Apple, TV channels Showtime and HBO, Absolut, and Levi’s, are the gay-friendliest brands, while WalMart, Dunkin Donuts, Cracker Barrel, Exxon Mobil, and Samsung earn the lowest marks from gay and lesbian consumers in the US, according to a new survey.
The 2008 Prime Access/PlanetOut Gay and Lesbian Consumer Study survey is one of the largest and most comprehensive surveys of gay and lesbian consumer habits and brand perceptions in the US.
A total of 2,259 adults aged 18-64 participated in the study, which was broken down into two panels: general population (1,502 respondents) and gay and lesbian population (757 respondents).
The report confirms why many of the world’s most successful brands recognise that being gay-friendly equals good business.
According to the study, more than two-thirds (68%) of gay and lesbian consumers said they are more likely to buy from a company they considered to be gay-friendly, a perception they base largely on a company’s advertising, followed by input from friends and the media.
The study also reveals that 71% of gay and lesbian consumers said they have a more favourable impression of companies or products that feature gay imagery in their advertising.
Howard Buford, president and CEO of Prime Access, noted that Levi’s, one of the top gay-friendly brands, recently featured a gay couple in television advertising.
“The study reveals that gays and lesbians are fiercely loyal customers to brands they perceive as reaching out to them,” said Buford. “A marketing communications program directed at the gay and lesbian audience can be a significant opportunity for brands to build business.”
Kevyn Aiken, Vice President of Marketing, Media Sales at PlanetOut, said the study also confirms why gays and lesbians represent one of the most coveted and active demographics.
“Gays and lesbians have many similarities to straight people, with one pronounced difference: they’re more powerful consumers,” said Aiken.
“In virtually every category – from financial services to fragrance – the study shows that gays and lesbians tend to be ahead of the curve when it comes to embracing new products and trends. They are early adopters that their peers look to for advice, opinions, and ideas. As a result of their influence, they impact many more purchases than just their own.”
For example, Aiken said the study revealed that gays and lesbians are almost twice as likely (60% vs. 34%) as their straight counterparts to say people seek their advice.
Among other notable findings in the 2008 Prime Access/PlanetOut Gay and Lesbian Consumer Report:
- 8% of adults in the general population panel identified as gay or lesbian, reflecting conventional wisdom that 5-10% of adults are gay.
- While almost three-fourths of both gays and lesbians and the general population are opposed to outing, 61% of gays and lesbians support outing if an individual is actively opposed to equal rights. Only 33% of the general population agrees.
- 69% percent of gays and lesbians are Democrats, while 7% are Republicans.
- Sexual orientation is the primary community with which gays and lesbians identify. 47% of gays and lesbians said their sexual orientation is the community that most defines them, followed by gender (45%) and religion (28%).