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? The U.S., British and Dutch Censuses Weigh In. 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?
There are still many holes to be filled, including such questions as gays as "early adopters," how members of couples influence each other's buying habits, the role of gay friends and family members as influencers on others, and more.
In a January 2006 survey conducted by Harris Interactive of 1500 LGBT viewers of MTV Networks' one-year-old, 24-hour American gay network, LOGO, the survey found: 73% said they are more inclined to buy a product advertised on Logo than on another channel; 78% said Logo is one of their favorite channels; 61% watch Logo for one or more hour per sitting; and 80% are more likely to watch commercials on Logo compared to when they watch another network.
In a study of media habits, Harris Interactive and Witeck/Combs data in July 2003 found that a third of gays read national gay magazines frequently or occasionally. And 41% GLB individuals surveyed frequently or occasionally visit gay online web sites. One in five (19%) GLB respondents also report they frequently or occasionally read their local gay newspaper.
Sixty percent of GLB individuals reported frequently or occasionally reading mainstream news magazines, compared to 45% of heterosexuals. In addition, 41% of GLB consumers say they read lifestyle, home decorating and design magazines frequently or occasionally, compared with 30% of non-gay respondents. More GLB consumers also report watching premium cable networks like HBO, Showtime, and Cinemax frequently or occasionally than do heterosexuals (52% to 45%). GLBT people are more inclined toward SUVs than the general population, 30% to 23%.
A 2005 Simmons Market Research Bureau study found that gays were more likely than heterosexuals to subscribe to cable and satellite TV -- 91% compared to 80% of the general population. About 42% of gay men and women subscribe to HBO, for instance, compared to 29% of the overall population. And 32% have Showtime. Simmons surveyed 19,000 people over the past year.
According to a MediaLife analysis, results revealed that gay men are most likely to watch, in order, Comedy Central, Discovery, Spike TV, A&E, Bravo, Sci Fi, CNN, Lifetime, Fox News and HGTV. and that lesbians are most likely to watch HBO, A&E, USA, ESPN, Discovery, Lifetime, Showtime, Bravo, TNT and Starz. (MTV Networks’ Logo was not included in the Simmons study.)
It found about 41% of gay people have watched Bravo’s “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” in the past month, for example, compared to 7% of the overall population. Among the cable programs gay men and women were more likely to watch than the average person, “South Park” ranked closely behind “Queer Eye.”About 25% of gay men and lesbians watched it in the past four weeks, compared to 8% of the total population. Also highly ranked were USA’s “Law & Order: SVU,” notably among lesbians, Lifetime’s “Golden Girls” and Spike TV’s “Real TV.”
A fall 2005 study by Harris Interactive and Witeck-Combs Communications found that 21% of gay people say they would be motivated by a magazine to buy something -- only 16% of heterosexuals say the same. Gay men and lesbians are less likely to fast-forward or mute TV commercials because they are interruptions -- 57% compared to 62% of their straight counterparts. And more gay people report that print and television ads give them "information they can use" and do use to buy products.
A Fall 2002 study by the Harris partnership found GLBT consumers were more likely to make apurchasing decision based on their awareness of the company’s diversity policies (47% GLBT versus 18% heterosexual).
With all other factors being equal, such as price, quality, value and function, all GLBT respondents were asked whether their decisions to buy would be positively or negatively affected if they knew the sales representative was gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Fifty-six percent of the GLBT group reported a positive influence in legal and financial services; 51% agreed about health care; 49% agreed about large scale purchases such as homes and autos; 42% agreed on everyday purchases such as groceries and drug store goods; and 42% felt it has a positive influence on their purchase of computers and information technology services.
Alcohol is the most developed advertising category to the gay market and it's no accident.Marketers and distributors had indication of the buying power of gays through gay bars, the first place gays were able to come together to meet (including New York's infamous Stonewall Inn in 1969, where the gay civil rights movement began in response to regular police raids), and bars contributed major business nationwide by the 1970s.
While causing health concerns, "sin product" marketers have long been aware of higher-than-average smoking and alcohol consumption rates among lesbians and gays. Gay men and lesbians of all ages report alcohol problems nearly twice as often as heterosexuals, and alcohol consumption rates do not decrease with age, as they do among heterosexuals. In a household-based survey, 41.% of gay men identified as smokers (compared to 26.6% of men in the general population), and twice as many lesbians smoke than heterosexual women. (“Healthy People 2010” LGBT Health, Gay and Lesbian Medical Association-GLMA, 2001)
With the debate of civil unions and gay marriage comes the idea of spending power on ceremonies and honeymoons. Forbes estimated a $16.8 billion value to gay weddings across several years in the $70 billion-per-year U.S. wedding industry. (Here's their math: The average cost of a wedding has climbed steadily in the last decade to reach $22,000 in 2004, according to The Knot. The U.S. Census found roughly 92% of heterosexual couples living together in 2000 were married. Forbes assumed the same percentage for the 594,000 same-sex couples living together in 2000, concluding roughly 546,000 couples would wed if they could. Because not all couples hold a reception (about 15% of newlyweds pass) Forbes concluded 464,000 gay couples would likely have one. They then multiplied that figure by the amount the average heterosexual couple currently spends on engagement rings, banquet halls, wedding dresses and honeymoons. The magazine did not estimate how many years it would take for the current gay population to wed and achieve the spending figure.) And in anticipation of a nationwide marriage law (now just provincial) Canadian Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce co-founder Bruce McDonald estimates that gay wedding travel in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver alone could draw more than $1 billion over the next three years. (No details available on his math.)
Travel is a already a particularly strong spending area for many in the gay and lesbian community, honeymoon or none. According to Community Marketing, Inc. the American gay and lesbian community represents a $54.1 billion travel market, or an estimated 10% of the U.S. travel industry. A 2001-2003 study of the gay market indicates 97% took vacations in the past 12 months (national average is 64%), 82% spent 5+ nights in hotels, 72% rented cars, 18% with 15+ days of car rental, and 20% took at least one cruise (national average is about 2%).
Next- Annual Gay Events Attract Hundreds of Thousands