Brands, you’ve got work to do with LGBTQ+ Millennials who, as it turns out, have trust issues with you. The data is hot off the presses from Forrester Analytics Consumer Technographics® Benchmark Survey, 2021 — a survey of close to 200,000 global online adults. Given that it’s Pride Month, I was extra eager to compare US consumers who identify as straight versus those who identify as LGBTQ+ (queer). The punchline? The queer community just isn’t into brands. And the divide is most pronounced with Millennials — those born between 1981 and 1996. The data shows that LGBTQ+ Millennials:

  • Trust companies less. Forrester’s recently published “The Trust Imperative” report advises businesses to act now to earn and grow consumer trust. Less than half (42%) of US straight Millennials think companies will do what they say they’re going to do, and only 31% of US LGBTQ+ Millennials also believe that to be true. When it comes to trusting companies to do what’s best for their customers, over half (58%) of US straight Millennials agree/strongly agree, but less than half (47%) of US LGBTQ+ Millennials feel the same way. That’s a problem, given that brand trust is the cornerstone for consumer loyalty.
  • Don’t identify with brands as much. Brands are a source of personal expression, right? Not so fast. Although 44% of US straight Millennials feel that brands help them show others who they are, only a third (33%) of US LGBTQ+ Millennials agree. And while almost half (47%) of US straight Millennials think it’s cool to be associated with a brand on social media, that’s the case for just 38% of US LGBTQ+ Millennials. The news is better with regards to loyalty programs: Fifty-seven percent of US LGBTQ+ Millennials feel more connected to a brand because of its loyalty program, but, again, it’s still an eight-point lower percentage as compared with US straight Millennials at 65%.
  • Avoid online advertising more. Avoiding ads is easier to do than ever before, and about four in five queer Millennials are dodging digital advertising. Nearly half (47%) of US straight Millennials versus 38% of US LGBTQ+ Millennials say that they tune in to preroll or midroll ads in online videos. The story is similar for banner ads (43% vs. 34%), mobile ads (44% vs. 37%), and search ads (46% vs. 37%). If you’re looking to reach LGBTQ+ Millennials online, your best bets are Hulu, YouTube, Spotify, Snapchat, and TikTok — as each of these platforms ranks notably higher in usage when compared with straight Millennials.

So, what’s really going on here? The oldest of Millennials are turning 40 this year and the youngest are 25. This is a formative time of #adulting that’s filled with perspective-changing life events. Factoring in the LGBTQ+ community — a group of individuals who faced discrimination from some of the same companies that have now jumped onto the rainbow bandwagon — naturally results in an abundance of skepticism.

Later this year, I’ll be publishing a report that dives deeper into the global LGBTQ+ consumer with specific recommendations for how brands can reach, engage, and (most importantly) win the trust of this influential audience. As a starting point, check out my colleague Judy Weader’s post about how to earn the right to sport that rainbow-themed logo of yours this month. Feel free to tweet me your thoughts at @McProulx, and let’s chat more about it during a Forrester inquiry.