Gone are the days when single people – and in particular women – were desperate to be in a relationship; most singletons shun Bridget Jones-style angst and love nothing more than being unattached, free from the burden of having a partner.
So says The Single Age report, published by JWT Intelligence at Wunderman Thompson and claimed to be the most in-depth research yet on the attitudes and behaviour of single people. It includes responses to a survey of an even split of more than 3,000 single and married/attached men and women in the UK, US and China.
The study shows three-fifths (60%) of single people in the UK profess to loving being single, with 53% saying they would prefer to be single than attached. A total of 72% say they are single by choice and even more (86%) say it gives them greater freedom.
The attitude of UK singles is closely matched by their counterparts around the world, with 62% of singles globally attesting to loving being unattached. In the US, a total of 64% of single people say they love being single, with 58% saying they would prefer to be single than attached, while in China, it was 73% and 50% respectively.
Most UK singles (77%) say they believe in love but do not need it to feel contented, with just 41% saying being in a relationship makes them feel complete.
A large number of people in the UK, 31%, say they never go on dates, and 62% say they sometimes or rarely go on dates.
The survey shows the growing number of people around the world choosing to remain unmarried, becoming single after divorce or simply embracing singledom.
In the modern era, where one in four millennials will remain unmarried for life, there is a growing push to drop the Bridget Jones stereotypes and to celebrate, rather than pity, single people.
That is all very well, but what has this got to do with marketing?
Well, for a start the financial freedom the single life brings appeals, too. Some 84% of UK singles say that making their own financial decisions is empowering and gives them confidence. Most (61%) like to spend their spare cash on treating themselves – compared to 43% of people in committed relationships.
While 59% of UK singles worry about their financial situation, compared to 49% of the respondents in a relationship, attached people feel their relationship has a big impact on their finances.
A total of 65% of attached people say that their relationship status affects how they think about money, compared to 49% of singles. Meanwhile, 48% of attached people say that their relationship status would make it hard to quit their job, compared to 36% of singles – which is perhaps explained by larger expenses for couples, like mortgages and children.
JWT Intelligence worldwide director and report author Lucie Greene said: “Outdated assumptions are being challenged by this empowered, affluent group who are embracing singlehood for the joys and the freedoms it represents – rather than mourning it as a state in need of ‘completion’.
“Innovative brands are also spotting the huge opportunity that singles represent, whether that’s reframing practical services such as living models, and financial products, or finding ways to uplift them with positive marketing, cultural programming for solo travelers in hotels, or healthy meals for one.
“What’s clear is that as single becomes a more normalised, and positive choice, single consumers are pushing back against patronising marketing and narratives and will increasingly reject brands that do not frame their experience as it is – something rewarding and fulfilling. The rise of singles generally sits within a wider trend in which life stages, family units, and personal networks are becoming more fluid and individual. Put simply: there are no longer rules when it comes to picking the life journey you want to take, whether it’s coupled up, or choosing to live it solo. Make way for The Single Age.”
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