Queer Pink Economy And How Powerful It Is

The pink economy is a socio-economic and market phenomenon that has driven many changes in areas such as marketing, advertising, and the business model of companies.

The ‘pink economy’, as it was called in English, emerged in the mid-1960s in the United States. Both large companies and retailers noted that this previously ignored segment had more budget available to spend on consumer goods compared to members of a family with children.

It should be noted that the previous terms differ from ‘pink capitalism’ , since “this concept refers to the incorporation of the LGBT movement into capitalist dynamics, and it is a term used critically because it implies the commercialization of that community and its discourse” , defines the portal Economipedia .

The pink economy is set to become a major market. Industry analysts estimate that pink economy generate almost $4 trillion each year.

From the mid 1990s consumer researchers have engaged with non-heterosexual consumers, their consumption, and the markets coalescent around them. Such research has, for example, argued for the existence of a distinct market segment for non-heterosexual consumers, studied media and advertising representations of non-heterosexual consumers, and explored attitudes towards representations of non-heterosexual identities. Researchers have also studied the identity work and consumer behavior of non-heterosexual consumers, mostly from a subculture theory-enabled perspective.

The term “pink money” is used to refer to the purchasing power of the gay and lesbian community. Pink money has evolved from a fringe or marginalised market to a successful economy in many parts of the Western world, including the United States and the United Kingdom, given the rise of the queer rights movement.

The “pink” refers to the pink triangle, which has become a symbol of the LGBT rights movement after being used as a badge to identify gays in Nazi death camps. When the queer rights movement grew in strength, it opted to reclaim the symbol as a well-known icon.

Many enterprises, including nightclubs, stores, restaurants, and even taxicabs, now cater particularly to LGBT clients; the demand for these services originates from widespread discrimination by traditional businesses.

 

The lost of the Pink Money in India

 

According to a report published by Newsd, when India continued to exclude the LGBTQIA+ minority, it may have been squandering more than $26 billion every year. As per the calculations by Lee Badgett, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst who studied the issue for the World Bank, India has lost as much as 1.4 percent of its national output as a result of the discriminatory rule.

A very complicated country where lots of people starved to death and the health care is precatious, India looses more then $26 billionannualy because of their discriminatory conduit.

However, now that queerity has been decriminalised by the Supreme Court in 2018, with rainbow flags soaring, Indian markets have been looking to make benefits from the LGBT community’s tremendous purchasing power.

Many multinational corporations in India and worldwide have already recognised the link between LGBT employees’ inclusion and better economic performance, and have taken initiatives to eliminate discrimination in employee perks in order to keep a competitive workforce.

 

Pink Economy in different countries

 

The expression “pink pound” was popularised by „The Guardian“ in 1984 to describe the LGBT community’s purchasing power in the UK. The purchasing power of the LGBT population in the UK (or the pink pound) is currently estimated to be more then £7 billion each year, as estimates shows for 2022.

The Pink Pound has been associated with increased incidence for strong sales of things seen to be popular with a big number of gay people, most notably music sales of recordings by queer icons such as Madonna, Lady Gaga, Kylie Minogue, and Cher.

A number of prominent firms have recently recognised the potential of the Pink Pound and have began advertising their products directly to the queer community in gay publications. The Pink Pound Conference, a specialised marketing conference, was held in London in June 2006, and the Market Research Society sponsored a similar conference in November 2006. So, it is not something new.

Talking about the US, the pink economy has also been booming there for a long time. The pink dollar, often known as the “Dorothy dollar” in the United States, was estimated to has exceed $1 trilion in 2019 according to US LGBT Capital estimates.

Some US firms have attempted to target these sectors with specific advertising campaigns; for example, after forming a team dedicated to gay and lesbian marketing, American Airlines saw its earnings from LGBT community jump from $20 million in 1994 to $193.5 million in 1999. A year when the Pink Economy boomed.

 

The Pink Economy in China

 

Grindr, the most used hook-up app in the world, it is a Chinese own company soon to be listed on the public market. The majority stakeholder is Beijing Kunlun Tech. Grindr’s revenue was $147 million in 2021, a 30% increase from 2020. It is predicting an increase in revenue growth between 35% and 40% for 2022. The value of the company on the market was estimated at $2.1 Billion.

Blued is the biggest hook-up app in Asia, also Chinese-owned. BlueCity the owner of Blued based in Chaoyang is valued $614 million and is traded on NASDAQ.

The love for sex of the LGBT+ community is extremely valuable as it seems.

Pink Money and Politics

Pink money, in addition to being economically strong, has the potential to be politically powerful in Western countries, with pink money donations significantly affecting the outcome of political campaigns. Many businesses and politicians are aware of the power of pink money as a result of the active gay rights movement, and some go out of their way to cater to this desirable demographic, as some gay and lesbian couples have significant disposable cash.

