Divorce leads to many Singles

Divorce has created millions of singles (not in India). Less than twenty years ago, the number of divorced and not yet remarried people was less than one third of the present group. And the divorced singles are different from the never married group because over half of all divorces involve children. In fact, while over 15 million or about one fourth of all children live with just one parent, approximately 6 million live with a divorced parent. Single parent households with children also have a dramatically different economic picture. For example, in 1989 households in which children lived with both parents had an average family income of $40,000; but those living with their father had an income of $24,000 and those living with their mother had only $12,000. Although half of the US marriages end in divorce (and some statistics indicate two out of three recent first marriages will end in divorce or separation within 40 years), about 7 out of 10 divorcees eventually remarry. The pattern in America has become where people are likely to become single at several stages of their lives.

The singles segment is growing over five times as fast and the nation as a whole, according to the US Census Bureau, and it is estimated to account for over $1 out of $8 of total consumer spending for goods and services. This growing segment of the American market has not been ignored by marketers. New product and service opportunities have opened up in a wide range of categories geared to this market. For example, consider the following:

Building and home furnishing:

The smaller household of the future – both families and singles means more apartments and condominiums and fewer homes. More furniture will be suitable for apartments, more than use status and prestige will be stressed. Mobility of furniture will be important, giving added emphasis to new design and styles such as modular arrangements.

Autos: Smaller cars are the big seller here, but with emphasis on sporty styling and plenty of pleasure oriented options, such as stereo. For example, Porsche estimated that in a recent year about half of their autos were bought by singles.

Foods: More single and dual serving packages, cans, plastic bags, ad so on will be marketed with convenience and disposability rather than economy being the prime benefits.

Appliances: General electric Co. expects that all the new households started will each need three to six major appliances plus one or more television sets. Magic Chef Inc. is stressing production of microwave ovens partly because of the numbers of single and divorced people who are setting up homes.

Singles aged 20 to 30 show specific psychological and behavioral differences from their married counterparts. There is a pattern of behavior which could be described as a Social Seeker a restless socially oriented consumer search in for satisfactions. The terms of feelings about public image, fashion leadership, and nature and frequency of leisure activities, singles view themselves differently compared to married. Both single men and women feel more social pressure and experience insecurity in the way they present themselves in public than do married men and women. If singles are particularly concerned about self image and their appearance to others, marketers might seek to help them reduce their anxiety level through appropriate marketing strategies as illustrated inflowing examples:

Products and services targeted particularly at singles such as restaurants, travel and entertainment, need to create feeling of security by allowing singles to maintain public face. For instance some restaurants in urban areas catering to affluent working have designated group tables so that singles don’t feel the need to bring a book or newspaper to dinner, to appear lonely, or, to simply stay home with a frozen TV dinner. Campbell Soup Co, found that consumers perceived its Soup for one brand as a lonely name. After years of mediocre sales the name was changed and now single serving sizes are doing well. Royal Cruise Line catering to an older crowd, has a successful program that gets well off men over 50 (who are carefully screened and not paid) to act as dance partners and social hosts to single women.