Apple is among the top six gay-friendly brands in the US.

According to research, Apple shares this status with Bravo, Showtime, HBO, Absolut and Levi's. Apple is seen as gay-friendly by 39 percent of the gay and lesbian population in the US, just behind Bravo's 52 percent share.

But Wal-Mart, Dunkin' Donuts, Cracker Barrel, Exxon Mobil and Samsung score the lowest marks in survey results taken among gay and lesbian consumers, claims the 2008 Prime Access/PlanetOut Gay and Lesbian Consumer Study released.

The survey is one of the largest and most comprehensive surveys of gay and lesbian consumer habits and brand perceptions. A total of 2,259 adults aged 18-64 took part.

According to the study, more than two-thirds (68 percent) of gay and lesbian consumers said they are more likely to buy from a company they considered to be gay-friendly, a perception they base largely on a company's advertising, followed by input from friends and the media.

The study also reveals that 71 percent of gay and lesbian consumers said they have a more favorable impression of companies or products that feature gay imagery in their advertising.

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Jonny Evans writes for Macworld.co.uk