Wealthy African Americans Are on the Green

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With spring moving into summer for most of the country, the opportunity to blow off some steam or make a deal outside the boardroom with a golf club is beckoning. And, marketers who are looking for more “green” should be looking on “the green.”

Prominent figures giving credence to this idea are, of course, President Obama and Tiger Woods. The Associated Press reported this month that the President has recently had four golf outings in five weeks. Mid-June marks the start of the U.S. Open 2009 whose website is featuring Tiger in their Player Bios section. During Black History Month earlier this year, the PGA of America presented a display at the PGA Historical Center honoring four groundbreaking African-American heroes in the sport. The presence of African Americans in the game is noteworthy.

A Profitable Niche Segment for Golf Industry and Luxury Brands
Statistically, the African-American golf community has grown by thirty per cent in the last decade with interest in the game rapidly outpacing that of Asian American and Hispanic Americans. In fact, the National Golf Foundation reports that a full fifteen per cent of golfers – a stunning 5.5 million people – are minorities, and 2.3 million of them are African American.

Since participation is a function of household income, it stands to reason that gaining the attention of this niche segment of golf enthusiasts will help brands more effectively implement their target marketing strategy of reaching the affluent ethnic consumer – especially, the African-American Royaltons TM. Adding 2.3 million people to a list of potential consumers is any marketer’s dream come true.

Participants With Purchasing Power
Based on minority participation reports conducted by the World Golf Foundation and their Golf 20/20 initiative, the industry has been targeting minority groups who are viewed as important to growing interest and participation in the game. African Americans, along with women and Hispanics, are the demographics “with pent up demand” who will help the sport meet its target of having 55 million participants by the year 2020. If Year 2000 census data showed the golf industry having $ 62 billion in sales – more than the motion picture and sound recording industry and the amusement, gambling and recreation industry – then the currently growing participation of wealthy African-American players offers significant purchasing power to be harnessed. That purchasing power has been estimated to become nearly half (45%) of the projected $ 1.1 trillion of all African Americans by 2012.

With the proportion of African-American female golf participants found to be above average, another potentially fruitful sub-segment is appearing. Many professional black women are taking to the golf course to capture that lucrative business deal often negotiated on the green. In the Spring 2009 issue of Odyssey Couleur, Pam Swensen, CEO of the Florida-based Executive Women’s Golf Association, stated that she is seeing an increase in membership as more African-American women use golf as a business-building tool.

All any luxury marketing executive has to do to potentially gain new prospects is to let go of some assumptions about who the typical golfer was in the past and choose to step into the future of the golf market.

Are you a brand marketer or golf industry related business wondering where and how to reach this audience? Diversity Affluence™ can help you.

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