A national survey conducted by Target 10, an LGBT marketing agency based out of New York, gays and lesbians are more likely to spend money on home improvements than heterosexuals. In fact, gay couples plan to spend 50 percent more on home improvement projects than non-gay couples over the next 12 months, despite the down economy. These homeowners intend to spend an average of $2,077 within the next 12 months while non-gay couples intend to spend only $1,384.
And with 63 percent of gay homeowners intending to start home improvement projects within the next 12 months, it’s not surprising that more than half also plan on purchasing more new home appliances or furnishings within a year’s time. The kitchen in particular is high on their “to do” list. In the next 12 months, 34 percent of gay homeowners reported that they intend to replace a kitchen appliance vs. 27 percent of straight homeowners.
“Gay men and lesbians have a reputation of being major home improvement shoppers and this survey reaffirms that,” said Matt Tumminello, president of Target 10. “Renovating and refurbishing homes is in many ways a part of gay culture. Even in bad economic times, they are not stopping.” Over the last three years, 72 percent of gay homeowners had made home improvements.
I have some problems with this study. For starters, only 301 same-sex couples and 310 heterosexual couples were interviewed. The survey was also limited to New York, so these results are hardly representative of the gay community or the country at large.
Although the study claims that gay and lesbian shoppers are “savvy” and tend to eschew brand loyalty in favor of the best bargain, the fact that they spend more money than heterosexual couples would seem to contradict these findings. The survey respondents were not asked why they spent more money than heterosexual couples. I think an explanation of this discrepancy would be helpful. If this the result of gay and lesbian homeowners undertaking a larger number of home renovation projects? Or is it a result of economic discrimination? The survey didn’t ask, so I guess we’ll never know.
I’m also hesitant of entrenching the stereotype that gays and lesbians have more money than the general population. It’s certainly not true of the queers I know. The goal of Target 10 is to “create meaningful and lasting relationships between gay consumers and major consumer brands through campaigns that connect rationally, emotionally and with the right sensibility. Using gay market insights, they uncover the most powerful and distinctive ways a brand can connect with gay consumers and motivate them to action.” Translation: the goal is to help major corporations target their products to the gay community. There’s nothing in there about social responsibility. The phrase about “action” is merely a reference to consumption. I detest the HRC, but at least their purchasing guide and corporate equality index are based on factors like anti-discrimination policies and donations to LGBT social causes.
This could just be my opinion of the study. What’s your take? Why are gays and lesbians spending more money that straight folks home home improvements? Is this really major facet of gay culture?