In a landmark ruling Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court extended protections to millions of gay, lesbian and transgender workers nationwide. As LGBTQ+ Americans earn long overdue civil rights, their importance to advertisers is also growing. Nielsen Scarborough recently began segmenting audiences by “Sexual Preference/Gender Identity” in one of the new measurements rolled out to all markets for their Release 1 2020 survey.
“Long considered a third rail research target, like gun ownership, research companies have long struggled to measure America’s LGBTQ+ population,” says Mike Bustell, VP of Market Research at Hubbard Radio. Scarborough has successfully had 65.9% of their respondents answer these questions with 4.6% self-reporting as LGBTQ+. Weighted up to the national sample, LGBTQ+ adults could make up 7% of all adults in the U.S.
With Pride Month officially underway, new research shows members of this community are more likely to be regular radio listeners than TV viewers. Bustell’s analysis of Nielsen Scarborough data shows 78.9% of LGBTQ+ adults listen to local AM/FM radio for an average of 76.8 minutes every day. And as with any population segment, they favor certain formats over others: 28% listen to pop CHR, 25.9% listen to AC, 20.7% listen to hot AC, 20.4% to news/talk, and 15% to alternative.
“Despite legacy TV networks having LGBTQ+ news people and LGBTQ+ characters in nearly every program, only 66.2% of LGBTQ+ adults watch local TV stations for an average of 66.2 minutes each day,” Bustell says. That’s 21% lower reach and 35% less time spent than typical adults. In contrast, a vast majority (71.9%) are watching Netflix.
All of Scarborough’s self-reported LGBTQ+ respondents said they were using social media 73.3 minutes each day. That’s 68% more time-spent per day than typical adults and just 3.5 minutes less per day than they spend with local radio.
This group’s qualitative audience profile shows them to be a sought-after group for advertisers. The typical LGBTQ+ adult is aged 38.5, single and has an annual income of $85,032. Only 20% have kids. LGBTQ+ adults are more than 77% more likely than all Americans to plan to buy a boat, go back to school, buy a second home, buy a pool or hot tub or a new luxury vehicle.