Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/11/02/us_glbt_market/

Gay Americans favour hybrid electric vehicles

As do transsexuals, lesbians and bisexuals

By Lester Haines

Posted in Bootnotes, 2nd November 2005 13:05 GMT

It's a little-known fact, but US gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender consumers buy cars. What's more, they show a penchant for the luxury end of the market and are "significantly more interested in hybrid electric vehicles than their non-gay counterparts".

That's according to a study by Harris Interactive which has managed to pull this latter factoid from a survey which actually proves nothing more than homosexuals, bisexuals and transsexuals have jobs, tastes and money with which to indulge them.

Indeed, Harris reckons this demographic - abbreviated to GLBT - represents more than $600bn in buying clout and as a consequence has become a significant target for US automotive manufacturers. Harris declares: "Nearly three-quarters (72%) of GLBT consumers indicate they are more likely to consider purchasing a vehicle from a manufacturer that has specifically targeted automotive advertising to the GLBT community."

Apparently, Volkswagen, Subaru, Volvo and BMW are seen as the firms that "extend the greatest outreach to the GLBT community through their marketing communications". The said manufacturers have apparently tempted the GLBT buyer with an increased use of online and viral marketing because "this group relies heavily on both the internet (62%) and "word-of-mouth" (45%) advice when deciding which vehicle to purchase".

Regarding hybrid electric vehicles, 51 per cent of GLBTs consider it worth paying the extra for the technology, compared with just 34 per cent of the non-GLBT population.

We look forward, therefore, to Toyota targeting the GLBT market with an online ad campaign declaring: "Prius: brings out the bisexual in you" or "Test drive the Prius - the car that swings both ways".

In the meantime, we'd like to suggest that the average car advert - in the UK at least and we're happy to be contradicted as to the US equivalent - seems to involve either resolutely heterosexual men racing pyroclastic flow along a road which has miraculously transformed itself into a snake, or punts for people carriers extolling the virtues (to mothers, naturally) of having 47 seat configurations so you can get all of your wailing brats and three prams in the back and still have plenty of room for the weekly shop.®

Methodology

In case you're sceptical about the results of this survey, here's reassurance:

The AutoGLBT Study was conducted online in the United States by Harris Interactive® between July 21 and August 1, 2005 among 2,818 self-identified gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender adults (aged 18 and over) and 2,121 heterosexual adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age by gender, education, race/ethnicity, region and income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.