Welcoming the pink dollar

Josh Sprake wants Australia to cash in on gay marriages.

Gay. And probably rich.

With the collapse of global financial markets in 2009 and the economic turbulence that followed, governments have begun to look at new markets to counter the rapid drop in consumer confidence. Recently many economists have remarked upon the strength and resilience of certain markets and demographics, such as the mining boom and the predictability of low-income earners.

New markets and demographics have erupted that have greatly contributed to the strength of the economy both at home and abroad. The Sydney Morning Herald recently detailed the economic power of wealthy single women in inner Sydney, a group it dubbed “the diamond collective”.

Gay. And probably rich.

I would argue that there is a better market still, known as the ‘pink dollar’. This is another name for the gay market, or the ability of a business to appeal to the gay population. It has previously been restricted to the context of marketing, such as the creation of a gay holiday resort or a gay friendly medical service and so on. However, this has now expanded, and the pink dollar has an interesting twist.

As homosexual couples have become more common and accepted, they have begun to move into de facto relationships. Usually, these sort of relationships are know as Double Income No Kids (DINK) families, a term that has previously been used for professional young heterosexual couples who had not yet started a family.

The increase in gay couples has interesting implications for this category, as they are less likely to eventually have children. Instead, the DINK status could become a permanent state of living, as opposed to the brief transitional state it tends to occupy in the life of young heterosexual couples. Eventually, gay DINK couples could become a larger demographic than their heterosexual counterparts.

Additionally, a report put out by the BBC previously placed the value of the global LGBTQI market at approximately US$350 billion each year, noting that this community is likely to band together and support businesses, in the same way immigrant communities do.

However, it is difficult to determine the effect of this community upon Australia’s economy. One of many reasons for this is that Sydney’s sizeable LGBTQI community has a large demand for status symbols and high-end items, particularly in the fields of fashion and electronics. As many of these items are not Australian-made, consumers are forced online and overseas, and their income is lost to foreign businesses.

With this in mind, it is clear that our government and businesses should be targeting and fighting for the coveted pink dollar. One obvious way to help keep this money inside Australia would be to legalise same-sex marriage. The undoubtedly extravagant and expensive ceremonies that would follow such a decision would boost many different sectors of the Australian economy, in turn increasing jobs and services.

So, I have a proposal for the Australian government and all who oppose same-sex marriage. Next time you decide the economy is in trouble, instead of bailing it out or putting the budget into deficit, just legalise same-sex marriages. I can guarantee that businesses and economists alike will love the words ‘same-sex bridal registry’.