Gay community “bigger than a niche”, start-ups told

The launch of deals site QueerDeals has again highlighted the spending power of the gay community, but start-ups have been warned not to believe the community shares a single set of consumer habits.

 

QueerDeals, launched by Sonja Bertrand, claims to be Australia’s first daily deals site for the gay community, and will only feature deals from “gay-friendly” businesses.

 

Before a business can be featured on the site, it must pass a background check for complaints of discrimination and/or poor hiring practices.

 

“I realised there is a lot of daily deals sites out there… but there’s no site specifically for the gay community,” Bertrand says.

 

“QueerDeals is for people – gay, straight and anything in between – who want to be sure that their hard-earned cash isn’t going towards homo- or transphobic businesses.”

 

The site will also work with gay-friendly businesses to help them increase awareness of their products and services within the gay community.

 

“We’re introducing a different take on the daily deals model – daily deals for a cause,” Bertrand says.

 

“Yes, you get great products at fantastic discounts, but you’re also contributing to the fight for equal rights and supporting LGTBTQI [lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual, questioning and intersex] charities.”

 

QueerDeals will donate a percentage of its profits to charities that support the LGBTQI community. According to Bertrand, the site doubled its subscription numbers in a single day.

 

The launch of the site comes just a few weeks after specialist advertising network Pink Media Group launched Pink Rewards, an online store for the gay and lesbian community.

 

Ben Mulcahy, founder and managing director of Pink Media Group, says businesses need to understand the gay and lesbian community is bigger than a niche.

 

“We’re talking about 2.2 million people in Australia who are same-sex attracted, based on one in 10. That’s too many people to be a niche. Their disposable income is $20 billion per annum,” Mulcahy told StartupSmart.

 

“It’s beyond a niche but there are a lot of deal sites out there – generic deal sites – that typically feature heterosexual couples in hotels, lots of kids products, etc.”

 

“Yes, same-sex couples are having kids more these days but those sites don’t look as relevant [to gay consumers]. They need to have products targeted more towards our lifestyles.”

 

According to Mulcahy, there is huge spending power among gay consumers.

 

“On Tuesday, we had 1,500 people visit our site… We’re going really well, given it’s only three weeks old,” he says.

 

“I would expect that the majority of the 2.2 million [gay consumers in Australia] will be signing up for these sites.”

 

Despite the numbers, Mulcahy says most businesses aren’t leveraging this spending power, partly because of their inexperience.

 

“It’s very rare to see same-sex couples featured in mainstream advertising,” he says.

 

“It’s rare to see advertisements for goods and services [targeting gay consumers], despite the fact that 10% of the population is same-sex attracted.”

 

“[However,] it’s very difficult for someone who’s not experienced to negotiate their way through it, and that’s why I think Australian advertisers have been behind companies of other countries.”

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