Stat of the month: GAY abandon - £81bn - Value of the UK pink pound, 2007

That's the annual income of country's gay and lesbian population.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

The pink pound has come a long way since Ivan Massow - the man often credited with inventing it - launched his gay-friendly insurance business back in the mid-90s (valued at £22m in 1997). Those who doubted its sustainability need only look at the figures today. The average gay man is single, childless, and earns £10k more a year than the average heterosexual (41% of gay men hold a degree - far above the national average). In 2005, this extra disposable income went on holidays (£3bn), clothes (£1.9bn) and CDs/DVDs (£1.6bn). It also fuelled the growth in gay-friendly holidays, weddings and plumbers. With 40% of gay people investing in electronic consumer goods, compared with only 25% of heterosexuals, high-tech industry is increasingly reliant on the pink pound. Three-quarters of gay people say they are more willing to buy from a gay-friendly firm, so it's no surprise that businesses like BT, HMV and BA are targeting pink spending power. But with gay consumers credited with keeping alive the careers of Cher and Britney, we hope this power is used wisely.

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