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Barbara Farfan

Best Buy and Target Risk Losing $759 Billion in LGBT Consumer Spending From Gay Rights Boycotts (TGT, BBY)

By August 24, 2010

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Here's why the U.S. retail industry in general and Target (TGT) and Best Buy (BBY)  in particular can't afford to ignore the ongoing boycotts that are being led by the LGBT community in protest of corporate campaign contributions to an anti-gay rights politicial candidate. According to statistics quoted by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a gay rights advocacy organization:

  • The buying power of the LGBT community was $759 billion in 2009
  • 78% of LGBT people are likely to do business with companies that are known to have gay-friendly workplaces
  • More than 300,000 people have used the LGBT shopping guide published by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) to make buying decisions

The largest U.S. retail chains have a customer base in the millions, so 300,000 lost customers scattered around 50 states may not seem significant. But in the past three years, we've seen retailers do some crazy Hail Mary marketing in order to lure customers through the front door. To alienate 300,000 consumers in one fell swoop is not an insignificant thing. And certainly it is not fiscally responsible in the midst of what is only a technical recession recovery to drive consumers with $759 billion in their pockets to the doorsteps of the competition.

Last week the HRC announced that it would be removing both Target (TGT) and Best Buy (BBY) from its list of gay-friendly companies recommended on its LGBT shopping guide. The HRC has apparently made good on that threat because as of this writing, Target and Best Buy are now absent from that list.

Target has been the main target of the consumer protests that refuse to die, but Best Buy is equally as culpable in... >> more >>

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August 24, 2010 at 5:02 pm
(1) SD_Dave says:

If HRC is truly serious about removing Target and Best Buy from their shopping guide, they really need to update their iPhone app.

August 24, 2010 at 11:58 pm
(2) kate says:

you’re missing a very significant point – it isn’t just LGBT dollars that they’re losing – anyone following this on facebook & twitter & other sites knows there is probably 2-3x the volume in solidarity with this boycott. the dollar loss is huge and growing, and the CEO’s should be dumped for ruthlessly spending corp dollars for their personal political convictions.

August 25, 2010 at 12:28 am
(3) Dan says:

It amazes me that the one main thing almost everyone seems to leave out of the mix of the reason for the boycott, is not only Tom Emmer being an anti-gay candidate but the fact that he has personally, himself donated to and is associated with the Christian Punk Rock Ministry known as You Can Run But You Can’t Hide. They have come out saying; “that Muslim countries that call for the execution of gays and lesbians are “more moral than even the American Christians.””

They advocate the death of gays and lesbians and that is why I am full behind this boycott more than any other reason.

August 25, 2010 at 1:15 am
(4) LSwolf says:

I not only have a Gay family member, but I’m also a Target Shareholder. I don’t think politics belongs in a shopping cart. What’s next? political slogans on the ceiling of the dentist’s or gynecologist’s office? Some things just are NOT appropriate. As for the “family values” crowd, I have to laugh. If we were talking about sex instead of politics , they would be outraged. GLBT’s have friends and family members, too. Shareholders are not crazy about alienating at least 40% of customers with WHATEVER candidate the company supports. THIS is the law of unintended consequences.

August 25, 2010 at 1:48 am
(5) Lucy says:

Brilliant article! Kate is right, they aren’t only losing LGBT dollars. I am a straight, single mom, with zero ties to the LGBT community, who spent lots of money at Target. Lots of money I didn’t even intend on spending when I walked in the door. I loved Target. However, I’ve spent the last 14 years teaching my children the importance of tolerance. I am angry that the profits of my spending dollars would go towards something that goes against my values. Comparing this to donating money to a candidate who might be pro Ku Klux Klan was brilliant. They really aren’t any different.

August 25, 2010 at 2:07 am
(6) Jennifer White says:

Target also donated directly to the organization, protectmarriage.com, who’s sole purpose is to promote proposition 8 in California. How is that “good business”? Target has actually made efforts behind our backs to oppress us while to our faces claiming to be LGBT supporters. Now, not only do we not shop there, we tell our families and our friends to boycott as well. Being on HRC’s list in the past may have got my business, but attacking the community means they lost my business, my family’s, my friends business, some of my co-workers business, and people I can spread the word to on social networking sites as well. Attack us and our freedoms, and we’ll attack your bottom line to our greatest ability.

August 25, 2010 at 1:33 pm
(7) Susan says:

This article presumes that the only people offended by Target/Best Buy’s contribution to an anti-gay candidate are LGBT. I am straight, but equally offended by bias and hate mongering. I have cancelled my Target credit card and will not shop there or at BB because of their actions. These corporations need to realize that they are not the only game in town – we have many other choices.

