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Single Lifestyles - UK - March 2013

“Whilst the social pressure to find a partner has lessened, an estimated 6.8 million adults in Britain still feel there is a social stigma attached to being single. However, with more adults postponing marriage/starting a family and a higher proportion of separated, widowed and divorced retirees, focusing on the needs of the single consumer is increasingly a priority.”
– Ina Mitskavets, Senior Consumer and Lifestyles Analyst

Some questions answered in this report include:

  • How is the makeup of the population of British singles changing?
  • How do singles improve their chances on the dating scene?
  • Is being single more expensive than having a partner?
  • How successful are online technologies at fostering romantic connections?

Modern relationships are diverse and no longer follow the same trajectory as in previous generations. With women prioritising their careers before having children, partnerships and having a family can take a backseat, whilst getting on the property ladder has been challenging, owing to subdued lending post-credit crunch of 2008. Collectively, these trends mean that the traditional chain of milestones of adulthood is less and less clear.

Despite some grumblings of discontent about the still existing stigma associated with showing up alone to a dinner party or to a restaurant, the overwhelming majority enjoy their freedom to do what they want when they want. Over half are also happy about their standard of living despite the fact that couples generally enjoy greater financial security and save more money together, perhaps proving that people continue to adapt and live within their means.

This report will compare the daily habits of adults by their marital and relationship status and will uncover their spending priorities and goals for the future. The report examines the things that singletons do to improve their chances of finding their future partners, as well as providing an understanding of the dating habits of single adults. The report also explores the ways in which existing couples met their partner. Drawing from exclusive consumer research run for this report, Mintel examines of broader attitudes towards being single in Britain, from the perspective of adults who are not married or living with partners.

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction

      • Definitions
        • Methodology
          • Abbreviations
          • Executive Summary

              • Relationship happiness highest amongst married adults
                • Figure 1: Marital and dating status, February 2013
              • Daters trust word-of-mouth recommendations
                • Figure 2: Activities people have done to find a partner in the past year, February 2013
              • First impressions matter
                • Figure 3: What singles will do to improve their chances of finding a partner in the next year, February 2013
              • Fewer than one in five feel pressure to find a partner
                • Figure 4: Attitudes towards being single, February 2013
              • What we think
              • Issues in the Market

                  • How is the makeup of the population of British singles changing?
                    • How do singles improve their chances on the dating scene?
                      • Is being single more expensive than having a partner?
                        • How successful are online technologies at fostering romantic connections?
                        • Trend Application

                            • Trend: Carnivore, Herbivore… Locavore
                              • Trend: Extend my Brand
                                • Mintel Futures Trend: Generation Next
                                • Demographic Overview

                                  • Key points
                                    • Trends in lifestage
                                      • Figure 5: Forecast adult population trends, by lifestage, 2007-17
                                    • Household size trends
                                      • Figure 6: UK households, by size, 2007-17
                                    • Marital status by age group
                                      • Figure 7: Marital status, by age, February 2013
                                  • Modern Relationships in Britain

                                    • Key points
                                      • Marriage is still the most common form of partnership
                                        • Figure 8: Marital and dating status, February 2013
                                      • Living situation colours spending priorities
                                        • Figure 9: Presence of children in the household, February 2013
                                      • Majority of couples have been together longer than ten years
                                        • Figure 10: Length of relationship, February 2013
                                      • Married adults most happy with their relationship status
                                        • Figure 11: Satisfaction with current relationship status, by marital status, February 2013
                                      • British singles aspire towards relationships
                                        • Figure 12: Satisfaction with current relationship status, by dating status, February 2013
                                    • How People Find a Partner

                                      • Key points
                                        • Cautious daters
                                          • Figure 13: Activities people have done to find a partner in the past year, February 2013
                                        • Nearly half of 16-24-year-olds find dates through friends
                                          • Figure 14: Activities people have done to find a partner in the past year, by gender and age, February 2013
                                        • Over four in ten explore two or more ways of finding a partner
                                          • Figure 15: Number of activities single people have done to find a partner in the past year, February 2013
                                        • Friends, as key match-makers for existing couples
                                          • Figure 16: How coupled adults met their existing partners, February 2013
                                      • Daily Lifestyle

