Black consumers are wielding power and influence in the marketplace like never before. All while spending their way to a major milestone.

The Nielsen Company, a global information and research firm, projects Black spending power will reach $1.1 trillion by 2015. Despite this looming thirteen-figure impact, many Black consumers do not understand the full extent of their power says Cheryl Pearson-McNeil, senior vice president of public affairs at Nielsen. “Do I think we’re interested in learning more about it? Absolutely.”

Some companies struggle to tap the real power of Black consumers. The lack of understanding cultural nuances of African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Latino Americans results in a general market advertising approach Pearson-McNeil explains. “The African-American community isn’t a monolithic group.”

In 2011 advertising targeting Black consumers across television, radio and magazines reached $2.1 billion, according to Nielsen. This was a modest increase from the year before and was just 2 percent of the $120 billion spent on advertising that year. Headwinds such as high unemployment among Blacks may not have an adverse impact on spending power. The national unemployment rate is 7.6 percent while Black unemployment stands at 13.7 percent. African-American unemployment has historically been higher than the national rate since tracking began.

“Blacks are still spending whether employment is there or not,” says Pearson-McNeil.