Black Millennials Lead in Digital, Nielsen Says

Jessica Guynn , USA TODAY 

SAN FRANCISCO — Black millennials are closing the digital divide with their avid use of mobile technology, according to a new report from the consumer research firm.

Their engagement on social media also tops the charts, especially in raising awareness of issues in the black community, according to the report, “Young, Connected and Black: African-American Millennials Are Driving Social Change and Leading Digital Advancement.”

“We have entered a new era whereby technology has become a great equalizer,” Nielsen’s Cheryl Grace, senior vice president of U.S. Strategic Community Alliances and Consumer Engagement, said in a statement. “Black Millennials are leading the way in their use of technology to impact change and get their voices heard.”

The report comes as Silicon Valley tech companies look to increase the diversity of its mostly white-and-Asian workforce to compete in an increasingly global marketplace and as African-American buying power is on the rise. Having underrepresented minorities brainstorming and building, not just using, the products dreamed up here is quickly becoming a necessity.

According to Nielsen:

–          Among smartphone owners, African Americans (91%) are second only to Asian Americans (94%).

–          91% of African Americans say they access the Internet on a mobile device, an increase from 86% in 2015.

–          African-American Millennials spend about two hours more a week (eight hours and 29 minutes versus six hours and 28 minutes) using the Internet on personal computers than total Millennials, and about an hour more weekly (three hours and 47 minutes versus two hours and 33 minutes) watching video on personal computers.

–          African-American millennials are 25% more likely than all Millennials to say they are among the first of their social or work circle to try new tech products.

–          More than half — 55% — of black Millennials report spending at least one hour a day on social media, 6% more than all Millennials, and 29% say they spend at least three hours a day on social media, 9% more than all Millennials.

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