Market Focus: Gays and Lesbians
A Valuable Consumer Niche
Diversity defines today’s social landscape. More than ever we are aware of our neighbors’ multicultural and multifaceted lifestyles. And as marketers, you have a far better understanding of the value of reaching out to niche groups. For more than a decade, gay and lesbian consumers have gained importance as a valuable market, one that boasts brand loyalty and commands impressive buying power. Luckily, direct marketing is one of the best ways to connect with this diverse group, offering both the personalization and privacy that appeal to this niche customer base.
Getting an accurate measure of the size of the gay and lesbian market can be tricky. However, Shawn Thomson, cofounder and creative director of New York City-based Osmosis Medialab Inc., an advertising agency specializing in reaching the gay and lesbian market, places the gay and lesbian community at approximately 6 percent to 10 percent of the total population, or somewhere between 16 million and 27 million in the United States.
Moreover, the gay and lesbian community boasts approximately $485 billion in spending power.
Just like any other segment of the population, this is a diverse group, encompassing a broad spectrum
of interests and consumer needs. However, there are some traits that gay and lesbian consumers share. They are: affluent, highly-educated, sophisticated, brand aware, product loyal and trendsetting. Gay and lesbian households also tend to have fewer children and more disposable income.
Industries currently targeting this market include travel, finance, insurance, entertainment and luxury automotive, just to name a few. High-end fashion and housewares catalogs also do well with gay and lesbian lists, as do nonprofits.
The community also tends to be technologically savvy. “From studies, we see that gays and lesbians are early adopters. They had DVDs and flat-screen TVs earlier than other markets,” says John Knoebel, president of list brokerage firm Triangle Marketing Services, New York City. This makes this audience ripe for Internet and e-mail marketing, as well.