Overview How Many People Are GLBT? Are Lesbians Distinct From Gay Men? A Few Words About the B's and T's How Much Do Gays Earn? Where Do Gays Live? How Many Households Are There? Media Usage, Purchasing Decisions, and the Value of Gay Marriage Annual Gay Events Attract Hundreds of Thousands What About A Backlash Against Gay Marketers? What's Missing? What About Print?
Research often lumps lesbians in with gay men, without offering breakout information. Lesbians certainly have different demographics and buying habits than gay men, though little is known due to a dearth of strong breakout marketing data.
If gay men have the attention of marketers by benefiting from stereotypes about them (they earn more money than the general population, have expensive tastes, enjoy fashion, theater, home decorating, dance music, art, design, gourmet goods, etc. -- many important ad categories), then lesbians suffer from the stereotypes about them: they don't like fashion, makeup, or shopping in general because they are political-minded feminists who don't subscribe to consumerism. And the truth is, women in general earn less than men.
Further, gay women can be difficult to target if an advertiser wants to. Dedicated lesbian publications suffer from low circulation, while mixed audience publications don't attract substantial numbers of women, just about 25% for The Advocate. There are also far fewer lesbian businesses and places where they specifically congregate, though the Dinah Shore Golf Tournament is considered the largest lesbian event, despite its general audience.
Gay women also have children more often than gay men (roughly a third, compared to a fifth for male couples), lowering their disposable incomes.
Marketers should consider gay women separately from gay men, and be certain to include sizable numbers of both for meaningful breakout information. Subaru is a pioneer in reaching out to gay women, starting in 1995. Olivia Cruises is a highly successful lesbian-owned vacation operator that has also done well targeting gay women exclusively.
Next- A Few Words About the B's and T's