Pink money has been considered as contentious in politics, owing to pressure from conservative groups advocating traditional values.

Pink money, on the other hand, has recently gained political acceptance, particularly as a key source of liberal support for the Democratic Party, providing millions to the DNC alone. Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Edwards, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Howard Dean, John Kerry, and Joe Biden are few of the major contenders who have actively campaigned for the queer vote.

The Tech Industry and Pink Money

There’s a paradox when it comes to LGBTQ people’s involvement with the inception and growth of the tech industry.

In one sense, the tech community has done a good job at being inclusive of LGBTQ people (albeit not on purpose). In fact, queer people were some of the earliest adopters of many nascent forms of tech.

Matt Skallerud, president of Pink Banana Media, a consulting agency that specializes in LGBT online marketing, tells the LGBT Foundation, “The LGBTQ community gravitated towards technology overall, starting with IRC (Internet Relay Chat) rooms and migrating up to AOL chatrooms and then the Internet.”

Skallerud continues, “For those that have grown up with technology, especially as it evolved back in the 80s, leveraging technology in order to have any type of LGBTQ social life, ranging from dating to friends to hook-ups, was sometimes the only way for an LGBTQ individual to discover who they were and that they were not alone.”

Now, of course, we have apps like Grindr, Hornet, and Scruff along with numerous, exclusively online publications that cater to the LGBTQ community. Even tech companies that aren’t LGBTQ-specific, like Facebook and Meetup, have made it easier for LGBTQ people to connect with one another.

But those are just a few specific components of the larger tech industry. In another sense, the LGBTQ community has been relatively ignored.

As technical founder of Interactly and current tech consultant Michiel Trimpe explains bluntly, “LGBT people have been underserved by the tech industries because of the VC (venture capital) model of funding, which considers the particular, nerdy Ivy League white guy profile a safe bet — also known as the Zuckerberg effect…Unfortunately, these kids have generally grown up with every privilege in the book so they find it difficult to relate to what the actual needs are of other, less privileged communities.”

But now, in the era of #MeToo, gun control reform, marriage equality, trans-inclusion, and, for lack of better word, a general “wokeness” by millennials and Generation Z trickling up to older generations, it benefits all tech industries to put LGBT people at the forefront of their tech business when it comes to advertising and marketing, as well as creating specific products for the LGBT community.

Activism sells. Fighting for equality and equity sells. Serving underserved communities sells. Bizarrely enough, for the first time in history in the United States, it seems like being a legitimately good-hearted company that cares about its customers (and people in general) is good for business. The tech industry is no exception.

It’s also not that difficult to be inclusive of the LGBTQ community, which, as mentioned before, (often) has disposable income. Additionally, given that we in the queer community were early adopters of many tech advancements, LGBTQ people have a proclivity (and excitement) for new, emerging technologies.

“Marketing to the LGBTQ community, and featuring us in advertisements, goes a long way,” says Melanie Cristol, the Founder & CEO of Lorals: lingerie for comfort, pleasure, and protection during oral sex.

“Advertise your products on LGBTQ-specific websites and make those ads appeal to LGBTQ customers with targeted language or imagery. And if you have the budget, it’s awesome to see mainstream advertisements that feature LGBTQ couples, for products that are not specifically targeted to us. I personally see such advertising as a social good, because it normalizes LGBTQ lives and reminds folks that, in so many ways, we have similar needs and wants in our lives. You can also feature LGBTQ couples on your social media accounts. It’s especially great if your advertisements and imagery can reflect the diversity of the LGBTQ community.”

With regard to actually creating and developing tech products specifically for LGBTQ people, Cristol explains, “It’s important to talk early-on to members of the LGBTQ community to figure out how their needs or wants might differ from your non-LGBTQ customer base.”

For example, when launching her company Lorals, they worked closely with the LGBTQ community to understand how to build their product to suit the needs of all potential consumers: “We talked with many members of the LBGTQ community, who were much more likely than their straight counterparts to have used similar products in the past. We learned the things that bother people about dental dams and ensured we would fix those problems with Lorals.”

At the end of the day, as the tech industry continues to expand, it needs to keep in mind the time period in which we’re living. LGBT people have immense power, in the forms of both social and financial capital. We’ve also been part of the tech industry since the beginning.

Thus, if tech industries wish to continue growing, they’d be remiss to not harness the power of LGBTQ people and the “pink economy.”

Do LGBT+ people make more money?

