Are we truly focusing on African consumers’ needs?

According to Nielsen, African-Americans currently hold a buying power of $1 trillion, a number that's estimated to reach $1.3 trillion by 2017.

A large part of this money is spent on ethnic-targeted beauty and grooming products. African-American women, in particular, spend an estimated $7.5 billion annually on beauty products, shelling out 80% more on cosmetics and twice as much on skin care as their non-African-American counterparts. Yet, they've been grossly underserved by the cosmetics industry throughout history.

Social Media and the Internet have had a huge effect on the way consumers interact by sharing information and make their preferences known, and have been instrumental in waking up brand owners to cater to their specific needs.

Offering products to African consumers should be a team effort in that manufacturers and retailers should not be treating these products as afterthoughts. They should try to understand the needs and concerns of the African community, launch customised and tailored products, and then focus on the placement, communication and information shared to optimise sales.