GLBT Consumers Don’t See Financial Services as Others Do

July 14, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Financial Services | Men | Retail & E-Commerce | Women

Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender adults are less comfortable with financial services providers than heterosexual consumers, according to a recent national survey conducted online by Harris Interactive and Witeck-Combs Communications.

Though over half (54%) of GLBT adults report they are very or somewhat comfortable in the environment created by their current financial services provider, two-thirds of heterosexuals (67%) say they are very or somewhat comfortable.

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GLBT adults also report slightly higher tendencies to seek financial information from internet sources, their friends and from television sources than do heterosexuals:

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  • One-third (33%) of GLBT consumers cite the internet as a source for financial information they use often, compared with 26% of heterosexuals.
  • One-fifth (20%) of GLBT adults turn to their friends often, compared with 13% of heterosexual adults.
  • Some 11% of GLBT consumers say television is a source they turn to often, compared with 6% of heterosexuals.

“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.”

The new survey also identified several gaps in the ways that GLBT consumers appear to save and invest assets (i.e., in slightly lower proportion to non-GLBT counterparts):

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  • Three-quarters (75%) of heterosexuals state that they have savings accounts, but only 67% of GLBT adults say so.
  • Some 32% of heterosexuals say they have investment accounts, but just 24% of GLBT adults say they have one.
  • 13% of heterosexuals report having neither savings nor investment accounts, compared with 18% of GLBT adults.

“Financial services marketers should see these gaps as invitations to reach out to same-sex households and their families sensitively in the future,” Witeck said. “All families have the need to invest, save and protect their assets, especially when weathering tough economic times like those we face now.”

About the study: The new nationwide survey of 2,637 U. adults, (age 18+), 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 in conjunction with Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc., which has expertise in the GLBT market. Figures for age, sex, race, education, region and income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting also was used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

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