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LGBT households remain more optimistic about finances

(WASHINGTON D.C.) - Although we are amid the holiday spending season, the constant news coverage of our nation’s detrimental economic health points to many Americans spending less and many retailers struggling to attract customers. However, a recent nationwide survey conducted by Harris Interactive and Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc., showed that not everybody is tightening their holiday budget.  

Between November 2 and 11, the online survey polled 2,516 U.S. adults over the age of 18, of whom 338 identified themselves as LGBT adults. The results showed that one-third (34%) of LGBT adults sampled, when thinking about their household’s financial condition, continue to say that they expect it to get better
in the next six months, compared with just 17% of heterosexual adults.

This is a significant increase from the March 2009 survey, in which 25% of LGBT adults expected their household’s financial condition to get better.

“Virtually all American households have been impacted by the current recession in some ways, and we recognize that LGBT households are no more affluent than others, and are coping as best they can,” said Wesley Combs, President of Witeck-Combs Communications.

“This holiday season, retailers will have to work extra hard to win consumers, all of whom are trying to make their dollars go further. Smart marketers who welcome LGBT purchasing power, as well as their families’ needs and their sustained optimism about the economy, will be ahead of their competitors at the end of this holiday season.”

In almost every category the LGBT community fared better than their heterosexual counterparts when asked to compare this year’s spending to last year’s holiday spending.

For example, percentages of LGBT adults vs heterosexual adults when spending more on:
*  Overall holiday gifts 29% vs 9%
*  Immediate family members 45% vs 18%
*  Extended family members 31% vs 5%
*  Close friends: LGBT adults 31% vs 8%

When it comes to bargain shopping, LGBT adults list it as less of a priority than non-LGBT adults. Only one-third (35%) of LGBT adults said finding the best sales and discounts is important when they are shopping for gifts this holiday season, compared to 65% of heterosexual adults.

Looking at where LGBT and non-LGBT adults plan to do their holiday shopping this year, we can also see a few gaps.

Here is a breakdown of the percentage of LGBT adults vs heterosexual adults who plan to spend more at:

* Discount stores (e.g. Wal-Mart, Target) 47% vs 25%
* Warehouse stores (e.g. CostCo, Sams Club) 30% vs 12%
* Electronic stores (e.g. Best Buy, Radio Shack) 34% vs 8%
* Off-price stores (e.g. TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack) 30% vs 8%
* Mid-tier department stores (e.g. JC Penney, Kohls) 26% vs 8%
* Specialty stores (e.g. jewelry, pet stores) 28% vs 5%
* Top-tier department stores (e.g. Saks, Macy's) 26% vs 3%

With no sure sign on when the economy will result in a positive outcome for the average American, retailers are wise to take note of such findings, which demonstrate that the LGBT community is in better fiscal shape.