Article

Engaging the LGBTQ+ Community

In a Forbes article last year, the LGBTQ+ community was referred to as the $1 trillion market hidden in plain sight. Engaging this group in an authentic, non-stereotypical way requires more than flying a rainbow flag. Brands and retailers need to understand LGBTQ+ shopping behavior, and what drives that behavior, to tap into this emerging force in today’s marketplace.

According to the NGLCC (National LGBT Chamber of Commerce), the LGBTQ+ community contributes more than $1.7 trillion to the U.S. economy, making them a valuable segment to understand and reach. They have a strong voice backed up by some serious buying power.

Numerator uses MicroSurvey technology helping us to easily identify LGBTQ+ consumers within our panel. To date, we have about 5,000 individuals who have self-identified as LGBTQ+. Let’s take a closer look at the LGBTQ+ consumer’s priorities, influences, technology habits, and shopping destinations.

Committed to Organics

The LGBTQ+ community loves organics, and they’re willing to pay a premium for those products. According to Numerator data, about three in 10 LGBTQ+ consumers are either “very committed” or “committed” to organics. They choose organic to support the organic movement and because they believe organic products taste better. Notice how the LGBTQ+ community indexes compared to all shoppers.

The LGBTQ+ community also tends to be adventurous eaters and creative cooks who dine out frequently to try new things. Whether dining in or out, they look for natural, organic options.

How to Connect with the LGBTQ+ Community

Numerator data shows that outdoor advertising and special events carry far more influence with LGBTQ+ consumers than the general population, while radio, social media and mobile are also effective choices. Driven by status, values and impulse buys, they’re more likely to shop online every week and enjoy those experiences.

On average, the LGBTQ+ community spends about the same as all U.S. shoppers, but they make more shopping trips, especially online. More tech-savvy than the average shopper, they’re more likely to:

  • Spend more than eight hours per day using a PC, mobile device or TV.
  • Listen to podcasts and read online newspapers.
  • Use dating and lifestyle apps.
  • Use social media to make new friends and check out product reviews, especially on Snapchat, Twitter, Tumblr and Reddit.

Retailers and brands should be analyzing data for their specific categories and products to develop strategies for reaching the LGBTQ+ community, using targeted communications on relevant mobile apps and social media sites.

Where Are LGBTQ+ Consumers Shopping?

LGBTQ+ consumers are more likely to shop for groceries at natural outlets and in urban areas, according to Numerator data.

Ralphs, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Safeway index higher with these shoppers than the general population.
When it comes to health and beauty products, the LGBTQ+ community turns to Sephora, Amazon and Target. Walmart and Ulta Beauty Supply, however, index lower with LGBTQ+ shoppers.

Overall, LGBTQ+ consumers are similar to the general population but stand out for their commitment to natural and organic foods. They also tend to be trendier and more tech-savvy. The marketing landscape for the LGBTQ+ community is rapidly evolving as more and more retailers and brands actively target this influential group, but there is plenty of opportunity to win their loyalty.

Grocery: Niche Categories, Smaller Brands

Numerator data shows LGBTQ+ consumers are more likely to buy emerging categories that were once considered niche but are now mainstream. For example, a higher percentage of LGBTQ+ households purchase meat alternatives, kombucha, and coconut water than the general population.

This trend also applies to beverage brands such as Odwalla, Java Monster, Jarritos, and Suja. Meanwhile, legacy brands such as Folgers, Crystal Light and A&W are struggling to win LGBTQ+ shoppers.

The LGBTQ+ community’s shopping behavior indicates that they’re trend-setters and fast adopters of emerging categories and brands. By digging deeper into this behavior, marketers will be in a better position to identify the next trend and tailor their strategies accordingly.

When it comes to spirits, LGBTQ+ households seem to be stocking their bars with gin and vodka, as brands in these categories stand tall in the category. However, whiskey might be hard to find, and you shouldn’t expect to sweeten your coffee with cream liqueur.

Electronics: Smart Technology Scores Big

The LGBTQ+ community loves smart technology, from smart lighting and smartwatches to smart speakers and virtual assistants. In the past year, LGBTQ+ consumers:

  • Spent $120 on smart speakers and virtual assistants like Echo and Google Home (index to total US shoppers: 130).
  • Spent an average of $457 on smartwatches like Apple Watch and Galaxy Watch (index to total US shoppers: 125).
  • Were 39% more likely to buy smart energy and lighting, spending an average of $85 per year.

QSR: Papa, Panera, Raising Cane’s, and Running for the Border

Opportunities still exist to stake a claim with the LGBTQ+ community when it comes to QSR. While this community appears to be fans of chains like Papa John’s, Panera, and Taco Bell, they’re less keen on Arby’s, Dairy Queen and KFC.

This analysis just begins to scratch the surface of what you can learn about LGBTQ+ consumers—when you have the right data. While a number of retailers and brands are actively targeting these shoppers, you still have an opportunity to develop a winning strategy focused on the LGBTQ+ community.

Instead of leaving this trillion-dollar market to chance, use current, accurate data to:

  • Find out how your brand is doing with LGBTQ+ consumers right now.
  • Identify innovative ways to reach and engage this increasingly influential group – before the competition does.
  • Determine if your messaging and approach are effective and build meaningful connections.
  • Predict future trends.

Contact us to learn how Numerator can help you better understand the LGBTQ+ community and make more informed strategic marketing decisions.

*Forbes: The $1 Trillion Marketing Executives Are Ignoring

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