More Gay and Lesbian Consumers than Non-Gays Prefer Financial Institutions Offering Online Services

Harris Interactive/Witeck-Combs Survey Also Spotlights Consumer Preferences in

Autos, Summer Vacation Destinations, and Home Improvements



Apr 25, 2001, 01:00 ET from Harris Interactive and Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc.

    ROCHESTER, N.Y. and WASHINGTON, April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- A survey
 conducted in April by Harris Interactive and Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc.
 reveals that financial consumers who self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual
 and transgender (LGBT) are more likely than non-gays to prefer financial
 institutions that offer their services via the Internet.  Half of all LGBT
 consumers (51%) said that offering financial services via the Internet was a
 key factor in deciding where to conduct their financial business, as compared
 to 43% of non-gay respondents.
     "Considering high Internet uses by gay and lesbian consumers, this should
 be good news to financial institutions that are accelerating their services by
 offering more and more options via the Web," said Wesley Combs, President of
 Witeck-Combs Communications.
     According to the study, LGBT consumers care more than non-gay consumers
 whether or not a financial institution practices non-discrimination and has
 inclusive policies for people like them.  Over half (57%) of LGBT people said,
 when deciding where to conduct their financial business, it was extremely or
 very important that a financial institution has inclusive policies and banned
 discrimination against people like them. The correlative percentage for
 non-gay respondents was 49%.
     These unique findings were part of a significantly larger poll about
 financial consumer behaviors and television viewing habits of gays and
 lesbians, as well as other adults. The latest Harris Interactive/Witeck-Combs
 Communications research was conducted online among 2,461 adults from the
 Harris Interactive online panel of respondents, between March 29 and April 2,
 2001, in which 163 individuals or 6% identified themselves as lesbian, gay,
 bisexual or transgender.
     Interesting differences also emerged between LGBT and non-gay respondents
 on a host of other financial questions.  When asked what financial concerns
 mattered the most, LGBT consumers said financial loans and debts (59%) were
 top on their list, followed by health care costs (57%), and retirement (38%).
 Non-gay respondents list retirement (56%) at the top of their financial
 concerns, followed by healthcare costs (52%) and financial loans and debts
 (45%).
     Other findings confirm anecdotal assumptions about the different spending
 and saving habits between LGBT and non-gay consumers.  The survey suggests
 that LGBT people are slightly more entrepreneurial, with 30% of those
 respondents saying it is likely that they would consider starting their own
 business if given a cash surplus compared with 23% of non-gay respondents. It
 is not surprising that LGBT consumers are more concerned than non-gays about
 privacy issues when dealing with financial institutions (40% LGBT vs. 34%
 non-gay).
     "For too long, there have not been reliable methods to understand the
 consumer behaviors of this long sought-after market," said David Krane, Harris
 Interactive Senior Vice President.  "Through this research,
 marketing executives are now able to test many hypotheses about lesbian and
 gay consumers."
     Key findings about saving and spending behaviors of LGBT consumers
 include:
 
     -- The study suggests that LGBT consumers are somewhat less knowledgeable
        about financial planning issues.  Only 39% said they were in control of
        their finances as compared to 55% of non-gays.  In addition, 48% said
        they were not knowledgeable about the stock market as compared to 39%
        of non-gays.
     -- LGBT consumers rely more on third party resources for their financial
        information.  Thirty percent  (30%) rely on magazines, books or
        newspapers as compared to 21% of non-gays.  Nineteen percent (19%) rely
        on television as a source of information compared to 12% of non-gays.
     -- With a lower presence of children in households (a Harris
        Interactive/Witeck-Combs Communications survey conducted in January
        2001 revealed only 1 in 5 LGBT households report having children), it
        is not surprising that when asked if they were to earn $100,000 from
        investments, LGBT consumers were more likely to spend it than save it.
        When asked if they would buy a luxury item, 63% of LGBT said yes vs.
        45% of non-gays.
     -- LGBT consumers seem more sensitive to recent stock market fluctuations
        and appear to be somewhat more conservative investors. When asked if
        they would reinvest any profits from recent investments in the stock
        market, only 37% of LGBT consumers said yes vs. 54% of non-gays.
        Seventy-four percent (74%) of LGBT consumers said they would be likely
        to reinvest the money in checking, savings or money market and 66% in a
        tax-free account as compared to 70% and 72% of non-gays, respectively.
 
     Key findings about LGBT consumer preferences and behaviors related to auto
 purchasing, home improvements, summer vacation destinations and cable
 television include:
 
     -- 43% of LGBT consumers plan to purchase or lease their next vehicle in
        the next two years, as compared to 30% of non-gays.
     -- When choosing an automobile, LGBT consumers care most about quality of
        workmanship (78%), the manufacturer's reputation (62%) and the previous
        experience with the brand (56%).  The study continues to demonstrate
        that reputation matters to LGBT consumers, with 54% of LGBT consumers
        saying they rely on the advice of friends and relatives when selecting
        an auto vs. 19% of non-gays.
     -- 73% plan to redecorate their house or apartment in the next 12 months
        vs. 65% of non-gays.
     -- The top four U.S. travel destinations for LGBT consumers this summer
        will be Key West, FL, San Francisco, CA, Miami, FL and Chicago, IL.
        Internationally, the top four destinations will be Italy, France, and
        Germany and Mexico.
     -- 62 percent of LGBT viewers said that they would be either "very likely"
        or "likely" to purchase products or services from a company that
        advertises on a cable channel aimed at gays and lesbians.
 
