The thriving singles business
More and more people are living alone and renouncing a partner. Many companies have seen this group as a business opportunity, with all kinds of products and services aimed at meeting the needs of singles.
Being single is in vogue. Singles make up an increasingly higher percentage of the population. In Catalonia, one in three people over the age of 15 is single, with a considerable increase in the last half-century, according to data from Idescat. It is therefore not surprising that in 2019 the Catalan Association of Singles and Family Leisure was created.
This is not a local trend. A third of households in the European Union are single and childless. In fact, 50% of households in European capitals such as Paris, Berlin and Oslo are already occupied by single residents, according to Eurostat, which also notes that more than half of Swedish households are single-person households. In the United States, singles aged 25-54 now account for 38% of the population and 28% of households are composed of one person.
Although 11 November has become popular in recent years as Singles’ Day due to Chinese influence, the tradition in some Anglo-Saxon countries places it on 13 February, as opposed to Valentine’s Day. It is a day of vindication for ‘singles’, which has taken on a meaning that goes beyond singleness: it is about people who live alone and do not have a partner, whatever their marital status. What used to be seen socially as a failure is now associated with the concept of freedom.
A business opportunity
In a consumerist and opportunistic world, many companies have seen this group as a business opportunity, with all kinds of products and services aimed at them. Today we can find in the market an increasing number of one-person homes, smaller household appliances, smaller packaging, and activities and trips designed for singles.
Businesses have targeted singles not only because they are a growing group, but also because their purchasing power is also higher than average. In fact, this financial relief is almost a condition for being single, as life is more expensive for them. To begin with, the tax system penalises them compared to families. And if we consider such an important expense as housing, it is clear that not everyone can afford to be single. In fact, this group tends to own less and rent more.
In terms of their consumption habits, singles tend to buy smaller quantities and more frequently in order to prevent products from spoiling, which has led manufacturers to offer smaller pack sizes, even single-dose packs. The aim is to adapt to their needs and take advantage of their greater purchasing power. In addition, consumer studies indicate that this group is less likely to go to hypermarkets and more likely to go to neighbourhood supermarkets and specialised shops.
A lynchpin for the leisure industry
The fact that they do not have family responsibilities means that singles can spend more of their leisure budget than other groups and allow themselves more “whims”.
For this reason, in recent years there has been a proliferation of websites that organise all kinds of events for singles, such as Singles Barcelona or Friendsteam. These are clubs specialising in this population segment that offer activities for socialising, from dinners or parties to excursions or trips.
Sometimes it is the leisure establishments themselves that plan events aimed at this group. Even a chain of gyms such as DIR has seen the business opportunity for singles and offers the DIR Singles & Friends service, with social and sporting activities for its members to get to know each other better.
Special mention should be made of the cruises dedicated to single people, which have seen spectacular growth. During these trips, singles can take the opportunity to meet new people while sailing in the Mediterranean, the Baltic Sea or the Norwegian fjords. Destinations are becoming increasingly varied.
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