When it comes to starting and taking care of business, women — especially women of color — are doing it more and perhaps, better than almost anyone else, according to Nielsen Holdings senior executive Don Lowery, senior vice president of corporate reputation for the global marketing, data and consumer information giant. “More than half of black women agree they are more likely to purchase brands that support a cause they care about,” he says.

This and other insights will be the subject of Lowery’s presentation, “African American Women: Our Science, Her Magic,” at the Crowne Plaza Princeton in Plainsboro on Thursday, December 7, at 6 p.m. The presentation will be part of the 10th-year annual reception hosted by the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (AACCNJ). The cost is $60 for members and $75 general admission. For more information, visit www.aaccnj.com.

Lowery is based in New York, but he grew up on the south side of Chicago, where his father was a railroad car chef and his mother was a nurse. A scholarship from the Better Chance program allowed him to go to private secondary schools and earn an economics degree at Wesleyan. He went on to a career in journalism, working his way up to a business reporting position at the Boston Globe.

Later he was editorial director of WNEV-TV in Boston before leaving journalism to pursue public relations and business. He was a public finance investment banker for Lazard Freres and First Albany corporation and worked in PR for the New England Patriots in the 1990s and early 2000s. He joined Nielsen in 2004.

As a senior executive of the world’s largest and most influential data and statistical information provider, he is accustomed to analyzing current and entrepreneurial and business trends and speculating on future developments. As vice president of corporate reputation, Lowery represents Nielsen to government bodies, regulators, lawmakers, and civic groups.

Nielsen has provided the comprehensive annual report focused on African-American consumption and purchasing habits since 2011. Lowery has presented the study to the AACCNJ Year-End Reception event since 2015. He said one of the most important trends elucidated by the report is the significant growth of African-American entrepreneurship.

According to the 2015 U.S. Census Survey of Business owners, African-American women are the majority owners in more than 1.5 million businesses with about $42 billion in sales. These numbers are only going to get larger. The total number of businesses owned by black women rose by 67 percent between 2007 and 2012.

Lowery said this year’s report highlights the increasing power and influence of African-American women across the spectrum—including business and economics. According to Nielsen the 24.3 million black women in America—14.3 percent of all U.S. women—are making their consumer preferences and brand affinities felt in the mainstream. “Black women represent untapped opportunities [by marketers],” Lowery said.

For example, the African-American community accounts for about $1.2 trillion in spending power and that number will increase to $1.5 trillion in the next few years.

“More than half of all African-American women [polled] are willing to pay more for high quality items and they are the backbone behind cause-driven consumerism,” Lowery said. “Black people are willing to pay extra for a product or service that is consistent with an image they want to convey.”

He added the trend is especially evident among higher earnings African Americans. As black consumers become increasingly affluent, diverse and educated, he said, corporations and marketers must continue to realize and embrace a diverse consumer base.

“African Americans mirror changes in the new American mainstream,” he said. “Multicultural consumers will become the numeric majority by 2044.”

To view the complete 2017 African-American Women: Our Science, Her Magic study from Nielsen, visit the company website www.nielsen.com.

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