The spending power of Asian-, Black- and Hispanic-Americans amounts to nearly US$2 trillion (€1.5 tn), a potential market that manufacturers have been trying to tap into with marketing techniques such as celebrity endorsements.
Last year, sales to ethnic consumers amounted to US$7.5 billion (€6.1 bn), of which a fifth, or US$1.5 billion (€1.2 bn), represented ethnic-specific health and beauty products, according to a report entitled 'US Market for Ethnic Cosmetics, Hair Care, and Beauty Products', published by market researchers Packaged Facts.
Sales of ethnic-specific products remained stagnant in 2003, in fact falling by one per cent from the previous year. Purchases by ethnic consumers of general-use health and beauty products rose by a similar amount and were valued at US$6 billion (€4.8 bn).
Their research indicates that general-use products, like Unilever's Suave shampoo, are top choices among ethnic consumers, rather than ethnic-specific brands.
"Growth in the ethnic HBC market will have to come through nontraditional ways," said acquisitions editor for Packaged Facts Don Montuori.
"Companies will need to extend mainstream product lines to attract ethnic consumers," Montuori added, "but they shouldn't abandon niche positioning, such as launching products for Hispanic-Americans or developing more natural product lines for African- Americans that are not reliant on harsh chemicals."
Companies with operations in the US have already noted demographic statistics that show Asian-, Black- and Hispanic-Americans already account for a quarter of the population and by the end of the century this will rise to a third. The populations of states such as California and Texas are expected to have a non-white majority by the year 2010.