Stat of the Day: the Unique Profile of LGBT Affluents

And Why This Population Is Attractive to Marketers

By Published on .

Affluents who describe themselves as members of the LGBT community have a distinctive profile -- one that is particularly attractive to marketers and advertisers in a variety of categories.

According to data released earlier this week from the 2011 of the Ipsos Mendelsohn Affluent Survey, affluents who describe themselves as "members of the LGBT community" -- lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered -- are 25% higher in annual household income, and 16% higher in net worth. They also skew significantly younger, with an average age of 41.5; 43% are under the age of 35 (compared to 27% for the affluent population as a whole). While it might not seem too surprising, the LGBT affluent community is considerably more likely to describe themselves as "liberal" politically than the affluent population at large.

This is the 35th year the Affluent Study examined the lives, lifestyles, media habits and spending habits of affluent Americans (defined by us as those with at least $100,000 in annual household income).

Each year, we solicit our clients' input on new survey topics, and segments of interest to them. Over the past few years, a growing number have requested that we add questions about sexual orientation, and in this article, we profile affluents who describe themselves as "members of the LGBT community" and compare them to the aAffluent population at large. Our survey of 14,405 affluents found that 2.4% of all affluents describe themselves in this way (an unweighted sample size of 259).

Any segment profile -- whether it is based on generations, gender or affiliation with the LGBT community -- is necessarily a collection of generalizations that are not necessarily true for every member of a segment. Having said that , members of the LGBT community show distinct signs of social and cultural leadership. They are more likely to vote, contact public officials and take an active role in social, political and environmental issues. Culturally, they are significantly more likely to attend live theater, museums, concerts and opera.

As such, many media companies will find the LGBT profile attractive as well: They spend more time on the internet, are more likely to read print publications across a variety of genres and are also more likely to use new media platforms such as smartphones and tablets.

Attitudinally, members of the LGBT community express a number of attitudes and marketplace preferences that should make them attractive to advertisers. They express an interest in new products and services, such as new foods and new wines. They also express an interest in design and luxury brands. Perhaps most important, they display a willingness to pay a premium for high-quality and/or environmentally-friendly brands that resonate with their attitudes and values.

The profile of the LGBT community that we have presented is obviously brief, and just scratches the surface of the demographic and lifestyle preferences of members of the LGBT community. We have not, for example, explored gender differences or age differences within members of the community, and there are no doubt other important sub-segments as well. The results of our market-profiling to date clearly show, however, a market profile that is both attractive to advertisers, and which we believe begins to replace the assumptions and stereotypes about this Affluent market segment with data-driven insights.

Profile of Affluent Members of the LGBT Community

Total Affluent Adults Affluents in the LGBT community
Median age 45.8 41.5
Average household net worth ($000) $980K $1,134K
Average household income ($000) $189K $236K
Describe themselves as liberal 22 % 59%
Voted in an election for public office 62 70
Wrote or emailed a public official 20 28
Took an active role in a civic, social, or political issue 13 25
Worked 10+ hours of a month for a non-political charitable organization 14 20
Took an active role in an environmental cause 6 13
Live theater performances 44 66
Museums 45 58
Music concerts 42 51
Art auctions/gallery exhibits 24 47
Live opera performances 4 12
Average # of hours on Internet weekly 33 39
Read print publications 82 89
Own a smartphone 61 70
Maintain a profile on a social networking site 48 61
Own a tablet 14 22
I like to try new foods 62 71
Climate change will affect my generation 45 62
I would be willing to pay more for products that are environmentally friendly 43 56
I consider myself an opinion leader 39 53
I like to try new and different wines 35 44
Paying more for organic foods is worth it 25 34
I prefer to buy organic or luxury brands 18 27

Among adults with $100,000 in annual household income.
Source: 2011 Ipsos Mendelsohn Affluent Survey.

Bob Shullman and Stephen Kraus are president and chief research and insights officer of Ipsos Mendelsohn, respectively. The Affluency column appears monthly on AdAgeStat.
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