Gay & Lesbian Consumer Report

The CMI (Community Marketing, Inc) is an organisation, which carries out yearly consumers survey of the LGBT community.

Between July and September 2009 the CMI conducted a worldwide online survey of self-identifying gay men and lesbian.

A breakdown of the respondents showed that of the 30,000, 21,000 were Americans; 73.5% self identified as gay men and 26.9% as lesbian. 71% of participants reported to having earned a college or graduate education such as a B.A. 62% reported being in full-time employment, 12% self employed, with the remainder either being in part-time employment, unemployed, students, retired or disabled.

The purpose of the survey was to provide information to businesses considering advertising in the gay media (print and Internet). The survey was broken down into several area such as Living environment, Participation in entertainment, Beverage consumption, Other purchases and influences on purchases, Media preferences, Social issues, Financial planning, Work and business activity, Travel and transport and also Perceptions of economic recession.

The following is a brief synopsis of the result, which it is hoped, will inform potential advertisers of the advantage of advertising within the gay media.

Living Environment

Gay men are more likely to be single and live alone or with a housemate in the cities, whereas lesbians are more likely to be living with a partner outside the city and with either children or pets.

The majority of participants were owner-occupiers, 54% compared with 39% renters. Gay men (41%) are more likely to rent than Lesbians (35%). When comparing property-type preferred by gay and lesbians, gay men tend to live in urban town houses or apartments (17% compared with 9% and 23% compared with 18%, respectively).

Almost half of the participants reported living with a partner (46%), whereas 29% reported to live alone. Compared to gay men, lesbians were more likely to report living with a spouse or partner (59% compared with 42%).

Participation in Entertainment

In relation to nightlife entertainment 49% of gay men reported to go out to bars or clubs on a weekly or monthly basis whilst lesbians reported less interest at 31%. In other areas of entertainment gay men exceeded lesbians, for example going to the cinema (40% compared with 29%) and attending a live show (21% compared to 14%).

48% of all respondents stated they attended a gym, 38% of gay men and 26% of lesbians attending at lease once a week.

In terms of spending choices the following was recorded: Restaurant meals, over $60 per week; on alcohol around $30 per week; $26 on clothes; $14 tea and coffee and $10 per week on water.

Beverage Consumption

The vast majority of respondents drank beer, wine and vodka whilst socialising. Beer and wine consumption was similar between gay men and lesbians, however gay men drank much more vodka and other spirits compared with lesbians.

Participants of the survey admitted to consuming 5 to 6 alcoholic drinks per week, 69% would consume these rink at bars and restaurants.

Other Purchases and Influences on Purchasing

Participants were asked about the type of purchases they had made over the past 12 months. Of those surveyed 29% reported buying electronic equipment, such as computers, 28% purchased a smart phone or PDF, 26% a high-definition TV, 24% a regular mobile phone, 21% bought stocks, bonds or mutual funds, 17% reported buying a car, and 5% purchased a new home.

In relation to brand loyalty 53% indicated they were loyal to certain brands but would try new brands, 25% admitted they preferred certain brands but might try new brands and about 12% reported a fixed brand loyalty.

Participants were quizzed on company practices, which most influenced their decision to buy a product. Fair employment practice (45%) – for example gay-friendly policies or non-discriminatory policies. 37% reported they were influence by companies that supported LGBT political causes and 29% LGBT events.

Media Preferences

The use of various forms of media were ranked and analysed. The Internet for personal use was the most used media outlet at 13.1hors per week. This was followed by watching Television at 12.2 hours per week, listening to music averaged at 10.5hours per week, radio – 6.7 hours per week, and reading was 5.8 hour per week.

A comparison between gay men and lesbians showed the former reported a greater number of hours using the Internet. Facebook was the most popular social networking site. Compared to lesbians, gay men tended to report using social networking sites more for entertainment (46% compared to 36%), and discovering new places to go (27% compared to 21%). They were also much more likely than lesbians to report using the sites for dating (28% compared to 9%) or to hook up (30% compared to 3%). In contrast, lesbians were more likely than gay men to say they used the sites to network with family (38% compared to 32%).

Social Issues

In general, the majority of participants agreed that compared to their straight friends, family and colleagues, they had equal possibilities for a good career, and to feel comfortable and accepted in the workplace

Around 66% reported they were more likely to attract violence than their straight counterparts.

72% reported positive views about getting marriage saying they probably would get married. 33% stated they definitely wanted to get married and 10% were already married. A comparison between the genders showed lesbians were more likely than gay men to say they definitely wanted to marry (33% compared to 27%) or were already married (16% compared to 9%).

Financial Planning

Gay men and lesbians were very similar in their retirement plan and savings choices. 45% of participants regularly save for retirement in personal savings accounts, 38% contributed to Social Security, 35% to company-sponsored 401k retirement accounts, 26% mentioned contributions to company pension plans, 23% to individual retirement accounts, and 22% to personal stocks or mutual funds.

Work and Business Activity

Participants worked in a wide range of different occupations. The largest groupings being 12% working in health care, 10% in education and 7% in retail or government.

In relation to the position respondents held in their organisations, one-quarter reported to being mid-level managers/professionals, 12% senior managers and 10% said they were business owners or officers.


Most gays and Lesbians own a car, in fact 80% according to the survey. Lesbian car ownership ranks higher the gay mate (88% to 79% respectively). Gay men were more likely to buy a new car than lesbians (59% compared with 53%)

In relation to other modes of transport 78% said they had used air travel in the past 12 months. 54% used standard or economy class, whereas 18& flee business or first class.

Perception of Economic Recession

The main impact of the recession, according to those surveyed, was to force them to cut spending. 53% were spending less, whilst 31% had not changed there spending behaviour. Of those that had changed their behaviour they stated they were spending less on food and incidentals – whether eating out at restaurants, buying more shop brands, or using vouchers. 35% admitted to cancelling a holiday, 15% were using public transport more and 15% reported giving up hobbies in order to reduce costs.