According to recent data from Google, searches for Black-owned businesses via the platform soared by 600% in 2020 compared to 2019, with growth in search terms such as ‘Black-owned bookstores’ and ‘Black-owned restaurants’.
In response, for Black History Month 2021, the search giant added a Black-owned attribute to the Google Shopping tab. Tuning into Criteria Retail, this tab allows consumers to easily filter and buy from Black-owned businesses on Google. ‘Black businesses are critical to the growth and recovery of the US economy,’ a statement from the company reads, while highlighting the rich legacy of community and activism among Black-owned businesses.
In the UK, homeware retailer The Cornrow understands that shoppers are looking for value-led criteria to guide their purchases. ‘It’s not just a question of quality or price but of conscience – there’s increased understanding that artisans can’t compete with mass on price,’ co-founder Kemi Lawson tells LS:N Global. ‘People are now willing to pay more if they know it’s supporting a cause they care for… we need to support our communities directly and vote with our wallets.’
As a result, The Cornrow sources and sells products against one or more of four criteria, namely that the brand is Black-owned, the items are made in Africa, eco-friendly or one of a kind. The criteria are explained on the site, and are represented by symbols featured in product listings. Each symbol is based on ancient Ghanaian Adinkra symbols, traditionally used to impart wisdom, philosophical thoughts, ideas or knowledge of the natural world.
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