GLBT Consumers See Financial Services Differently Than Others
Washington, DC – July 14, 2008 – According to a recent national survey conducted by Harris Interactive®, over half (54%) of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender adults report they are very or somewhat comfortable in the environment created by their current financial services provider, while two-thirds of heterosexuals (67%) agree they are very or somewhat comfortable.
Given this finding, it may not be unusual to learn that GLBT adults also report slightly higher tendencies to seek financial information from Internet sources, from their friends and from television sources than do heterosexuals. While both GLBT and heterosexual adults rely on many sources including financial experts such as accountants, planners, brokers, attorneys and insurance agents, it is more likely that GLBT consumers will rely on trusted friends or seek independent sources of information somewhat more than their heterosexual counterparts. For example:
One-third (33%) of GLBT consumers cite the Internet as a source for financial information they use often, while only 26 percent of heterosexuals concur;
One-fifth (20%) of GLBT adults turn to their friends often, while 13 percent of heterosexual adults mention their friends as a source of financial information they often use;
Finally 11 percent of GLBT consumers state that television is a source they turn to often, while only 6 percent of heterosexuals do the same.
The new nationwide survey of 2,637 U.S. adults, (ages 18 and over), of whom 343 self identified as gay or lesbian (which includes an oversample of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults), was conducted online between June 9 and 16, 2008, by Harris Interactive, a global market research and consulting firm, in conjunction with Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc., a strategic public relations and marketing communications firm with special expertise in the GLBT market.
"There are few occasions when consumers must share such intimate aspects of their family and household than when talking with financial services representatives," said Bob Witeck, CEO of Witeck-Combs Communications. "These findings reflect that intimacy, and suggest that financial providers still have work to do to make all their customers feel comfortable and fully respected. When many GLBT people are not always as open as they might be even with their own medical providers as we have found in past studies, it is not surprising they also are more guarded with banks and other financial institutions too."
The new survey also identified several gaps in ways that GLBT consumers appear to save and invest assets in slightly lower proportion to non-GLBT counterparts:
While three quarters (75%) of heterosexuals state they have savings accounts, only 67 percent of GLBT adults did likewise;
When asked whether they have investment accounts, 32 percent of heterosexuals agreed while only one out of four or 24 percent of GLBT adults said they have one;
Thirteen percent of all heterosexuals report they have neither savings nor investment accounts, and a somewhat higher proportion of 18 percent of GLBT adults agreed.
"Financial services marketers should see these gaps as invitations to reach out to same-sex households and their families sensitively in the future," Witeck added. "All families have the need to invest, save and protect their assets, especially when weathering tough economic times like those we face now."