With the Supreme Court rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8 in the books, now is a good time for marketers to look at the growing influence of LGBT Americans, and not just in politics, but in terms of the market for consumer brands.
A new study from Experian Marketing Services notes that the number of Americans identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered has grown over the past decade, with 4.3% of the non-Hispanic adult population identifying as LGBT today, compared with 3.4% in 2006.
And these consumers are younger, more tech-savvy, create more affluent households and spend more. In its 2013 LGBT Report, Experian says married gay men have the highest household income compared with their heterosexual and lesbian counterparts. And they have the highest discretionary spend per capita, devoting $6,794 per capita annually to nonessentials, $753 more than what heterosexual men spend. Gay, lesbian and bisexual Americans are “social connectors,” “mobile professionals” and “mobirati” (cell-phone savvy).
The study points out that in 2007, 8% and 17% of gay men and women, respectively, were married. Last year, it was 14% and 16%. In terms of income, while households with married or partnered straight men pull in about $102,000, gay households make on average $115,500, per the Experian study. Lesbian women, however, tend to earn less than straight women.
For years, brands like Subaru have marketed significantly to LBGT consumers; more should. Gay and bisexual men, per the report, are more likely to be "practical drivers who place a higher value on comfort and function over performance, image or status when buying a vehicle." They are also more likely to be drivers "who see their vehicle as an extension of their identity and whose primary motivations when selecting a vehicle are image and status."
While more heterosexual women (38%) than lesbian and bisexual women (25%) are in the "practical drivers" area, that trend reverses with men.
In the mobile space, gays, lesbians and bisexuals lead, per Experian. Compared with heterosexuals, gay/bisexual men and lesbian/bisexual women are more likely to be considered technology “wizards,” for whom "technology is central to their way of life."
The firm's marketing arm says that both gay and bisexual men and lesbian and bisexual women are more
likely than their heterosexual counterparts to be members of highly active segments for marketers trying to reach mobile innovators.
"Gay Couple Holding Hands" photo from Shutterstock.