US Insights

Dissing $1.6 trillion in buying power

Rob Callender

Director of Youth Insights

Brands 11.16.2015 / 18:05

Baskets Full

Ignoring LGBTQ consumers may be costing marketers twice as much as they think

LGBTQ consumers, long seen as early adopters and tastemakers, are indeed likely to be on the front lines of marketplace change. According to a new study by The Futures Company, they're engaged, experiential and experimental consumers: 60% of self-identified LGBTQ respondents say they are "likely to put money aside toward a once-in-a-lifetime experience/purchase in the next year," compared to 47% of self-identified straight respondents. And 58% of LGBTQ respondents say they want to be seen as "someone who is willing to defy convention," compared to 44% of straight respondents.

In short, these consumers display a boldness and risk-tolerance that is rarely satisfied with the status quo. (Click here for more on the study.)

Recent estimates suggest the LGBTQ community controls more than $800 billion in buying power. But new findings from The Futures Company suggest marketers have been dramatically underestimating the size of this opportunity.

A fair reckoning of the non-straight market puts it at more than 10% of the total population. In addition to the roughly 5% of individuals who self-describe as lesbian, gay or bisexual, we've discovered another 6% who-despite calling themselves straight-show fluidity in terms of sexual identity, attraction and behavior. There's tremendous overlap between these "straight but not narrow" individuals and their LGBT peers in terms of attitudes and consumer behaviors. The Futures Company refers to this cohort, which lives outside the boundaries of exclusively straight life, as "Q" or the sexually fluid.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the Q market skews young. Millennials and Centennials seem reluctant to confine their existence to the traditional either/or paradigm of sexual identity. This fact helps explain some (though not all) of the group's more distinctive attitudes and behaviors:

Finances:  LGBTQs report more financial uncertainty than the general population. Some of this is likely attributable to the segment's youth skew. But LGBTQ-specific factors-such as discrimination and a historic lack of legal protection-are likely at work, as well. How can marketers help this group understand and plan for a future that's less turbulent and more predictable than the past?

Status: Even as today's young people seem less inclined to seek and telegraph prestige through aspirational brands, LGBTQ consumers remain highly brand-, status-, and image-conscious. What does this difference mean for the LGBTQ community-and to aspirational luxury brands?

Family: Despite the segment's youth skew, LGBTQs often describe more distant and stressed family lives than Millennials and Centennials as a whole. What can social marketers do to help understand and address this fundamental need?

Well-being: This community reports more vulnerability and less engagement across a variety of health and wellbeing metrics. How can marketers offer this group a much-needed sense of personal agency and empowerment?

By focusing on these four major areas, marketers can help this long-overlooked and underserved community.

 

Source: Kantar Futures

Editor's Notes

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