Why You Should Market To the LGBT Consumer

Last year, I wrote about the growing trend of tying your brand to the very loyal and monied LGBT community in a post called It’s Hip to Be Gay.

millerSince then, we have continued to see more brands directly appealing to the LGBT community.

From  conservative paper commodity brands like Kimberly Clark to home decor brands like Crate & Barrel and traditional beer companies like Miller, marketers are recognizing the value in reaching out to this audience.

Below is a compilation of stats pulled from various surveys, studies and reports from Prudential, Nielsen and Community Marketing demonstrating the value of this consumer block and some of the general trends, preferences and behaviors.

Of course, all of this should be taken with a grain of salt in recognizing there are no single behaviors that embody entire groups of people. Nonetheless, some of this info may be useful to you.

BUYING POWER:

  • Over $800 billion spent on consumer products and travel annually
  • 23% higher median household income
  • 24% more equity in their homes
  • 26% of gay men say they will pay more for top quality brands

BUYING HABITS:

  • 16% more shopping trips than the average U.S. household
  • Male same-sex households shop 30% more than females (on average that’s $2,045 more spent on packaged goods)
  • 30% have taken a major vacation in the past year
  • 40% bought a new smart phone in the past year
  • 26% of gay men say they will pay more for top quality brands

BRAND ADVOCACY:

  • 64% of gay men and 65% of women tell their friends about the brands they like (that’s well above the average of all U.S. consumers: 33%)

GENERAL FINANCES:

  • According to a survey done by Prudential in 2012, gay consumers reported annual household incomes around $61,500, significantly higher than the national median of just over $50,000
  • Gays were more likely to have higher educations, to carry less debt, to have more savings and were less likely to be jobless with an unemployment rate of almost a point below the national percentage

TOP PURCHASE CATEGORIES:

  • Vacations
  • Smart phones and technology
  • Salon services
  • Furniture
  • Gay men—especially those over 30—are more likely than any other demographic to choose liquors and cocktails over beer

PREFERRED and BOYCOTTED BRANDS:

  • Starbucks, J.C. Penney, Target, Apple and Amazon. Macy’s, American Airlines, Home Depot and Absolut Vodka are among the community’s preferred brands
  • JetBlue is tracking in the LGBT communities “brands we love” likely based on the much-socially-shared story of one same-sex couple’s pre-wedding flight
  • Chick Fil-A easily wins the “most boycotted” category, with Exxon-Mobil and Walmart coming in distant second and third. (It’s worth noting that Walmart’s negatives have dropped nearly 50% over the past year)
  • Russian vodka brands have also seen an increase in boycotts from the LGBT community in the U.S. in response to Russian anti-gay laws
  • 40% of gay men and 56% of lesbians watched an NFL game last year despite the fact that only 15% see the league as “supportive” of their community
  • If sports leagues want to attract a greater number of LGBT viewers, participants say they should spread supportive messages on social media and promote openly gay players

CHARITIES AND GIVING

  • A near-majority of gay and lesbian donate to nonprofit groups; transgender individuals are considerably more likely to volunteer for these groups
  • A majority of gay individuals say their close, non-gay friends are more likely to support gay campaigns and causes

SOCIAL & TRADITIONAL MEDIA BEHAVIORS

  • The LGBT community is very active on Facebook and “check-in” services like Foursquare 
  • LGBT websites and blogs remain the top sources of news and promotions for gay men and women, with 34% reporting that they’ve increased the time they spend on related sites over the past year
  • But the vast majority also watch network and cable news programs, and many also read local LGBT publications and email newsletters

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