Are homosexuals more tech savvy than the rest of the population? New research from WPP's Mindshare suggests that might be the case.
With projected buying power of $835 billion by 2011, homosexuals are "are much more likely" to invest in technology such as laptops and DVRs than heterosexuals, according to the just-released Mindshare study that gauges traditional and digital media habits and purchasing patterns of gays and lesbians.
The study was conducted by Mindshare's business planning unit and surveyed 1,452 gay and lesbian respondents between the ages of 18-64 online in the first quarter of 2009.
Laptop ownership among gays and lesbians is more than double that of the straight population, the study revealed. A greater proportion of gay men and women also own DVRs (56 percent vs. 24 percent of the straight population) and GPS devices (32 percent vs. 7 percent).
"The affluent, educated and growing gay and lesbian community in mainstream America can be a gold mine for marketers," said Lisa Antonucci, director, business planning, Mindshare. "The Internet and television are important media among this consumer group and should be the primary ways in which brands communicate with them."
Gay and lesbian respondents have an average of two hours of so-called "me time" on a typical weekday, which generally occurs between 6 p.m. and midnight. Findings show that while 68 percent of respondents spend this time surfing the Web, 50 percent are also consuming TV programs in real-time.
When asked about TV viewing habits, 91 percent agreed that the program, not the network, is their primary focus. Half of the respondents answered that they generally watch news or current affairs programs while drama series resonate with 38 percent of the audience.
The survey revealed that Internet and cellphone usage is steady throughout the entire day among gays and lesbians. Radio use is high during the daytime, but trails off after 6 p.m.
E-mail and searches are top online activities. More than half of the gays and lesbians in the study visited a newspaper Web site in the previous week, and nearly a third visited a magazine site.
In terms of leisure activities, more than one-third of respondents had taken a domestic vacation within the previous month, while 10 percent said they had taken a foreign vacation. And travel, including airline tickets, car rentals and vacation packages, ranked No. 1 among Internet purchases in the survey, as 68 percent of respondents had made an online travel purchase in the six months leading up to the study.
"Given their substantial spending power, it's important for marketers to better understand gay and lesbian consumers, their media consumption habits, and purchasing patterns so as to capitalize on opportunities to reach them in mainstream venues," said Antonucci.