The Purchasing Power of Blacks in America

Sandra Appiah April 10, 2011

By: Musleehat Hamadu

Photo Credit: Burberry

During my trip to Vegas this past February, I just had to do a double take as I walked past the Burberry store in Caesar’s Palace. Whoa and behold, a rare sighting−two black models graced the single window display ad. I pointed this out to my friends and we all walked back to the store and examined the poster in awe.

When I returned home, I took it upon myself to find out who those models were−Jourdan Dunn and Sacha M’Baye. I also took it upon myself to finally purchase the Burberry rain boots that I had wanted for years. In addition, I purchased a Burberry scarf, belt, and tote. That minor, yet significant sight led to my newly found respect for the Burberry brand.

Historically, Burberry, along with other Western luxury brands have stuck with white models for their ad campaigns and runway shows, yet, we the black consumer continue to purchase items from these luxury brands. Our rappers continue to give these brands free endorsements through lyrics and music videos.

Does Gucci Mane ring a bell, anyone? While we may not have the direct impact of Ann Wintour, we have the right to choose which labels we spend our money on. The purchasing power of blacks is estimated to hit a trillion mark by 2012. I am sure that if we leverage this purchasing power, these luxury brands will take notice.

I have surely noticed that Louis Vuitton has been patronizing Asian models over the past few years- probably due to their significant consumer base in China and other Asian countries. Hence forth, I have taken a vow to only support those labels that advertise diversity. Who’s with me!?

At the end of the day top labels such as Gucci, Louis Vutton, Prada, and Versace will sell. These luxury brands are that exactly, luxury brands. When I bought my Gucci wallet last year, I bought the wallet not only because I liked it, but because it was Gucci, a brand I associate with luxury and quality.

These brands are aware that they have a diverse consumer base but yet they continue to use the same Western European faces for their runway shows and their add campaigns. Louis Vuitton may be one of the few fashion houses that is starting to understand purchasing power because they are sure to include at least one Asian model in their runway shows since they have a huge consumer base in China. The face of their Spring 2011 line is a Canadian Taiwanese model.

So where do we stand in terms of purchasing power?

Last Edited by: Updated: March 25, 2016


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