Gay and lesbian consumers are more optimistic than many Americans about the overall direction of the country, its future economic growth, the job market and their own personal financial condition, according to survey results published by market research publisher Packaged Facts. Armed with this confidence and $743 billion in estimated 2010 buying power, the U.S. population of LGBT adults is expected to amp up discretionary spending on products and services in the wake of the recession and emerging recovery.
Based on conservative assumptions, Packaged Facts also estimates that the U.S. gay and lesbian population likely exceeded 15 million adults in 2009. The gay and lesbian population is projected to increase to more than 16 million adults by 2014. The cohort's buying power, visibility and influence on America's marketing landscape are also expected to increase over the next five years.
The U.S. and even global trends towards marriage equality and other forms of legal recognition over the past decade have triggered an increase in the visible presence of gay and lesbian households and, consequently expanded the measurable market space for consumer goods and services of all kinds. This market space today just as likely will include children's products and apparel, as an increasing proportion of the gay and lesbian population is choosing to become parents. Both trends offer expanded opportunities for marketers to include same-sex couples and LGBT family households just as they do among other cross-sections of the American consumer market.
"A sustained, focused marketing campaign dedicated to earning trust and building brand loyalty among gay and lesbian consumers is a vital component of a successful strategy in the LGBT market," says Don Montuori, publisher of Packaged Facts. "We've seen a high response measured in the LGBT community supporting gay-themed print ads with images of gay and lesbian people and featuring tailored wording. Likewise, investing in microsites specifically geared toward gay and lesbian consumers can generate a substantial return because many indicate that they would use or prefer to use LGBT-tailored websites as opposed to a company's general website. Even appropriately themed advertisements that appear on blogs have greater potential to attract members of the LGBT community than other consumers as a whole."