Research – Gay and Lesbian Car Buyers

5 05 2009

New National Survey Indicates Subaru is Considered Most Gay-Friendly but Not Most Purchased and Identifies Brands Most Likely to Be Owned by Gays and Lesbians

A new national survey of gay and lesbian car owners conducted by demonstrates the promise and potential of the gay and lesbian market as a source of new car sales for more brands than once thought.

The survey, designed with market research partner Sorgenfrei, highlights differences in car buying preferences between gay men and lesbians, reinforces the importance of a car company’s “gay friendly” reputation and identifies the top brands for both audience groups.

According to the survey results, 67% of both gay male and lesbian car buyers consider companies exhibiting gay‑friendly behavior “very or somewhat important, where gay friendly is defined predominantly by offering domestic partner benefits.” The survey results found that both gay men and lesbians believe Subaru is the most gay‑friendly car company – 45% of respondents cited the company in the survey results. Subaru has been widely recognized for its advertising and partnerships targeting the LGBT community. Volkswagen and Ford placed a distant second and third for both segments.

Despite their brand awareness as being gay-friendly, Subaru is noticeably absent among the top brands owned by either Lesbians or Gay Men. Toyota held the top spot for both.

The results of the survey indicate that there are two very distinct groups based on gender identity. “While most marketers treat the LGBT consumer as one cohesive entity, the truth is it is the most diverse diversity group in the marketplace” said LaMuraglia. “The data points to differences between Gay Men and Lesbians based around what they drive, what is important to them when considering a brand and how they see themselves”.

Purchase reasons also differ based on gender identity. Lesbians are similar to the general population when it comes to the five most important purchase reasons. In order, they are.

Fuel economy, Price, Safety Ratings, Body Style and Impact on the Environment. Gay men put their highest priority on Styling and then consider Price, Fuel Economy, Body Style and the Availability of the Latest Technology.

While both gay men and lesbians in the survey reported similar car ownership patterns (Toyota, Honda, VW and Ford are the top brands currently owned by both segments), gender differences lead to differences in new car buying intent. Gay men in the survey indicated that BMW, Audi and Toyota were their top three brands for a new car purchase while lesbians indicated that Toyota, Honda and Subaru were their top three brands for a new car purchase.

If you consider the psycho graphics of these two groups, their brand affinity and purchase reasons begin to make sense. Gay men say their car says they are “successful, sexy and well-off” while Lesbians indicate that their vehicle says they are “practical, environmentally conscious and partnered”.

“Effective marketing to any consumer group requires a complete understanding of the target market’s ideals, emotional identities and needs,” LaMuraglia said. “The LGBT automotive survey adds a new layer of understanding to the decision‑making process car buyers go through and provides a clear direction for companies interested in tapping this underserved, yet highly motivated and engaged, marketplace.”




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