The "Gay & Lesbian Market Study," the largest of its kind, also confirms the relative affluence of the market. Annual incomes of 28.5% of the 3,896 respondents exceeded $50,000, while 21% of gay household incomes surpassed $100,000 a year.
'CLEAR & GROWING NEED'
Rebecca McPheters, Simmons president-CEO, said, "There was a clear and growing need for a syndicated study" because of growing corporate interest in the market.
"There's not enough research for this market, and the more it can define itself in credible ways, the more we can dispel the worries of corporate America," said Advocate Publisher Sam Watters.
Although this is the most in-depth to date, a definitive study is still out of reach. Because attempts to determine gay statistics have provided varied estimates of 4% to 10% of the overall population, and many are hesitant to respond to such questions, Ms. McPheters said, "It's impossible to identify the gay and lesbian market."
She added that Simmons is weighing the addition of a sexual orientation question to its twice-annual "Study of Media & Markets" by the end of 1997.
A number of beer and alcohol advertisers paid to participate in the study and broke out preferences by brand. Other categories broken out include cars, credit cards, cigarettes, long-distance phone companies and cruise lines.
AMEX FARES WELL
American Express Co., a consistent advertiser in gay media, exceeded national numbers for being held by gay consumers, 33% over 11.9%, as well as for Visa, MasterCard, department and specialty-store cards. Discover Card fared better with the overall population.
Among cars owned, lesbians and gays in the survey tended to prefer imports 41.2% vs. 24.3% of the U.S., though General Motors Corp.'s Saturn was a standout favorite among U.S. cars. Honda was strongest, with 11.7% of gays; it has 5.3% of the general market.
Gays participated in a number of sports and fitness activities-such as weightlifting, camping, hiking and swimming-in significantly higher numbers over the last year than the overall average.
Entertainment fared well in the study. Gays attended a live theater event nearly twice as often as others in the last year, 72% vs. 37%; 20% watched two films a