     Note: LGBT refers to individuals who self-identify as lesbian, gay,
 bisexual or transgender.  Percentages may not always add up to 100% due to
 computer rounding.
 
     Methodology
 
     This Harris Interactive survey was conducted via the Harris Poll Online
 within the United States between March 29 and April 2, 2001. The survey was
 conducted via the Internet among 2,461 respondents, 18+ years of age. Figures
 for age, sex, race, education and number of adults in the household were
 weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions
 in the population.  "Propensity score" weighting was also used to adjust for
 respondents' propensity to be online. This survey was conducted using
 QuickQuery(SM), an omnibus service that provides approximately 2,000
 respondents in two to four days.
 
     These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National
 Council on Public Polls.
 
     About WITECK-COMBS COMMUNICATIONS, INC.
     WITECK-COMBS COMMUNICATIONS, INC. (http://www.witeckcombs.com) is the
 nation's premier strategic marketing communications firm specializing in
 reaching the gay and lesbian consumer market.  With over seven years
 experience in this unique niche market, WITECK-COMBS has developed respected
 relationships throughout the community and serves as a bridge between
 corporate America and gay and lesbian consumers.  The Gay Financial Network
 (gfn.com) has twice identified Bob Witeck and Wes Combs as two of the nation's
 twenty-five most influential openly gay business executives.
 
     About Harris Interactive
     Harris Interactive (Nasdaq:   HPOL), the global leader in online market
 research, uses Internet-based and traditional methodologies to provide its
 clients with critical knowledge concerning the views, experiences, behaviors
 and attitudes of people worldwide. Known for The Harris Poll, Harris
 Interactive has 45 years of experience in providing its clients with market
 research and polling services including custom, multi-client and service
 bureau research, as well as customer relationship management services. Harris
 Interactive acquired the custom research group of Yankelovich Partners in
 February 2001. Through its U.S. and Global Network offices, Harris Interactive
 conducts research around the world, in multiple, localized languages, using
 its proprietary technology to survey its database of more than 7 million
 online panelists.  For more information about Harris Interactive, please visit
 the Company's website at http://www.harrisinteractive.com.
 
                      MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT - Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X83512646
 
 

SOURCE Harris Interactive and Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc.
    ROCHESTER, N.Y. and WASHINGTON, April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- A survey
 conducted in April by Harris Interactive and Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc.
 reveals that financial consumers who self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual
 and transgender (LGBT) are more likely than non-gays to prefer financial
 institutions that offer their services via the Internet.  Half of all LGBT
 consumers (51%) said that offering financial services via the Internet was a
 key factor in deciding where to conduct their financial business, as compared
 to 43% of non-gay respondents.
     "Considering high Internet uses by gay and lesbian consumers, this should
 be good news to financial institutions that are accelerating their services by
 offering more and more options via the Web," said Wesley Combs, President of
 Witeck-Combs Communications.
     According to the study, LGBT consumers care more than non-gay consumers
 whether or not a financial institution practices non-discrimination and has
 inclusive policies for people like them.  Over half (57%) of LGBT people said,
 when deciding where to conduct their financial business, it was extremely or
 very important that a financial institution has inclusive policies and banned
 discrimination against people like them. The correlative percentage for
 non-gay respondents was 49%.
     These unique findings were part of a significantly larger poll about
 financial consumer behaviors and television viewing habits of gays and
 lesbians, as well as other adults. The latest Harris Interactive/Witeck-Combs
 Communications research was conducted online among 2,461 adults from the
 Harris Interactive online panel of respondents, between March 29 and April 2,
 2001, in which 163 individuals or 6% identified themselves as lesbian, gay,
 bisexual or transgender.
     Interesting differences also emerged between LGBT and non-gay respondents
 on a host of other financial questions.  When asked what financial concerns
 mattered the most, LGBT consumers said financial loans and debts (59%) were
 top on their list, followed by health care costs (57%), and retirement (38%).
 Non-gay respondents list retirement (56%) at the top of their financial
 concerns, followed by healthcare costs (52%) and financial loans and debts
 (45%).
     Other findings confirm anecdotal assumptions about the different spending
 and saving habits between LGBT and non-gay consumers.  The survey suggests
 that LGBT people are slightly more entrepreneurial, with 30% of those
 respondents saying it is likely that they would consider starting their own
 business if given a cash surplus compared with 23% of non-gay respondents. It
 is not surprising that LGBT consumers are more concerned than non-gays about
 privacy issues when dealing with financial institutions (40% LGBT vs. 34%
 non-gay).
     "For too long, there have not been reliable methods to understand the
 consumer behaviors of this long sought-after market," said David Krane, Harris
 Interactive Senior Vice President.  "Through this research,
 marketing executives are now able to test many hypotheses about lesbian and
 gay consumers."
     Key findings about saving and spending behaviors of LGBT consumers
 include:
 
