The most profound trend affecting the gay and lesbian market may be the increasing acknowledgment by American society and legal institutions of marriage equality for gay men and lesbians. The expansion of same-sex marriage and other forms of civil unions over the past decade is triggering an increase in the visible numbers of gay and lesbian family households and consequently an expanding market for consumer goods and services of all kinds. The growing number of gay and lesbian parents means that a substantial number of gay and lesbian family households generate significant expenditures on children as well as on adult household members.
Moreover, survey research shows that gay and lesbian consumers are more optimistic than other consumers about future economic growth and their own personal financial condition. This basic sense of optimism prevailing among gay and lesbian consumers suggests that they are more willing than other consumers to spend on products and services in the wake of the most severe economic downturn in 70 years.
This completely new 6th edition of Packaged Facts Gay and Lesbian Market in the U.S.: Trends and Opportunities in the LGBT Community provides marketers with the analysis and insights they need to help them succeed in a consumer segment whose buying power is fast approaching $800 billion. The report begins with an assessment of strategic trends shaping the gay and lesbian market and identifies opportunities available to marketers interested in reaching out to gay and lesbian consumers. It continues with a detailed analysis of the social and political trends affecting the gay and lesbian market and provides a forecast of the growth of the buying power of gay and lesbian consumers through 2014. The next two chapters provide a demographic profile of the gay and lesbian population and an analysis of where gay men and lesbians live. Another chapter provides an overview of gay and lesbian consumer behavior and focuses on topics such as shopping behavior, brand loyalty and the importance of eco-friendly corporate policies on the buying decisions of gay and lesbian consumers. The report then provides a detailed look at gay and lesbian consumers in the areas of financial services, travel and pet ownership and a chapter on trends in gay media that includes an analysis of gay and lesbian usage of digital media. The report concludes with a chapter on marketing approaches to gay and lesbian consumers that includes an analysis of the impact of gay-friendly corporate policies and gay-themed advertising on the purchasing decisions of gay and lesbian consumers.
Market Insights: A Selection From The Report
Providing Equal Workplace Benefits Important to Gay and Lesbian Consumer Decisions
Nearly four in ten (38%) gay and lesbian consumers say they are “extremely likely” to consider a brand that is known to provide equal workplace benefits for all of their employees, including gay and lesbian employees. Nearly nine in ten (88%) are likely to claim that workplace policies play a role in their consideration of brands, compared to 70% of heterosexual consumers.
Data Show Marketing Directly to Gays and Lesbians Pays Off
Nearly six in ten (58%) gay and lesbian consumers are more likely to purchase everyday household products and services from companies that market directly to gays and lesbians. Around one in five (19%) say they are “much more likely” to do so.
Companies Pay Price for Harmful Actions
A substantial majority (70%) of gay men and lesbians report that they have switched products or service providers because they found out the company had engaged in actions that are perceived as harmful to the gay and lesbian community. Around one in three (34%) gay and lesbian consumers had done so within the last two years.
In The News
America’s Gay 2010 Buying Power Projected at $743 Billion
New Analysis by Witeck-Combs Communications and Packaged Facts
Washington, D.C. - July 20, 2010 - The total buying power of the U.S. lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) adult population in 2010 is projected to be $743 billion, according to the recently updated analysis by Witeck-Combs Communications and Packaged Facts.
The estimate was originally derived in a joint study by both organizations entitled, “The Gay and Lesbian Market in the U.S.: Trends and Opportunities in the LGBT Community, 6th edition.” In 2009, the gay buying power projection was estimated at $732 billion.
This 2010 projection is slightly less than earlier analyses - given that the entire U.S. economy has suffered its worst recessionary consequences (between 2008 and 2010) since the Great Depression began in 1929.
In sharing the latest analysis, Bob Witeck, CEO of Witeck-Combs Communications said, “Buying power projections are frequently a standard business measure for companies and policy decision-makers. This offers us a reasonable snapshot of the projected annual economic activity of America’s diverse gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender population even in this faltering economy.” Since 1993, Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc. has provided expert marketing and communications counsel to Fortune 500 companies in their strategies to reach the gay consumer market. Bob Witeck and his co-founder, Wes Combs, also are co-authors of “Business Inside Out: Capturing Millions of Brand Loyal Gay Customers” (Kaplan 2006).
