A Common Mistake African-American Shoppers Make

A new study of Black consumers’ shopping habits shows one simple mistake many African-Americans make while buying groceries.

Posted: 01/10/2012 10:11 AM EST
Filed Under National News, Economy

It should go without saying that African-Americans’ buying power is not as large as their white counterparts’. The simple fact is that Blacks don’t command as much wealth as whites, but that doesn’t meant that they’re entirely broke either. In fact, a new study from the Nielsen Company, a worldwide consumer research group, says that despite the sorry state of the economy and the continuing problem of Black unemployment, Black buying power is growing. Called “The State of the African-American Consumer,” the report says that America’s Black community now controls a buying power of nearly $1 trillion. It also illuminates some interesting Black shopping behaviors that could help African-Americans shop smarter to save money.


African-Americans tend to shop more at places like convenience stores, drug stores and dollar stores, places where you can find cheap things but not a great selection. It’s in this discovery that perhaps the most important bit of information of the study lies.


As any amateur economist can tell you, shopping infrequently and buying in bulk is far cheaper than going to a market or convenience store once or twice a week and buying a few things at a time. That more Blacks don’t do this is perhaps due to the fact that many bulk stores, Costco, for instance, require customers to pay membership fees annually. If you’re a struggling family, those membership fees may be off-putting at first, but it would be wise of the Black consumer to take a second look at the bulk stores.


Bulk shopping not only saves you money, it can also offer a greater variety of healthier foods that convenience stores simply can’t offer, and certainly not for the prices a Costco or Sam’s Club can sell them. By grocery shopping once a month at bulk retailers, families could save their waistline and wallets. Let’s save the convenience store shopping for those times when you’re really in need of a quick item or two, like toothpaste, for instance. Otherwise you could wind up with the inconvenience of going broke while trying to fill the fridge.


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