A comprehensive research project delving into the consumer profile of South Africa’s gay and lesbian community has been completed. Lunch Box Media, who commissioned the research, believe the 4.9 million-strong market has been largely ignored by big brands, which are missing out on tapping into a market that is flush with disposable income.
Lunch Box Media, a marketing and advertising agency that represents gay media owners, launched the online research project in April this year in the hope that the research, available to agencies, would change the attitude of large brands towards pitching advertising to this lucrative market, and using ‘pink’ titles to advertise their wares.
“What the survey has shown us is that members of the gay and lesbian market respond particularly well to brands that specifically target them in a medium that understands and respects their lives and reality,” says Lunch Box Media owner, Donovan Steyl.
“Supported by four of the largest pink online media owners, online respondents were asked a range of questions on consumer habits, preferences, purchasing patterns and motivations. Topics included employment, income, shopping, banking, credit cards, home ownership, cars, electronics, pets, television and media consumption were covered,” Lunch Box Media says.
The results, Steyl believes, will be of interest to researchers, marketers, academics, advertising agencies, media buyers, gay and gay-friendly businesses or anyone else looking for up-to-date information about the gay and lesbian marketplace.
The results were independently audited, and reveal that the 2012 LBM Gay Consumer Profile show that this demographic has a higher than average disposable income with 41% having over R10 000 available per month.
In addition, because the cost of raising children is usually not a factor, a large percentage of this disposable income is spent on luxury items. Interestingly, a whopping 81% of respondents make regular online purchases – a considerably higher rate compared to mainstream consumers. Top luxury brands preferred by the respondents include Apple, Levis, Diesel, Guess, Samsung, Sony, Calvin Klein, Prada and Tag Heuer, amongst others.
Not only does this market spend large sums of disposable income on luxury brand items, 44% of respondents report travelling to exotic destinations at least once a year, Europe being the top destination. According to international studies, the gay and lesbian community contributes 10% of the global income in travel and tourism.
Unlike the rest of the world, South Africa is far behind when it comes to identifying with and acknowledging the gay demographic. Which is astonishing, says Steyl, when one considers that this 4.9 million large demographic is literally untouched by corporate brands. South Africa has such a wonderful array of gay media titles covering print, online and on-screen.
Brands wishing to increase their market share should consider that 60% of the survey respondents describe themselves as being brand loyal. Those brands that believe they are already successfully reaching the gay and lesbian market through mainstream media may be surprised by the following findings:
59% of respondents considered themselves brand loyal.
76% said they would support brands who advertised within the pink media.
83% said they would like to see more brands identifying with them.
57% felt they were being ignored as consumers.
45% felt that they were inaccurately portrayed by the media.
So what does this mean? It means that brands need to start utilising, identifying and communication to this niche demographic.
What other truths were revealed?
As expected pet ownership is high with 71% of respondents owning a pet. When looking at the monthly spend and brands purchased, we can deduce that nothing is too good for our four legged friends, Steyl says.
It’s no secret that the gay community are a beautiful bunch. The males (as in nature) are more colourful than the females, placing a higher aesthetical value on their appearances.
According to previous studies 69% of respondents considered themselves image conscious (ABNSA, 2008). 9% have had “work” done with a further 28% having had cosmetic dentistry work done.
Spa treatments are an integral part of the preening process with 48% going now and then, 8% going regularly, and 4% seeing their local spa at least once a month.
The inside is just as important as the outside! 64% are non-smokers and 59% belong to a gym.
Here are a few stats from the project:
If you would like the full results of the 2012 LBM Gay Consumer Profile, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.