August 25, 2010 at 3:48 pm
(8) SD_Dave says:

A follow-up to my comment from yesterday. I sent an e-mail to HRC yesterday after I noticed Target and Best Buy still being included in their iPhone app Shopping Guide, and received an update for this guide. I have confirmed that this update includes the deletion of both organizations.

August 26, 2010 at 5:46 pm
(9) Brett Bumeter says:

This number is actually under stated. I’m not in the LGBT community, but I sure as hell won’t spend money with bigots. So you can add several million more people to that list who are either friends of the LGBT community or in addition won’t fund bigotry. Plus, I look at this as something that is not a foul that can be corrected but a three strikes and their out. I’m simply not going back to either of them, nor doing business with them (they both used to be customers of mine). I don’t need that type of business and they sure aren’t going to get mine. On a related note, if President Obama doesn’t make some progress in supporting equal rights for the LGBT community he’s not getting my vote either.

August 26, 2010 at 6:11 pm
(10) @NC_SEO says:

there’s no way Target makes $759 billion dollars …so how can they lose that to a minority?

seems the facts are skewed

August 26, 2010 at 10:05 pm
(11) Itsa says:

Seem like a lot of money, was this part of the bailout from Obama that we are talking about.

August 27, 2010 at 3:09 pm
(12) Kevin says:

The group that led this study is extremely biased toward the LGBT community. I am sure that Target/Best Buy’s accounting and risk management departments are lot better at determining this number. Most Targets are doing just fine.

August 27, 2010 at 3:54 pm
(13) Brent says:

Did they take into account the amount of people that are going tinamou their more because of the misguided and blatant disregard by the LGBT community of what actually Target and Best Buy contributed to. A lot of people are angry with the Lgbt community for attempting to strong arm the corporations. Target and best buy has done a lot for the LGBT community, but this is overlooked for a stretch of a correlation to a band that has strong opinions on traditional marriage. Guess what, a lot of people have strong opinions on traditional marriage. They are not bigots. A marriage between same sex partners is not the same as marriage between a man and a woman. Get over yourselves LGBTers, this is rediculous .

August 27, 2010 at 9:19 pm
(14) Allen says:

There’s a reason why man and woman can produce a child and man and man or woman and woman cannot. Good for Target and Best Buy!

September 6, 2010 at 12:53 pm
(15) Joe says:

@Allen, you are misinformed and you sound very unintelligent. There are many straight me and many straight women who are unable to have children as well. @Brenda, if you wish to call an entire community “rediculous” at least learn to spell the word. Look at your comment and see who looks ridiculous!

September 26, 2010 at 11:47 pm
(16) Logan says:

August 25, 2010 at 12:28 am
(3) Dan says:

“They advocate the death of gays and lesbians and that is why I am full behind this boycott more than any other reason.”

Couldn’t have said it any better.

October 2, 2010 at 4:06 pm
(17) Joe says:

You rant and rave about target and best buy ..You never say anything about walmart and it companies it ownes..Wal-Mart a rating 40 .. that not good at all ..they own Walmart stores and super centers and marketside stores and sams club and aldi’s supermarkets they also own many hundreds of companies over seas also..They are greediest company in the world and have bad record against gays and lesbians and straight people also…. i don’t here you bashing them .. that pressure american companies to move factories over seas so walmart can buy it for really cheap .. walmart is the greediest company in the world. they don’t pay that good and there benefits are really bad and they don’t offer benifets for gays or lesbians or transexuals .. Please tell every one to not support them either.. they are horrible company period ..

October 26, 2010 at 5:41 pm
(18) benji888 says:

This is not just about the political candidate but also the so called “christian” band that promotes violent hate against people for their sexual orientation. Music affects us all, but teenagers more than anyone, and this message of hate and violence must be stopped! Somehow this part has been lost since Target gave the donation, but it may be most important.

November 17, 2010 at 5:18 pm
(19) MrFab says:

I’m gay and believe in the right to free speech. After all the millions that Target has spent on gay parades and prides and then for everyone to get their panties in a wad over this is ridiculous. If the gay community is this disloyal then who needs them? I will continue to shop there and take all my straight friends that don’t see shopping as a political statement.

December 25, 2010 at 12:22 am
(20) Mack Robertson says:

We have several members on both sides of our family who are gay and lesbian. Both families did all of their Christmas and Hanukkah shopping at stores other than Target and/or Best Buy. There are definitely many people who are not GLBT who are boycotting these two corps. We, too, urged friends and neighbors to boycott both. We know some did, and we hope all did.

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