National survey provides insight into growing GLBT consumer market

Just who is the typical gay and lesbian consumer in Middle Tennessee? How typical is the gay and lesbian U.S. consumer? Those questions and more have been answered with the release of the largest-every survey on the gay and lesbian consumer market. Locally, more than 279 people completed the survey.

What does it tell us about the average gay person in Tennessee? They are likely to own a pet (dog or cat), enjoy spending time with friends eating out, will vote and they donate to local charities.

Conducted by Community Marketing, Inc., (CMI), a San Francisco-based gay and lesbian research, marketing and communications firm. The study was co-produced by Rivendell Media, and sponsored by Absolut. Out & About Newspaper served as the Middle Tennessee partner.

The survey 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.

The results analysis includes answers from all respondents who took the survey in the 34 day period from Friday, April 13, to Wednesday, May 16.

Among the findings, locally, for Out & About Newspaper readers:

- Some 89.6% of O&AN readers know their HIV status.

- Almost half – 45% said the community should be called "gay and lesbian" in advertising, with 40% saying it should be called "GLBT."

- 91.4 % have given to charity over the last year.

- 89% voted in the 2004 Presidential election.

- 78.9 % voted in the 2006 mid-term elections.

- 94.3 % have purchased an item over the Internet in the last year.

- 14.3% work in the health care field.

- 38% earn more than $100,000 a year.

- 45.3% have a dog.

- 29.7% have a cat.

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.

“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 national findings:

- 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.

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. Forty percent 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.

Photo by Margo Amala on Unsplash

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