Corporate America is waking up to the enormous opportunity of marketing to gays and lesbians, whose buying power is set to exceed $835 billion by 2011: that according to The Gay and Lesbian Market in the U.S., a new report from market research firm Packaged Facts, in collaboration with gay and lesbian PR and marketing firm Witeck-Combs Communications Inc.

This year’s report pegs the 2006 buying power of gays and lesbians at $660 billion, an amount that will increase significantly as the gay and lesbian population, estimated at 15.3 million, grows to a projected 16.3 million in 2011.

Such phenomenal growth and consumer power has not gone unnoticed by major national marketers say the report’s compilers. They point to LOGO, the new gay and lesbian cable TV outlet, which has more than 80 major brands as sponsors. They add that advertisers are increasingly targeting gays in mainstream media, particularly online, as studies show that gays tend to have a higher proclivity towards digital entertainment than their heterosexual counterparts.

The report also notes “the exceptional visibility in the growing numbers of gay and lesbian households and families.”

“What we’re finding since our last report two years ago is a greater openness among gays and lesbians to share their consumer habits, leisure and media pursuits, and personal/social attitudes,” remarks Don Montuori, the publisher of Packaged Facts.

“At the same time there is a growing trend towards acceptance among the American people which is opening up greater opportunities to market to gays and lesbians in traditional and online venues,” he says.

Now in its 5th edition, The Gay and Lesbian Market in the U.S. is said to provide the most in-depth psychographical look at the consumer behaviours and attitudes of gays and lesbians available.

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