Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Go Over the Rainbow for LGBT Retailing

The most powerful selling to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) consumers has assumed that these consumers felt they don’t belong in broader society. Retail establishments have often identified themselves as quite specifically catering to LGBTs as target markets. Businesses and individuals sported pink or rainbows in order to say, “We support you in spite of you being different.”
     Expect this from most retailers who sell items related to weddings. Even though demographic surveys estimate that fewer than 5% of American adults are LGBT, the percentage of LGBT weddings will mushroom as a consequence of the Supreme Court decisions on same-sex marriage.
     But for the longer term, retailers can best build business by thinking beyond sexual and gender orientation to consider the psychographics of these four populations. Here’s what the research finds:
  • Compared to men who self-identify as exclusively heterosexual, gay and bisexual men are substantially more likely to seek out a broad variety of culinary experiences and/or attend closely to dietary health. They prefer to buy organic offerings and environmentally friendly products. However, lesbian and bisexual women are somewhat less likely than are exclusively heterosexual women to be this sort of foodie. The one label of LGBT masks differences among the four subgroups. 
  • Some gay and bisexual men are more likely than heterosexual men to buy a car based on comfort and function rather than engine performance and/or status. These consumers enjoy long drives for vacations. At the same time, other gay and bisexual men are more likely than heterosexual men to emphasize image and status in auto purchases. They want to use a car, rather than public transit, to get to their jobs. So even with the one subcategory of “gay,” there are two opposing motivations. 
  • Gays, lesbians, and bisexuals are all more likely than heterosexuals to consider digital technologies central to their lives. They enthusiastically embrace innovative gadgets for communicating and buying. Gay/bisexual men are about 33% more likely than heterosexual men to have redeemed a coupon from a cell phone. The corresponding figure for lesbian/bisexual women is 22%. 
  • Although there's much less research on marketing to the “T” in LGBT—transsexuals, my common sense speculation is that a marketing message of open acceptance of change will continue to be central with this segment of the population. 
For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more: 
Accept Shopper Concerns About Acceptance 
Solidify Consumers by Place or Lifestyle 
Define Your Niches by Your Shoppers’ Desires 
Convert Averages to Trends for Analyses

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