Witeck stated that “buying power is not the same as affluence or wealth. No one should infer that same-sex households are more affluent than others - this is little more than a stereotype, considering the economic evidence available. We have seen research from academic researchers that strongly suggests gay men may earn slightly less than their heterosexual counterparts.”
He added that, “the best available Census data on same-sex couples supports the understanding, however, that LGBT households tend to skew in major metro and suburban areas -- a characteristic generally associated with higher than average income. And while parenting trends grow, we also see evidence through Census snapshots that same-sex couples remain less likely than their married heterosexual counterparts to have kids, and they are more likely to have both partners in the workforce, factors which yield slightly higher per capita household income, especially in the case of gay male couples.”
Nonetheless, Witeck concluded, “we also are well aware that under existing laws and norms, same-sex couples are penalized throughout the economy by discriminatory tax burdens, a hodge-podge of inadequate relationship rights and obligations, complex and costly barriers to adoption and parenting, and barriers to access to public safety net programs that are routinely available to married couples and their families.”
Based on a reasonable and broad range of population samples, the analysis benchmarks between 6% to 7% of the adult U.S. population who self-identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual, or between 15 and 16 million adults. Unlike estimates of buying power for other populations, such as African Americans or Hispanics, the projected LGBT population is estimated only among adults over the age of 18 when they are more likely to be fully aware and able to define their sexual orientation or gender identity. For other groups such as African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Latino/as, the population total includes all ages.
The method used for this annual economic projection is intended to roughly mirror the accepted approach taken by the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia in its calculation of the purchasing power of niche consumer segments such as Hispanics and African Americans. This methodology uses national aggregate disposable income data that are compiled by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce and are therefore considered the most authoritative picture of overall purchasing power in the United States. Gay and lesbian purchasing power is calculated by allocating a proportion of aggregate disposable personal income (DPI) to the gay and lesbian consumer segment.
“Buying power, we know, signals one critical measure of the growth and size of the vital LGBT consumer market,” said Don Montuori with MarketResearch.com. “In our analysis, we are clear to define buying power as another term for ‘disposable personal income,’ which is the total after-tax income available to an individual to spend on personal consumption, personal interest payments or savings. According to economists, today this roughly equals 86% of income.”
"The Gay and Lesbian Market in the U.S.: Trends and Opportunities in the LGBT Community, 6th Edition" is now in its fully updated form, and is considered the most comprehensive authority on accessible, non-proprietary market research compiled by Packaged Facts and Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc and brought to market with MarketResearch.com. It provides brand-new analysis of the demographic profiles, consumer behaviors, and purchasing power of the estimated 15 to 16 million adult gay men and lesbians in the United States. Key characteristics profiled include age, income, and family structure aggregated from many of the most respected datasets available.
About Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc.
Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc. is the nation’s premier strategic marketing communications firm, specializing in reaching the gay and lesbian consumer. With over 16 years experience in this unique market, Witeck-Combs Communications not only serves as a bridge between corporate America and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender consumers (LGBT), but also provides counsel to countless non-profit organizations that aim to educate the public on gay and lesbian issues or to better reach their LGBT membership.
In April 2003, American Demographics magazine identified Bob Witeck and Wes Combs as two of 25 experts over the last 25 years who have made significant contributions to the fields of demographics, market research, media and trendspotting for their pathbreaking work on the gay and lesbian market. Their strategic marketing book, “Business Inside Out: Capturing Millions of Brand Loyal Gay Customers” was published in the fall of 2006 by Kaplan Publishing. They have appeared in worldwide media outlets including Fortune, CNBC, Daily Telegraph, CNN, Reuters, Associated Press, Ad Age, the New York Times and the Washington Post.
About Packaged Facts
Packaged Facts, a division of MarketResearch.com, publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer market topics, including consumer goods and retailing, foods and beverages, demographics, pet products and services, and financial products. Packaged Facts also offers a full range of custom research services.