Smartphones running Google's Android operating system have been growing in popularity since first being introduced in 2005, and that means that Android's app market has been growing as well. With the growing popularity of the mobile app industry, the ease at which developers can add a product to Android's Market, and the relatively simple process of generating revenue, Android development has virtually exploded. So much so that many Android developers are beginning to embrace smaller niche markets such as gay consumers.
Gay consumers are a niche market that have been coveted by marketers in North America for years. Subaru, for example, has been successfully marketing their cars to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) community since the late 1990's. The entertainment industry has created hundreds of mainstream movies and television shows that either target gay consumers or attempt to integrate them into the audience. Over the last decade, even the most socially conservative companies have recognized the importance of marketing products to gay consumers.
Android developers are tapping into GLBT community as well. There are currently over 500 apps in Android market specifically targeting gay consumers. A simple search for "gay" or "GLBT" in Android Market will bring up everything from relatively low-tech screensaver apps to sophisticated dating/chat/social networking applications that determine a user's location and help find other users nearby. While gay dating apps may seem like the most obvious opportunity (here's a list of the top gay dating Android apps for some examples), that's not the only way that app developers can sell products to gay consumers.
Gay and lesbian themed games, such as Gay Truth or Dare, show the potential for putting a GLBT theme on a traditional app. There are also many news apps targeting GLBT users, including several that specifically deliver news stories about developments in gay marriage in the United States. With a little imagination, it's clear that many existing apps could be re-branded or re-designed for gay consumers, likely at a lower cost than developing a new app from scratch.
While it's not clear exactly how big the GLBT app market may be in terms of revenue, it's safe to say that there's money to be made creating apps for the GLBT community. After all, GLBT users - just like most smartphone users - are eager to personalize their device by downloading a few apps. And, according to at least one recent study, GLBT consumers have more discretionary income than the average person, and they're more up-beat about the economy.
A handful of Android developers have already found success creating an app for the GLBT niche, and it's likely there are many more applications targeting gay consumers are on the way. The lesson here for all developers: don't be afraid to target a niche, especially one that's affluent.
Author Jason Lancaster works with GayDatingSites.com, a website specializing in gay dating site reviews.