     -- The study suggests that LGBT consumers are somewhat less knowledgeable
        about financial planning issues.  Only 39% said they were in control of
        their finances as compared to 55% of non-gays.  In addition, 48% said
        they were not knowledgeable about the stock market as compared to 39%
        of non-gays.
     -- LGBT consumers rely more on third party resources for their financial
        information.  Thirty percent  (30%) rely on magazines, books or
        newspapers as compared to 21% of non-gays.  Nineteen percent (19%) rely
        on television as a source of information compared to 12% of non-gays.
     -- With a lower presence of children in households (a Harris
        Interactive/Witeck-Combs Communications survey conducted in January
        2001 revealed only 1 in 5 LGBT households report having children), it
        is not surprising that when asked if they were to earn $100,000 from
        investments, LGBT consumers were more likely to spend it than save it.
        When asked if they would buy a luxury item, 63% of LGBT said yes vs.
        45% of non-gays.
     -- LGBT consumers seem more sensitive to recent stock market fluctuations
        and appear to be somewhat more conservative investors. When asked if
        they would reinvest any profits from recent investments in the stock
        market, only 37% of LGBT consumers said yes vs. 54% of non-gays.
        Seventy-four percent (74%) of LGBT consumers said they would be likely
        to reinvest the money in checking, savings or money market and 66% in a
        tax-free account as compared to 70% and 72% of non-gays, respectively.
 
     Key findings about LGBT consumer preferences and behaviors related to auto
 purchasing, home improvements, summer vacation destinations and cable
 television include:
 
     -- 43% of LGBT consumers plan to purchase or lease their next vehicle in
        the next two years, as compared to 30% of non-gays.
     -- When choosing an automobile, LGBT consumers care most about quality of
        workmanship (78%), the manufacturer's reputation (62%) and the previous
        experience with the brand (56%).  The study continues to demonstrate
        that reputation matters to LGBT consumers, with 54% of LGBT consumers
        saying they rely on the advice of friends and relatives when selecting
        an auto vs. 19% of non-gays.
     -- 73% plan to redecorate their house or apartment in the next 12 months
        vs. 65% of non-gays.
     -- The top four U.S. travel destinations for LGBT consumers this summer
        will be Key West, FL, San Francisco, CA, Miami, FL and Chicago, IL.
        Internationally, the top four destinations will be Italy, France, and
        Germany and Mexico.
     -- 62 percent of LGBT viewers said that they would be either "very likely"
        or "likely" to purchase products or services from a company that
        advertises on a cable channel aimed at gays and lesbians.
 
     Note: LGBT refers to individuals who self-identify as lesbian, gay,
 bisexual or transgender.  Percentages may not always add up to 100% due to
 computer rounding.
 
     Methodology
 
     This Harris Interactive survey was conducted via the Harris Poll Online
 within the United States between March 29 and April 2, 2001. The survey was
 conducted via the Internet among 2,461 respondents, 18+ years of age. Figures
 for age, sex, race, education and number of adults in the household were
 weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions
 in the population.  "Propensity score" weighting was also used to adjust for
 respondents' propensity to be online. This survey was conducted using
 QuickQuery(SM), an omnibus service that provides approximately 2,000
 respondents in two to four days.
 
     These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National
 Council on Public Polls.
 
     About WITECK-COMBS COMMUNICATIONS, INC.
     WITECK-COMBS COMMUNICATIONS, INC. (http://www.witeckcombs.com) is the
 nation's premier strategic marketing communications firm specializing in
 reaching the gay and lesbian consumer market.  With over seven years
 experience in this unique niche market, WITECK-COMBS has developed respected
 relationships throughout the community and serves as a bridge between
 corporate America and gay and lesbian consumers.  The Gay Financial Network
 (gfn.com) has twice identified Bob Witeck and Wes Combs as two of the nation's
 twenty-five most influential openly gay business executives.
 
     About Harris Interactive
     Harris Interactive (Nasdaq:   HPOL), the global leader in online market
 research, uses Internet-based and traditional methodologies to provide its
 clients with critical knowledge concerning the views, experiences, behaviors
 and attitudes of people worldwide. Known for The Harris Poll, Harris
 Interactive has 45 years of experience in providing its clients with market
 research and polling services including custom, multi-client and service
 bureau research, as well as customer relationship management services. Harris
 Interactive acquired the custom research group of Yankelovich Partners in
 February 2001. Through its U.S. and Global Network offices, Harris Interactive
 conducts research around the world, in multiple, localized languages, using
 its proprietary technology to survey its database of more than 7 million
 online panelists.  For more information about Harris Interactive, please visit
 the Company's website at http://www.harrisinteractive.com.
 
                      MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT - Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X83512646
 
 SOURCE  Harris Interactive and Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc.