The annual LGBTQ community survey is one of the most comprehensive resources for marketers looking to connect with this audience. With the help of 150 global partners, the LGBTQ research agency Community Marketing & Insights (CMI) conducts the survey and asks for everything from basic demographics to the type of alcohol they drink (among those who participate).

The 14th annual LGBTQ consumer research survey was mailed earlier this year, and more than 34,000 people worldwide (including 17,230 in the United States) responded evenly between baby boomers, Gen X and millennials.

The report makes it clear that multicultural marketing works: 80% of respondents in the United States said brands that support LGBTQ equality "will get more from my business this year." And 73% made a purchase last year, at least in part due to LGBTQ inclusiveness, employment practices, or a company's supportive political stance.

The survey also showed that the LGBTQ experience in America is very diverse when the community is broken down by factors such as race, gender, and age. For example, black LGBTQ respondents said they would expect the biggest financial decline (19%) next year.

"The CMI shows that the buying power of LGBTQ is in the minds of the brands, and (we) are actively watching how they work with our community and our allies in the Black Community," said Justin Nelson, co-founder and president of the National LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). "If the economy gets back on its feet in the coming months, leadership committed to diversity can help boost our economy and ensure that LGBTQ purchasing power of $ 917 billion rewards those who do the right thing."

The report uses factors such as gender and race to identify which brands are considered the most supportive of the LGBTQ community. The No. 1 brand that respondents chose year after year: Goal.

Another question asked which brands best reach the LGBTQ community. Selected respondents:

  • Absolutely
  • Amazon
  • American Airlines
  • Apple
  • Delta Airlines
  • Disney / ABC
  • Google
  • Nike
  • Starbucks
  • Subaru
  • target
  • TomboyX
  • Wells Fargo

Smaller brands, which are marketed to LGBTQ women and non-binary communities, were rated very highly by them, with the small queer fashion brands TomboyX, gc2b and Wildfang being cited more often than massive global names like Ikea and Amazon.

David Paisley, senior research director at CMI, said that part of the reason why smaller brands appear to be leaders in queer women, non-binary and trans communities is because the big brands don't market as much for them.

"This is a function of the large reach of small businesses, but women and transgender markets also have fewer contact dollars for their communities," said Paisley. "It is possible to give LGBTQ women and members of the transgender / non-binary community a greater profit for the marketing dollar."

Closing a demographic gap

While the LGBTQ community survey represents an unprecedented wealth of information for brand marketers, it is also one of the largest demographic surveys conducted in the community, as questions about sexual orientation and gender identity are still not included in the US census .

Over 34,000 respondents worldwide took part in the 2020 survey, which was conducted in four languages ​​(English, Spanish, French and Hungarian). An overwhelming majority of the respondents were men; In the United States, data came from 12,041 self-identified gay and bisexual Cisgender men, 3,461 lesbian and bisexual Cisgender women, and 1,728 transgender and non-binary people.

As with marketing, outreach focused primarily on gay and bisexual men, as Paisley LGBTQ media partners typically market this.

"Research respondents are recruited through CMI's proprietary LGBTQ research panel (28% of participants) and through our partnerships with approximately 150 global LGBTQ media, events, and organizations (72% of participants)," said Paisley. “Unfortunately, these media are aimed more at men. Reaching LGBTQ women is more difficult because there are fewer LGBTQ media options for the women's community. "

Of CMI's US media partners, only three national publications target queer women: Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and Tagg Magazine. All are independently owned, with few advertisers or corporate brand sponsors.

Other findings from the survey show that the majority of LGBTQ Americans, despite longstanding perceptions to the contrary, do not live in large metropolitan areas, but are scattered across smaller cities, suburbs and even rural cities.

Nelson said that this is in line with NGLCC's own research into America's LGBTQ economy and that LGBTQ people tend to live in smaller but more inclusive communities with increasing state-to-state equality. Developments such as the June Supreme Court ruling that it is illegal to fire an employee because of LGBTQ have led to a community exodus from the traditional security measures that urban areas offer.

Still, Nelson said about the remaining patchwork of the country's gender equality laws: "Brands need to remember that the income and opportunities of the LGBTQ community vary widely depending on the zip code."

"It is in the best interest of a brand to actively participate in the level playing field and to support the Equality Act to enable all 50 states to achieve social and economic equality," said Nelson. "Combined with inclusive hiring, marketing, and sourcing strategies, brands can help ensure that every LGBTQ American has the same opportunity to participate in the economy and generate community justice as any other citizen."

Send a request to to read the full CMI report on the 2020 LGBTQ Community Survey.

This article was written by Mary Emily O’Hara from Adweek and legally licensed through the NewsCred publishing network. Please direct all licensing questions to

Originally published on July 9, 2020 at 2:48 p.m.


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