America’s LGBT 2012 Buying Power Projected at $790 Billion
Updated 2012 Analysis Reflects Struggling U.S. Economy
Washington, D.C. – March 27, 2012 – The total buying power of the U.S. lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) adult population for 2012 is projected to be $790 billion, according to an updated analysis by Witeck Communications.
This current year estimate is somewhat lower than earlier 5-year trend forecast and first published in 2007. This update adjusts the earlier estimate because the U.S. economy as whole experienced slower gains in total buying power (between 2008 and 2012) than originally forecast given the deep recession beginning in the third quarter of 2008. [See footnote below.]
In sharing the latest analysis, Bob Witeck said, “Buying power projections may be seen as an accepted business measure for companies and policy decision-makers. This estimate offers us a reasonable snapshot of the projected yearly economic contributions of America’s diverse gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender population even in our gradually stirring economy.”
Since 1993, Bob Witeck has provided expert marketing and communications counsel to Fortune 500 companies on their strategies to understand and connect with LGBT households and families. Bob Witeck also is the co-author of “Business Inside Out: Capturing Millions of Brand Loyal Gay Customers” (Kaplan 2006).
Witeck noted that “Buying power is not the same as affluence or wealth. There is no hint that same-sex households are more affluent than others, which is little more than a stereotype. We have seen research from economic research that strongly suggests that gay men may earn slightly less than their heterosexual counterparts, for instance.”
He added that, “We also should keep in mind that under existing laws and norms, same-sex couples are penalized throughout the economy by discriminatory tax burdens, a complex patch of inadequate relationship rights and obligations, complex and costly barriers to adoption and parenting, and barriers to access to public safety net programs that are routinely available to married couples and their families.” Witeck also cited the work of the NationalCenter for Transgender Equality that documents higher incidence of bias and economic disparity faced by transgender adults, too: “Time and again, studies show that transgender people face disproportionate amounts of discrimination in all areas of life, especially in employment and health care.”
Based on a diverse range of LGBT population estimates, and more than a hundred online samples conducted by Harris Interactive over the past decade, the 2012 analysis benchmarks roughly 6.7% of the adult U.S. population who self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender, or between 15 and 16 million adults (18 years of age and older).
In this analysis, buying power is characterized as another term for “disposable personal income,” or DPI, which economists define as the total after-tax income available to an individual to spend on personal consumption, personal interest payments or savings. According to economists, today this equals roughly 86% of income in the U.S.
The method used for estimating buying power also reflects the popularly accepted approach applied by the SeligCenter for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia in its calculation of the purchasing power of niche populations such as Hispanics and African Americans. This methodology uses national aggregate disposable income data that are compiled by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce and are therefore considered the most authoritative picture of overall purchasing power in the United States. LGBT purchasing power is calculated by allocating a proportion of aggregate disposable personal income (DPI) to the estimated population of LGBT-self identified adults. For 2012, thus far, the aggregate U.S. disposable personal income appears on an incremental pace to reach $11.8 trillion in 2012 (and lower than originally forecast in 2007).
NOTE: In 2007, based on a 5 year projection in America’s overall disposable personal income, the original LGBT buying power estimate for 2012 was $845 billion. The revised estimate for $790 billion however mirrors the lagging U.S. economic performance as a whole during the global downturn which began in the 3rd quarter of 2008.
About Witeck Communications, Inc.
Witeck Communications, Inc. (www.witeck.com) is a leading strategic marketing communications firm, specializing in outreach, respect and inclusion for diverse LGBT communities. With nearly two decades experience in this arena, Witeck Communications not only serves as a bridge between corporate America and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender consumers (LGBT), but also provides counsel to non-profit organizations that aim to educate the public on gay and lesbian issues or to better reach their LGBT membership.
In April 2003, American Demographics magazine identified Bob Witeck one of 25 experts over the last 25 years who has made significant contributions to the fields of demographics, market research, media and trend spotting for his pathbreaking work on the gay and lesbian market. His book, co-authored with Wesley Combs, “Business Inside Out: Capturing Millions of Brand Loyal Gay Customers” was published in the fall of 2006 by Kaplan Publishing. He has appeared in worldwide media outlets including Fortune, CNBC, Daily Telegraph, CNN, Reuters, Associated Press, Ad Age, the New York Times and the Washington Post.