South African gay media agency, Pink Advertising, is conducting research into the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual community (GLBT); one of the first such surveys to be undertaken in the country.

It is estimated that the GLBT community worldwide makes up 10% of the market and it is a known fact that this sector is both affluent and influential and one that increasingly attracts targeted marketing by companies eager to capitalise on pink buying power.

Pink Advertising’s, Morne Ebersohn, explains that according to the 2006 Gay Press Report, the total buying power of the GLBT population in the US was $641 billion in 2006, proving this is a market sector not to be ignored.

“This GLBT survey will not only reveal interesting facts, but will be a very useful research tool to be used by marketers. Already we know that in SA these individuals are trendsetters, brand conscious, loyal and have ample disposable incomes, many part of a double income household with children,” said Ebersohn.

While initial research aims to establish the size and value of the GLBT market, it is envisaged that, in future, focus/interests groups will be established to measure different aspects of the market such as automotive, banking and finance, fashion, travel and so on.

Ebersohn says the brand loyalty of the GLBT population, more so than their mainstream counterparts, has led advertisers to focus on this market segment, with advertising spend having grown three times the rate of straight consumer magazines over the past 10 years in the US.

“South Africa is no exception. Research conducted by In2bOut, a division of Hot Salsa Media who launched the first benchmark research conducted in South Africa in 2001, found that gay consumers are more aware of whether companies they buy from have instituted gay positive policies, such as same-sex non-discrimination and domestic partner policies.”

He says a “surprise-finding” was that lesbians, who are often over-looked by marketers, were found to earn (as a whole) more than gay men and heterosexual men and women.

Recently Cape Info Africa, a travel and tourism centre dealing strongly in the GLBT community and with a comprehensive database, has been approached to assist with marketing products and services to this community, from companies such as Investec Bank, Old Mutual and FNB.

“Already companies like Cape Town Routes Unlimited have identified the value of the this community in tourism and initiated a pink strategy, alongside the Wine and Golf strategies, to increase the market share of tourism to Cape Town, indicative of the value of this specific market.”

Ebersohn says to reach the GLBT community the research will be advertised at the Gay and Lesbian film festivals in Cape Town and Johannesburg, in Wrapped magazine (which is published by Pink Advertising’s parent company), on gay online websites, blog sites and various data bases.

To take part in the survey, click here.

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