Executives in boardrooms across America are talking about “the gay and lesbian market.” But after decades of social and political progress, who is the typical gay or lesbian consumer in the United States today? What are his/her prime motivators, regular activities or perceptions on any number of issues? The largest-ever survey of its type reveals new information about gay and lesbian consumers; information that can be used by marketers to target a loyal customer group that has not been fully engaged by corporate America. The survey, conducted by Community Marketing, Inc. includes psychographic and demographic information based on a national survey of more than 12,000 gay men and more than 10,000 lesbians, and has a margin of error of plus or minus one percent at the 95% confidence level.
Among the findings: there are approximately 1.3 million gay and lesbian households in the United States with children under the age of 18.Gay male and lesbian consumers are more likely to have used a Visa card than other Americans, and to buy products from companies that treat their gay and lesbian employees well and that advertise in gay media. Although gay and lesbian publications were read most often by both gay men and lesbians, major national “mainstream” publications also fared well. The New York Times is the “mainstream” publication cited most often by gay men and People is the “mainstream” publication cited most often by lesbians.
Set for release in mid-August, Community Marketing’s 2007 Gay Consumer Index and 2007 Lesbian Consumer Index reports provide the most comprehensive collection of gay and lesbian consumer data to date. “Our community has risen to the forefront among corporate marketing executives in recent years, but most campaigns have relied on a ‘shotgun’ approach to reaching various segments. This is mainly because in-depth cross sections of gay and lesbian consumer data have not been available,” said Tom Roth, president of Community Marketing, Inc. “These indices are a comprehensive and truly representative statistical picture of gay and lesbian consumers. They tell us who the U.S. lesbian and gay consumer is, including an unprecedented profile of the demographic and psychographic details of their motivations, issues and preferences.”
Among the specific findings:
• 80% of gay men and 79% of lesbians made a purchase with a Visa card in the past month, while 64% of gay men and nearly 56% of lesbians made a purchase with a MasterCard and 36% of gay men and 24% of lesbians made a purchase with an American Express card.
• Among gay men the top three most widely read publications are community-specific titles such as The Advocate, Out and local LGBT publications, with the New York Times, Men’s Health and GQ the top three most commonly cited “mainstream” publications; among lesbians the top three most widely read publications are The Advocate, Curve and local LGBT publications, with People, AARP The Magazine and O The Oprah Magazine the top three most commonly cited “mainstream” publications.
• Among both gay men and lesbians the top three most widely watched television networks (in order) were NBC, ABC, and CBS; for gay men the next three were Fox, Bravo and Logo and for lesbians the next three were Showtime, Fox, and Logo.
• 61% of gay men and 83% of lesbians have a pet (38% of gay men and 59% of lesbians have dogs, 28% of gay men and 51% of lesbians have cats).
• 85% of gay men and 85% of lesbians said that advertising in gay media favorably influences their decision to purchase products or do business with a company.
• 89% of gay men and 92% of lesbians reported that the way a company treats its gay and lesbian employees impacts their decision to do business with that company, with the majority (52% and 59% respectively) saying this was strongly positive.
• 88% of gay men and 91% of lesbians report that their purchasing decisions are favorably influenced by corporate sponsorship of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) events and participation in LGBT charities.
CMI Senior Research Director and survey architect Jerry McHugh notes that marketers who in the past have actively targeted the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community most likely have only been reaching gay men, or half the market, with their campaigns and communications.
“Marketers and advertisers haven’t had the tools to understand that there is no single LGBT community in terms of consumer statistics" said McHugh.
Gay men and lesbian survey respondents work in a diverse variety of careers, although both groups cited the same top two career fields: medical and education. Medical work was at the top of the list with 8% of gay men and 15% of lesbians in this field. Second was education (6% and 9%, respectively) and third was accounting or finance for gay men (6%) and legal or government sector for lesbians (7%).
With regard to family life, 46% of gay men and 65% of lesbians are partnered or live with a significant other. While 20% of lesbians have children under the age of 18 living at home, the statistic for gay men is much lower at 5%.
For gay men, the median household income is $83,000 per year (Gay singles $62,000; Gay couples living together $130,000), almost 80% above the median U.S. household income of $46,326, according to US census data. 40% of gay men reported household incomes in excess of $100,000 per year. For lesbians, the median household income is $80,000 per year (Lesbian singles $52,000; Lesbian couples living together $96,000), and 36% of lesbians reported household incomes in excess of $100,000 per year.
A comparison of housing shows both groups very similar. Findings show that 61% of gay men own a home and 36% rent while 8.4% own vacation property and 9.3% own other property. Among the lesbian respondents, 69% own a home and 29% rent with 10.4% owning vacation property and 9.8% owning other property.
The survey was co-produced by Rivendell Media, and sponsored by Absolut.
Survey participants were solicited through over 75 widely distributed internet and print publications. These media partners contributed their survey participants into Community Marketing’s own proprietary survey panel developed since 1994, which includes respondents from many other leading event and media companies.
Readers may subscribe to abstract summaries and updates of the Gay Consumer Index™ and the Lesbian Consumer Index™ online and registering for email updates. Community Marketing will provide an overview of the full study findings on September 24 as part of the Gay and Lesbian Market Symposium in New York City.
Community Marketing, Inc., founded in 1992, is the global leader in gay and lesbian market research, strategies and communications. CMI, through its Gay Market Research + Development Lab® division, initiated the annual practice of collecting and analyzing data on gay and lesbian consumers through online surveys, field and customer satisfaction studies, advisory boards, and focus groups. In the past year alone, Community Marketing has produced and analyzed over 50,000 survey responses, and facilitated more than 75 focus groups and advisory boards on gay and lesbian issues. Industry leaders turn to CMI’s research to better understand gay and lesbian consumers, and to measure the effectiveness of their dedicated marketing efforts.
Rivendell Media, Inc. (gayconsumerindex.com) is America's leading gay and lesbian media placement firm. Rivendell has been helping agencies reach the gay press since 1979, serving as the national advertising representative for over 200 gay and lesbian newspapers, magazines and entertainment guides.
Note: From April 13 to May 16, 2007, Community Marketing, Inc. conducted an the survey with a sample size of more than 10,000 for each Index, the margin of error is plus or minus 1% at a 95% confidence interval.
Submitted by Richard Ferraro - Fleishman.com P: 212-453-2205 E: richard.ferraro[.]fleishman.com on behalf of Community Marketing, Inc. (CMI) CommunityMarketingInc.com/.