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Gay and Lesbian Travelers Go Mobile

Travel and mobile trends converge, as LGBT consumers plan and purchase travel via their devices

Mobile and travel trends are converging among US lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) consumers, highlighting this demographic as a target for digital travel marketers. LGBT consumers have substantial means to vacation: A November 2012 report from Out Now Global estimated the US LGBT travel market at $52.3 billion in 2012. According to 2011 US Census Data, a whopping 45.5% of unmarried male-male couples had a combined income of more than $100,000, compared with 34.7% of unmarried female-female couples, and 33.5% of married male-female couples.

Community Marketing, Inc.’s “2012 LGBT Community Survey: US Overview Report 6th Annual Edition” reported that smartphone penetration among gay and lesbian web users reached record heights in 2012, at 91% and 82%, respectively, with approximately two out of five gay and lesbian consumers purchasing a smartphone last year. In addition, about 30% of respondents to Community Marketing’s survey said they purchased major vacations in 2012, representing the second-largest purchase category behind smartphones. Further highlighting gay and lesbian uptake of mobile, about one in five consumers in each subdemographic purchased a tablet in 2012.

Tying these two trends together, Digitas’ “LGBT Leading the Mobile Era” report from May 2013 found that US LGBT smartphone users looked to their devices regularly to plan personal vacations.

More than 30% of respondents to the Digitas survey planned leisure flights on their smartphones, and more than one-quarter sought hotel accommodations for those vacations using the device. About 10% purchased travel in each of those categories via their smartphone.

Tablet usage for travel purchasing is growing as well. The Digitas survey reported that 15% of LGBT smartphone owners and the same percentage of tablet owners purchased hotels via their respective devices in the preceding three months.

eMarketer estimates that US mobile travel sales will reach $13.6 billion this year, as 25.5 million consumers book on mobile; the LGBT demographic is sure to be well represented among this group.


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