LGBT Spending Power for 2015 Estimated at $917 Billion

The combined buying power of the U.S. lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) adult population for 2015 is estimated at $917 billion, according to a new analysis by Witeck Communications.

Releasing the finding, Bob Witeck said, “Buying power – also known as disposable personal income (DPI) -- is not the same as wealth. It is a practical tool for economists and marketers, in particular, to signal the increasingly visible contributions made to our economy by America’s diverse gay, lesbian, bisexual and/or transgender individuals and households.”

Disposable personal income (DPI), according to economists, is the amount of money that individuals have available to spend and save after paying taxes and pension contributions to the government (roughly 86% of income). Witeck added, “To understand this estimate, it’s important to underscore that there is no evidence that same-sex households or LGBT people are more affluent or, on average, earn more than others. That is a stereotype, long debunked by economists and policy experts.”

"LGBT buying power is an economic marker that helps benchmark America’s diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities," said Justin Nelson, National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) Co-Founder and President. "At NGLCC, we have more than 150 corporate partners that understand not only the value of the LGBT dollar, but the economics of inclusivity and loyalty. Their commitments to our communities prove our NGLCC philosophy that economic visibility, just like social visibility, is essential in building a diverse and inclusive society."

Witeck agreed that LGBT workers, businesses and consumers are directly shaping the American economy. He said, “Today improved laws, greater visibility and welcoming attitudes help address some of the longstanding discriminatory burdens that LGBT people and same-sex couples face. Nonetheless, LGBT Americans still confront many forms of legal, economic and social inequities in the absence of federal nondiscrimination laws covering employment, housing, public accommodations, healthcare and other aspects of American society. The barriers confronting transgender people are especially severe and must be challenged.”

In addition, Witeck emphasized that contemporary market behaviors are favorably shaped by millennials who appear to be the most LGBT-inclusive generation yet. “I call this the PFLAG effect – which helps explain the familiar and loyal experiences of younger non-LGBT people towards their LGBT friends, family members and co-workers. Brands today recognize a growing proportion of younger consumers whose attitudes and buying behaviors are directly shaped by LGBT-friendly policies, campaigns and messages.”

For example, in August 2014, according to a Google Consumer Survey, over 45% of all consumers under the age of 34 say they’re more likely to do repeat business with an LGBT-friendly company. A majority of these consumers – more than 54% -- also say they would choose an equality-focused brand over a competitor. Keep in mind also that nearly ¾ of millennials support marriage equality, according to Pew Research.


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