|The single consumer is getting
more attention this year than ever before. Marketers and
economists are finally noticing the impact that unmarried
consumers are having on the American and global economies.
"The Singles' Economy" was on the
agenda of this year's World Economic Forum held in Davos,
Switzerland. "The people who now dominate and shape the
rich world's urban centres are well-educated, single
professionals in their twenties and thirties," a summary of the
Panelists included commentator
Arianna Huffington, Brad Anderson (CEO of Best Buy), Prof.
Esther Duflo (MIT), Kim Mi-Hyung (Kumho Asiana Group, S. Korea),
Katherine Marshall (World Bank), psychologist Dagmar O'Connor,
and moderator Peter Sullivan (Editor-in-Chief, Independent
Newspapers, South Africa). The panel focused on whether
businesses are successfully tapping into this emerging
Even in such unlikely places such
as South Korea, single consumers are being noticed by the media.
According to a news report this month by KBS World, "Unmarried
people in their 30s are leading the consumer market these days,
replacing married couples in their 40s and 50s."
A recent Korean survey found that
single people spent more than all other age brackets, regardless
Single women in their 30s spent
about 50 percent more than what the average woman spends on
cosmetics. The situation is the same with men. Single men in
their 30s spent an average of 20 percent more per month on
clothing than married men in the same age bracket.
"These figures explain why
marketers are mainly targeting 30-somethings who are not married
these days," the KBS World news report concluded.
Meanwhile, single consumers were
the focus of attention of a new report published in the United
States last month. The report -- "Singles in the U.S.: The New
Nuclear Family" -- was compiled by Packaged Facts, a division of
The publication examines the
attitudes, behaviors, and lifestyles of today’s single
consumers, including never-married, divorced, widowed, and
separated adults -- a demographic segment which now accounts for
a majority of American households.
converge to make singles the new majority of American
households. People are marrying later (or not at all),
divorce rates remain high, and increasing numbers of adults are cohabiting
rather than marrying.
The information in this report is
based on interviews with industry participants and an analysis
of articles appearing in general, marketing, and trade
publications, government agencies data, and product advertising.
The report also draws on a study of how singles are portrayed in
A press release from Packaged
explains how the report
"profiles unmarried adults using demographics such as gender,
race, age and geographic distribution, which open a window into
singles' behavior and opinions, including home-buying
tendencies, financial attitudes, income levels, and preferences
in shopping, technology, and entertainment."
also includes insights from an exclusive study on how singles
are portrayed in advertising," the press release adds.
single, because they increasingly choose to be. The days of the
pathetic single sitting all alone at home moping over his or her
lonely existence are over," said Tatjana Meerman, Managing
Editor of Packaged Facts. "Secure in their independence, singles
don't want to be marketed to as seeking the old-fashioned ideal
of the family."
the report's author, Lisa Flynn,
the report will help:
- Marketing Managers identify
market opportunities and develop targeted promotion plans
for single consumers.
- Research and development
professionals stay on top of competitor initiatives and
explore demand for products targeting singles.
- Advertising agencies to
develop targeted messages and images to singles.
- Business development
executives understand the dynamics of the market and
identify possible partnerships.
- Information and research
center librarians provide market researchers, brand and
product managers and other colleagues with the vital
information they need to do their jobs more effectively.
But the advice doesn't come
cheap. A copy of the report can be purchased from
Packaged Facts for $3,500.
Considering that the federal
government estimates that single consumers contribute $1.6
trillion annually to the American economy, and considering
that reliable marketing information about single consumers is scarce, I suppose
the price tag on the report may be cost effective to
businesses who want to cash in on the singles' market.
To read other editions of
Column One, click here.
Unmarried America 2007
Thomas F. Coleman, Executive Director of Unmarried America, is an
attorney with 33 years of experience in singles' rights, family
diversity, domestic partner benefits, and marital status discrimination.
Each week he adds a new commentary to Column One: Eye on Unmarried
firstname.lastname@example.org. Unmarried America is a nonprofit
information service for unmarried employees, consumers, taxpayers, and