This research is part of a series that expands on our 2021 Roundtable Presentation, America Now. Read on to learn more about LGBTQ+ consumers, their perspective on gender and sexual identities, and what they expect from brands like yours.
Brands can better engage with consumers by understanding how they view different aspects of their own identity. Race, ethnicity, age, sexuality, and gender are just a few of the many elements of a person’s identity impacting how people see themselves and shaping their expectations for brands. LGBTQ+ Americans, especially those who are younger, tell us that their sexuality is becoming an increasingly important aspect of their identity. As a result, brands have to step up their inclusive marketing practices and oftentimes that means deftly engaging with social and political issues.
In a recent survey, Collage Group asked people to choose the most important aspect of their identity. Personality came out on top, followed by race, and country of origin. Just 8 percent of LGBTQ+ people responded that sexuality is the most important aspect of their identity. However, the importance of sexual identity is on the rise for this segment. Over 50 percent of LGBTQ+ respondents agree that their sexuality has become an increasingly important part of their identity in recent years. This is especially true for those between the ages of 18 and 40 years old. Younger LGBTQ+ are also significantly more likely to say their sexuality plays an increasingly important role in their identity than older LGBTQ+ Americans.
As sexuality becomes a more important element in how LGBTQ+ see themselves, brands must improve their efforts to accurately represent sexuality and gender in advertising — especially when targeting younger and multicultural LGBTQ+ consumers. Only 39 percent of LGBTQ+ respondents say they’re satisfied with portrayals of their sexuality in advertising, significantly less than the approximately 53 percent of non-LGBTQ+ respondents who agree. Seeing their own sexual identity portrayed in advertising matters a lot to 42 percent of young LGBTQ+, significantly higher than older LGBTQ+ respondents. Similarly, for gender portrayals, over a third of all LGBTQ+ say it matters a lot to see advertisements with people of the same gender identity. Doing this comes with great benefits, as young LGBTQ+ are more likely to buy products and services from brands that challenge gender stereotypes in their advertisements.
Beyond mere representation in advertising, LGBTQ+ consumers also desire to see brands engage in social and political issues impacting their community. About 40 percent of LGBTQ+ respondents agree that brands should focus on social and political issues even if they don’t directly relate to their products and services.
Overall, most LGBTQ+ respondents prefer brands to get involved by educating consumers about LGBTQ+ rights and discrimination. However, young LGBTQ+ consumers would also like to see brands hire more LGBTQ+ in leadership positions and donate to LGBTQ+ causes.
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