The Untapped Market
Norah Salmon spends a lot of time online reading news and blogs. The 36-year-old also pays attention to where she spends her money. As a lesbian living in Philadelphia, Salmon said, “I would never knowingly spend my money at a business that discriminates against LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered) people.” Instead, this savvy consumer takes note of which companies reach out to her with gay-friendly advertising and anti-discrimination policies. “If I know of a gay-supportive business that sells things I need, I make it a point of shopping there,” she said.
Salmon’s not alone. According to OpusComm Group, an advertising research firm in New York, LGBT buying power is projected to reach $723 billion this year. And while select consumer electronics retailers like Apple and Bang & Olufsen have already developed stylish campaigns to attract and keep the “gay dollar,” many other retailers are missing the mark on reaching this lucrative consumer group.
“Gay and lesbian consumers are very attractive for many reasons,” said Jeff Garber, OpusComm’s president. For one, they have higher-than-average incomes. “Fifty-four percent of gays and lesbians have income greater than $60,000,” Garber said, with more money allotted for luxury products, like automobiles and technology. “This community is an early embracer of technology as far as computers and phones. They’re willing to spend more for electronics.”