Looking for Gay, Lesbian Consumers? Try Mobile Devices

Digitas Study Shows LGBT Consumers Are Way Into Their Phones, Tablets

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Marketers have been wish-washy at best when deciding whether or not to target the LGBT population. Take Target, for example, which rolled out a number of product lines last year aimed at the segment, but in the past had stumbled over mixed-messages on its LGBT position.

Now, with mobile use on the rise, marketers that don't target LGBT consumers are missing out on one of the most active mobile user groups in the U.S., according to a study commissioned by Publicis Groupe's Digitas.

Credit: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

Partnering with Community Marketing, the agency surveyed 1,595 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender respondents over the age of 18 in the U.S. All owned mobile devices. The Human Rights Campaign endorsed the agency's research.

Perhaps the first marketer that should boost its LGBT targeting efforts is Google, as the study found that 55% of LGBT mobile users own and use iPhones versus Android -- "a reversal of general population findings."

The study also showed that 56% of the respondents now use a mobile device over a laptop or desktop compared to a year ago, and it concluded that LGBT mobile users have a higher understanding and level of activity with mobile devices compared to general population users.

That level of understanding and activity is likely due to more experience. Digitas reported that 51% of the LGBT respondents have been using mobile devices for three years or more, which is twice as long as the general population. And the users spend twice as long on a mobile device compared to the general population.

So what are they using mobile devices for?

Coming Out
Well, for one thing: coming out in the first place. The study showed that mobile devices play a key role during important life moments. It showed that 35% of 18-24-year-olds used their mobile device during the coming-out process, and of the total respondents who said they used the devices during the coming out process, 70% said they used Facebook at the time.

While the study demonstrated LGBT consumers' ties to the devices during these meaningful moments, it also showed that mobile devices play an integral role in their shopping, travel and family planning processes. "Gay men and lesbians are twice as likely to use mobile shopping technology than their straight counterparts," the agency reported. Of the respondents, 39% of gay men and 32% of lesbians use mobile scanners while shopping, and 32% of gay men and 29% of lesbians buy items on mobile devices.

The study found that 49% of respondents with families used mobile devices to coordinate calendars and 47% used the devices to coordinate locations. Lesbian and gay parents are also more likely to outfit their kids with mobile devices; 85% of children under the age of 18 with LGBT parents own or have access to a mobile device, and 61% of the respondents said they purchase mobile games for their children.

"The LGBT mobile traveler is on average, more than twice as active compared to similar general population studies," according to the report. It found that more than 20% of the respondents recently planned travel and purchased a hotel from their mobile devices. Of those users, 63% searched for restaurants; 59% updated Facebook; 51% checked a flight status; and 46% explored local activities.

Digitas LGBT Leading the Mobile Era

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