The Current population of Australia is 23,592,663, 11,758,640 – Current male population (49.8%), 11,834,023 – Current female population (50.2%). Research suggests attitudes are shifting and there is greater acceptance towards individuals who identify themselves as Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender and intersexual (LGBTI).

Australia is referred to as one of the most gay-friendly countries in the world, with recent polls indicating that a majority of Australians support same-sex marriage. A 2013 poll conducted by Pew Research indicated that 79% of Australians viewed that homosexuality should be accepted by society, making it the fifth most supportive country in the world behind Spain (88%), Germany (87%), Canada and Czech Republic (both 80%).

LGBTI customers are more likely to buy products and services from companies that advertise in/on LGBTI media.

It’s an influential and rapidly growing consumer segment, figures show the LGBT population has risen slowly but steadily year-after-year. Major brands like Apple, Budweiser, Lynx, JCPenney, Volkswagen, Absolut and Levis have become aware of the substantial money (also known as the “pink dollar” or “pink pound”) generated by this marketing niche, and have made it a point to align themselves with the gay community and gay campaigns.

Factors affecting LGBTI people

Bullying can also take place in cyberspace: over the internet and on mobile phones. New technologies enable the spread of information, ideas and images to large numbers of people very quickly. There are many challenges in protecting people from violence, harassment and bullying in cyberspace.

Social networks need to be more socially responsible to create a safe environment by standing up against violence, harassment and bullying. If bystanders take safe and appropriate action to stop bullying, we can all be a part of the solution.

There is a lack of community-based services for rural or remote areas. Research shows that LGBTI people are twice as likely to experience anxiety, and three times as likely to experience depression, substance abuse, self-harming and suicidal thoughts compared to our heterosexual counterparts.

  • 42% LGBTI youths 12-16yrs had thought about self-harm and/or suicide.
  • 16% of young people who identify as Lesbian Gay Bi, Trans or Intersex (LGBTI) attempted suicide.
  • 33% LGBTI youth have caused self-harm
  • Homophobia is still prominent in Australian society. it can have a serious impact on many young people’s educational experiences.
  • Bullying and harassment at school can result in many students keeping their sexual diversity or transgender status a secret, which could have implications on mental health & wellbeing.
  • Rejection by families can lead to homelessness, economic instability and/or destitution for some young people, particularly in families of different cultural or religious affiliations.
  • Growing up in rural and/or isolated communities exacerbates some young people’s feelings of being alone, with access to support services often limited or non-existent in these areas.

Key Insights into the LGBTI Market in Australia

  • Australia’s population is 23,592,663. ABS
  • On average, approx. 10% (2.3 million people) identify themselves at GLBTI.
  • It is estimated in the annual disposable income for this consumer segment is $20 billion. 4.1
  • The LGBTI market is influential and rapidly growing consumer segment.
  • Australia has been referred to by publications as one of the gayest countries in the world.
  • Approx. 33,700 same-sex couples, on average, earned a household income of $2,000 or more a week.
  • LGBTI people are more likely to buy products and services from companies that advertise in/on LGBTI media.
  • Lack of targeted services and support for the LGBTI community, especially people in rural or remote areas.

Same-sex legislation in Australia

Legislative reforms at the State/Territory and Commonwealth level have removed the majority of legal distinctions between same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples, recognising their relationships in matters such as superannuation, taxation, social security, inheritance, and support for veterans. In some states and territories, relationship registers have been created, or arrangements for the recognition of domestic partnerships have been introduced. However, there is still no Australian legislation to allow same-sex marriage or legal recognition of same-sex marriages performed overseas.

Number of Same-Sex Couples in Australia

In 2011, 18% of men in same-sex couples earned $2,000 or more a week, compared with 14% of men in opposite-sex couples. Around two thirds (67%) of male same-sex couples had a combined household income of $2,000 or more per week, along with 58% of female same-sex couples and 42% of opposite-sex couples.

There has been increasing interest in same-sex couples within Australian society in recent years. According to the 2011 Census, there were around 33,700 same-sex couples in Australia, with 7,600 male same-sex couples and 16,100 female same-sex couples.

More than three-quarters of people in same-sex couples (76%) were aged less than 50, compared with 54% of people in opposite-sex couples. Only 3% of people in same-sex couples were aged 65 or more, compared with 17% of people in opposite-sex couples.

Consumer Power wielded by the LGBTI Community

Mainstream businesses are increasingly aware of the potential of the Consumer Power wielded by the LGBTI Community. We have already had a lot of interest from the public, and organisations who would like to be involved and are eager to see this venture get off the ground. MRN is committed to best business practice and is focused on the development of safe inclusive communities.

  • 4 out of 10 gay consumers prefer purchasing products from companies that advertise to gay and lesbian media
  • 55% of LGBT consumers choose to do business with companies that are committed to the diversity/equal treatment of gays
  • 70% of gay and lesbian adults would pay a premium for a product from a company that supports the LGBT community
  • 78% of gays and lesbians and their friends or relatives would switch brands to companies that are known as LGBT friendly

The Pink Dollar

Used to describe the purchasing power of the gay community, the term ‘pink dollar’ has been part of the Australian vernacular for many years. High-profile campaigns such as the ANZ’s LGBTI-inspired GAYTMs for the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and Canon’s sponsorship of the Bingham Cup, show that big business certainly recognises the importance of the pink dollar – and the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research suggest that everyday retailers should too.

Gay men and women display distinct attitudes to shopping and purchasing behaviors that reveal their value as a consumer group. For example, whereas 6.2% of straight Australian men agree with the statement, ‘I was born to shop’, this figure jumps to 19.1% of gay men. Gay men are also much more likely than their straight counterparts to agree they ‘enjoy clothes shopping’ (41.9% vs 23.3%). Meanwhile, 37.6% of gay men say they ‘will buy a product because of the label’ compared with 23.3% of straight men.

The shopping attitudes of gay and straight Australians
  • Although gay men make up just 5.2% of Australian males
  • they account for 11.0% of the dollars spent by men on men’s clothing.
  • Meanwhile, 3.1% of Aussie women identify as homosexual
  • but account for 3.7% of the dollars spent by women on women’s clothing.
  • Australian men who identify as homosexual earn a lower average income than straight men ($44,000 vs $57,000 p.a), with a similar discrepancy between gay ($31,000) and straight ($36,000) women.

The Challenge/causes

While Australian and international research shows that LGBTI people are twice as likely to experience anxiety, and three times as likely to experience depression, it also shows other increased health risks, such as substance abuse, self-harming and suicidal thoughts compared to our heterosexual counterparts. Some alarming statistics are as follows

  • 14 times more likely to try to take their own lives than straight people
  • 50% of LGBT youth are homeless living on the street
  • 42% LGBTI Youths 12-16yrs had thought about self-harm and/or suicide.
  • 3x more likely to have depression and twice as likely to have anxiety


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Victor van der Meer

Founder & Director of My Rainbow Net Pty. Ltd.

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