In addition to being one of the three largest Pride events worldwide, Toronto's Pride Week is a boon to the local economy. Pink dollars --money spent by openly gay and lesbian consumers-- brought into Toronto for Pride festivities is in excess of $60 million. Similarly, Montreal Pride festivities bring in $40 million dollars to the Quebec economy, and the Vancouver Pride celebration provides its local economy with approximately $23 million. Toronto attendance is now in excess of 1 million people, with Montreal Pride at 850,000 and Vancouver at 120,000+. Ottawa Pride exceeds 60,000 attendants. Each event exists on sponsorship of less than $1 million.
American Airlines was one of the first U.S. companies to recognize the economic value of pink dollars associated with the gay market and made a dedicated commitment to their effort by establishing a gay and lesbian marketing group. The budget for their endeavour was a nominal $300,000 US. The incremental revenue American Airlines attributes directly to that marketing spend? Over $193 million in 1999 alone. Beyond that, the gay community has in return demonstrated extreme loyalty to the company for its efforts. Marketing efforts by one of the carriers' competitors specifically targeted American Airlines gay market segment with cash support in exchange for "Official Airline" status of key gay events. The result? Not a single event signed on.
In 1995, U.S. discount brokerage Charles Schwab & Co sponsored San Francisco Gay & Lesbian Film Festival at $40,000 US. The result? Over $10 million from lesbian and gay investors transferred into Schwab accounts. Pink dollars yielding a significant return for a nominal investment.
Blue chip, global corporations have begun to target this demographic sector because economically, it makes financial sense. Gay publications, online content sites, festivals, and other gay media channels tend to have a lower cost point than their straight counterparts. Their demographic, on the other hand, tends to be a marketer's dream in terms of disposable income, education, travel and more.
Recent U.S. research has demonstrated:
It is important to note that the gay and lesbian demographic researchers refer to is self-identified and can therefore more accurately be described as "out gays and lesbians" versus representative of the overall gay and lesbian demographic. It is for this reason that research numbers appear to skew higher than those of the general population. (Reference: Gay Market Statistics - Facts & Misfigures)
- 84% of gays and lesbians hold a valid passport vs national average 29% U.S.
- 94% of gays and lesbians would go out of their way to purchase products and services
marketed directly to them. (Source:Greenfield Research & Kinsey Report)
- 21% of gays and lesbians report household income that surpasses $100,000
per year. (Source: Simmons Market Research Bureau)
- 58% of the gay and lesbian community members hold management
positions. (Source: Simmons Market Research Bureau)
- 70% of gays and lesbians have at least a college education and work in professional
and managerial jobs. (Source:Greenfield Research & Kinsey Report)
- 79% of gays and lesbians agree that it is important for them to work in a
gay/lesbian-friendly environment (Source: Greenfield Research & Kinsey Report)
- 62% own a personal computer (Source: Mulryan/Nash Study)
- The purchasing power of gay and lesbian U. S. adult consumers pink dollars exceeded $450
billion in 1999 (Source: DiversityInc.com)
To date, no national gay consumer market profiles have been done in Canada. Research undertaken has been proprietary in nature and while limited in scope, reflects the findings of existing U.S. data. While our Canadian dollar may be in flux, pink dollars in this country remain constant.
About Wilde Marketing
Wilde Marketing is Canada's gay marketing agency offering comprehensive advertising, marketing communications, strategic and public relation services to companies who understand the value of engaging gay consumers in this country. The company is located at 2722 Yonge Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M4N 2H9, 416.821.3074 phone, 416.483.3513 fax.
For more information, email Wilde Marketing.
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