according to the Selig Center. As this number continues to grow, people are becoming more aware of black-owned businesses in their area with the help of apps and websites like WhereU, which locates black-owned businesses within a short radius of the user’s location.

Supporters of the “Buy Black” movement have used Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media platforms to bring awareness to the cause.

The National Retail Federation expects the average American consumer will spend $967.13 this holiday season in retail stores and at online retailers. Total holiday retail sales are expected to be between $678.8 billion and $682 billion. Twenty-five percent of consumers say they plan to buy from a small or local business and 59 percent plan to shop online.

Black business owners are hoping they will receive a larger portion of these sales this year by targeting black consumers more.

Carmen Ross, 23, identifies as African-American. She said she buys most of her hair care products from black-owned businesses, not as a social movement but out of necessity.

“Brands like Dove and L’Oreal don’t make hair products that work with my hair texture, so I have to buy from more specialty brands,” Ross said.

Ross said she took advantage of Thanksgiving-weekend sales at Ulta and Sally Beauty because these stores offer the brands she uses. She said her favorite brands are Shea Moisture, Carol’s Daughter and Mielle.

Ross reports spending about $100 solely on hair products on Black Friday.

The NRF reported the average spending per person over the five-day shopping period was $335.47

The cosmetic market grew about 4 percent in 2016 compared to 3.9 percent in 2015 and 3.6 percent in 2014, according to data collected by L’Oréal. Growth in the cosmetic industry inspired more people to share their makeup routines through their YouTube channels.

Aisha Rajput, 24, identifies as black and Pakistani. She graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2015 and now works as a paralegal in New York City while running her beauty channel on YouTube. She said she has been interested in makeup since she was 2 years old. She hopes to raise enough awareness for her YouTube channel that it can eventually become her full-time job and main source of income.

Despite the industry growth, Rajput is still disappointed in the lack of diversity among popular beauty YouTube channels.

“It’s disappointing that the beauty community of YouTube is so large, and the black population in general is so large, but I can count the number of popular black beauty YouTubers on my hand,” Rajput said.

Rajput said the brands she usually features on her channel are those who successfully cater to women of color and have diversity in their advertising.

“Mainstream beauty companies will have to play catch-up to reach people of color,” she said.

Rajput said the popularity of singer Rihanna’s newly released makeup line Fenty Beauty among black women should be an indicator to other brands they have a larger market to cater to.

Rajput said she has seen a trend of more women of color on YouTube criticizing large beauty corporations for a lack of diversity.

“Maybe it’s sad we have to call them out this way, but I think they are getting the message,” she said.

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