Said to be the largest-ever survey of its kind, a study reveals new information about gay and lesbian consumers in the US.

Among its findings the survey revealed that there are approximately 1.3 million gay and lesbian households in the United States with children under the age of 18. It also found that gay and lesbian consumers are more likely to buy products from companies that treat their gay and lesbian employees well and that advertise in gay media.

Although gay and lesbian publications were read most often by both gay men and lesbians, major national “mainstream” publications also fared well. The New York Times is the “mainstream” publication cited most often by gay men and People is the “mainstream” publication cited most often by lesbians.

Set for release in mid-August, Community Marketing’s 2007 Gay Consumer Index and 2007 Lesbian Consumer Index reports provide the most comprehensive collection of US gay and lesbian consumer data to date.

“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.

Among the specific findings:

Among gay men the top three most widely read publications are community-specific titles such as The Advocate, Out and local LGBT publications, with the New York Times, Men’s Health and GQ the top three most commonly cited “mainstream” publications; among lesbians the top three most widely read publications are The Advocate, Curve and local LGBT publications, with People, AARP The Magazine and O The Oprah Magazine the top three most commonly cited “mainstream” publications.

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 favourably 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%.

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.

The survey was conducted by Community Marketing, Inc. is 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.

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