Gays and lesbians are much more likely to invest in technology than heterosexuals, especially laptops and digital video recorders, according to new research from Mindshare.
The study, conducted by the media and marketing services agency’s Business Planning unit, also showed that more than two-thirds of the group spend two hours surfing the web during the evening.
The study of 1,452 gay and lesbian respondents between the ages of 18-64 uncovered insights about the media habits, technology ownership and purchasing behaviors of this audience, which represents projected buying power of $835 billion by 2011.
For example, laptop ownership amongst gays and lesbians is more than double that of the straight population, the study revealed. Large discrepancies also exist in DVR ownership figures (56 percent of the gay/lesbian population vs. 24 percent of the straight population) and GPS devices (32 vs. 7 percent).
“The affluent, educated, and growing gay and lesbian community in mainstream America can be a gold mine for marketers,” said Director, Business Planning, Mindshare, Lisa Antonucci.
“The internet and television are important mediums among this consumer group and should be the primary ways in which brands communicate with them.”
Gay and lesbian respondents have an average of two hours of ‘me’ time on a typical weekday, which generally occurs between 6:00 p.m. and midnight. Findings show that while 68 percent of respondents spend this time surfing the web, 50 percent are also consuming TV programs in real time.
When asked about TV viewing habits, a whopping 91 percent agree that the programme, not the network, is their primary focus. Half the respondents answered that they generally watch news or current affairs programs while drama series resonate with 38 percent of the audience.
The survey revealed that internet and cell phone usage is steady throughout the entire day among gays and lesbians. Radio use is high during the daytime, but trails off after 6:00 PM.
Email and searches are top online activities. More than half of the gays and lesbians in the study visited a newspaper web site in the week prior, and nearly a third visited a magazine site.
In terms of leisure activities, the Travel Institute reports that the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender market has a greater amount of disposable income and discretionary time on their hands than the straight population, affording them the ability to travel more.
At the time of the survey, more than one-third of respondents had taken a domestic vacation within the previous month while one-tenth enjoyed a foreign vacation.
Furthermore, according to the 2008 Community Marketing Travel Survey, gay and lesbian travelers accounted for approximately $70.3 billion tourism dollars in the U.S. alone.
It’s no surprise then that travel, including airline tickets, car rentals and vacation packages, ranked number one among internet purchases in the report – 68 percent of gays and lesbians had made an internet travel purchase in the six months leading up to the study.
“Given their substantial spending power, it’s important for marketers to better understand gay and lesbian consumers, their media consumption habits, and purchasing patterns so as to capitalize on opportunities to reach them in mainstream venues,” added Antonucci.
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