This extra buying power does not necessarily mean that the LGBTIQ + community has a higher income, but rather that it has different consumption habits . The reason is that a good percentage of them do not have and will not have children, which allows them to have more money to spend on themselves.

“Gay men will travel more often, spend more time away from home, and pay more attention to home design and fashion ,” Bob Witeck, CEO of Witeck Communications and specialist in analyzing the gay market, told the Financial Times .

In fact, in the United States and Europe there is a correlation between the growth of the pink economy and the increase in demand for luxury products and premium services , since it is estimated that this community spends 15% more than heterosexuals , according to the portal. OinkOink .

Even (and even more so) when they decide to live as a couple, their budget for luxury goods is higher, since both bring income to the household. These couples are called DINK , which means’ double income / no kids’ or ‘double income / no children.

This gives them 10 to 15% greater purchasing power , which allows them to make purchasing decisions focused on more expensive goods and services , such as restaurants, clothing, and luxury travel, among others. Something that traditional families can rarely afford.

For nearly six decades, the LGBTIQ + community is finally being given the recognition it deserves in financial terms. The pink economy, also known as pink money or pink market, is a term to describe the purchasing power of the community made up of non-heterosexual people, that is, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, queer, and more.

The pink economy is a socio-economic and market phenomenon that has driven many changes in areas such as marketing, advertising, and the business model of companies.

The ‘pink economy , as it was called in English, emerged in the mid-1960s in the United States. Both large companies and retailers noted that this previously ignored segment had more budget available to spend on consumer goods compared to members of a family with children.

It should be noted that the previous terms differ from ‘pink capitalism’ , since “this concept refers to the incorporation of the LGBT movement into capitalist dynamics, and it is a term used critically because it implies the commercialization of that community and its discourse” , defines the portal Economipedia .

Do LGBTIQ + people make more money?

This extra buying power does not necessarily mean that the LGBTIQ + community has a higher income, but rather that it has different consumption habits. The reason is that a good percentage of them do not have and will not have children, which allows them to have more money to spend on themselves.

“Gay men will travel more often, spend more time away from home, and pay more attention to home design and fashion,” Bob Witeck, CEO of Witeck Communications and specialist in analyzing the gay market, told the Financial Times .

In fact, in the United States and Europe, there is a correlation between the growth of the pink economy and the increase in demand for luxury products and premium services , since it is estimated that this community spends 15% more than heterosexuals, according to the portal. OinkOink .

Even (and even more so) when they decide to live as a couple, their budget for luxury goods is higher, since both bring income to the household. These couples are called DINK , which means’ double income / no kids’ or ‘double income / no children.

This gives them 10 to 15% greater purchasing power, which allows them to make purchasing decisions focused on more expensive goods and services, such as restaurants, clothing, and luxury travel, among others. Something that traditional families can rarely afford.

Pink money is becoming more powerful as the LGBTIQ + community gains greater acceptance in society. For this reason, more and more companies are joining the trend of expanding their offer, creating specialized products and services to meet the needs of the sector and taking advantage of their purchasing power.

The pink economy in Mexico

According to data collected by Forbes in 2017, in Mexico alone, pink money generated $ 65 billion in consumption. That same year, in the United States, the pink market was estimated at 917,000 million dollars and for 2018 it was higher than 1,000 million dollars.

According to the consulting firm LGBT Capital , in 2018, the minority moved about $ 3.6 trillion in the world , a figure that can be equivalent to the GDP of Germany. In fact, it is estimated that if the LGBTIQ + community were a country, it would be the fifth largest economy in the world.

In Mexico, it is estimated that the pink economy is made up of between 8 and 9 million people , who contribute more than 80,000 million dollars to the country’s GDP.

Specialists cited by El Universal affirm that there is a relationship between GDP and the rights of the LGBT + community. It is estimated that in any country in the world, for every right that the community has earned, the GDP per capita increases by $ 400. But if it is legislation, the figure triples, that is, it rises to 1,200 dollars.

An article by Dominik Böhler & Răzvan Ion.

Dominik Böhler is the assistant editor of GAY45. A 25 y.o., Ph.D. candidate, passionate about the transcendence of science in the philosophical stance that emphasizes the individual and social potential and agency of human beings. Works in Vienna and from October he will relocate to England at the University of Oxford where to continue the DPhil (doctoral) programme in Information, Communication, and the Social Sciences. Böhler does not have a social media presence.

Răzvan Ion is the founder of GAY45. A professor of curatorial studies and critical thinking in Vienna, he is passionate about technology, comic books, the stock market, art, alternative music, movies, literature, and blockchain. More about him here: linktr.ee/razion

Disclaimer: We are not financial advisers and our texts can not be taken as financial advice. All actions are attributed to the people who will carry out the actions.

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