As with disco, urban renewal, waxed chests, and adoption itself, a new study suggests that the Gays are now early adopters in the vehicular realm. More importantly, their purchase of a car can be a keen predictor of its ultimate success in the general marketplace.
The quantitative findings from research firm Strategic Vision, currently exclusive to Jalopnik, demonstrate that vehicles that appeal to a subset of trendsetting consumers that they label "Innovators" — overrepresented in the LGBT community — have a much higher likelihood of eventually becoming hits in the larger population.
As the (ahem) poof in the pudding, they cite a number of vehicles that we gays have gone Gaga for, that have subsequently found mass popularity with the rest of you. It includes current sales hits like the Hyundai Sonata (21% more popular with LGBT than non-LGBT consumers), new VW Jetta (71% more popular), and Nissan Juke (181% more popular).
So what pings these consumers' trendsetting gaydars? Features like environmental friendliness (31% more important to LGBT consumers than non-), interior accessories (37% more important), innovative audio/video systems (48% more important), and a unique and differentiating appearance (50% more important) — though in the case of this last feature, someone ought to alert the new Jetta. Also, prestige (24% more important): the whiff of brand slut distinction that marques like BMW, Subaru, and Nissan have apparently succeeded in baking into their cars, compared to others in the segment. The gays are also impulse buyers, and are 30% more likely than an average consumer to purchase a vehicle on a whim after seeing one that caught their attention.
Given the resolute blandness of many of the over-indexed cars, the begged question is: are the gays going mainstream, or is mainstream culture simply so gayified now that we're all feasting from the same vanilla trough? Judging by the insanely high LGBT index for style-forward cars like the Kia Forte, Honda CR-Z, Mini Cooper, and Scion xB, I'm willing to posit that many gays still like to shine. But give me a call if your mom buys a Juke.
Brett Berk writes "Stick Shift", Vanity Fair's gay car blog.
The research is derived from Strategic Vision's larger and ongoing syndicated automotive buyer study, and is based on over 300,000 annual responses, using over 1,500 comprehensive data points, and including nearly 10,000 LGBT consumers.
Photo Credit: st3f4n