                                        • Key points
                                          • Home alone
                                            • Figure 17: Everyday habits, by marital status, February 2013
                                          • Isolation drives unhappiness with being single
                                            • Figure 18: Everyday habits, by happiness with relationship status, February 2013
                                          • Nearly four in ten singletons spend money as they please
                                            • Figure 19: Everyday habits, by marital status, February 2013
                                          • Affluent singles splash the cash to maintain their image
                                            • Figure 20: Everyday habits, by household income, February 2013
                                          • Marriage and cohabitation makes people house-proud
                                            • Figure 21: Attitudes towards housework, by marital status, 2012
                                          • Over four in ten singles don’t pay attention to what they eat
                                            • Figure 22: Attitudes towards nutrition and shopping for food, by marital status, 2012
                                        • Spending Habits

                                          • Key points
                                            • Debt reduction not a big priority for singles
                                              • Figure 23: How people spent their money in the past three months, by marital status, February 2013
                                            • Making an effort on the dating scene
                                              • Figure 24: How people spent their money in the past three months, by dating status, February 2013
                                            • Vanity and personal purchases are top spend for singles
                                              • Figure 25: Top ten things that extra money is spent on, by marital status, February 2013
                                            • Length of relationship has a bearing on couples’ sense of adventure
                                              • Figure 26: Number of things that adults spend their extra money on, by dating status and length of relationship, February 2013
                                          • Future Priorities

                                            • Key points
                                              • Work hard, play hard
                                                • Figure 27: Future priorities, by marital status, February 2013
                                              • Females show more interest in healthy lifestyles
                                                • Figure 28: Future priorities, by marital status, continued, February 2013
                                              • Adults who are not on dating scene have fewer goals
                                                • Figure 29: Future priorities, by dating status, February 2013
                                              • Singletons have more plans for the future
                                                • Figure 30: Number of future priorities, by marital status, February 2013
                                            • Improving Chances of Finding a Partner

                                              • Key points
                                                • Urban singles go the extra length to improve their dating prospects
                                                  • Figure 31: What singles plan to do to improve their chances of finding a partner in the next year, February 2013
                                                • Younger singletons attribute more importance to their looks
                                                  • Figure 32: What singles will do to improve their chances of finding a partner in the next year, by age, February 2013
                                                • Over eight in ten singletons would make changes to meet a partner
                                                  • Figure 33: Number of things singles will do to improve their chances of finding a partner in the next year, by gender and age, February 2013
                                                • Unhappy singles more willing to change
                                                  • Figure 34: Number of things singles will do to improve their chances of finding a partner in the next year, by satisfaction with being single, February 2013
                                                  • Figure 35: Number of things singles will do to improve their chances of finding a partner in the next year, by future priorities, February 2013
                                              • Attitudes towards Being Single

                                                • Key points
                                                  • 6.8 million singles believe there is a social stigma attached to being single
                                                    • Figure 36: Attitudes towards being single, February 2013
                                                  • Women find being single more expensive
                                                    • Figure 37: Attitudes towards being single, by gender, February 2013
                                                  • Youngest and oldest singles most happy about their living standards
                                                    • Figure 38: Attitudes towards being single, by age, February 2013
                                                • Singles’ Typologies

                                                  • Key points
                                                      • Figure 39: Singles’ typologies, February 2013
                                                    • Prone to Indulgence (28%)
                                                      • Who are they?
                                                        • Happily Single (25%)
                                                          • Who are they?
                                                            • The Quietly Content (24%)
                                                              • Who are they?
                                                                • Under Pressure (23%)
                                                                  • Who are they?
                                                                  • Appendix – Demographic Overview

                                                                      • Figure 40: Employment status by relationship status, February 2013
                                                                      • Figure 41: Relationship status, February 2013
                                                                      • Figure 42: Marital status, by demographics, February 2013
                                                                      • Figure 43: Relationship status of singles, by demographics, February 2013
                                                                      • Figure 44: People living alone in the UK (millions), by age group, 1996-2012
                                                                  • Appendix – How People Find a Partner

                                                                      • Figure 45: How people find a partner, by demographics, February 2013
                                                                      • Figure 46: Repertoire of how people find a partner, by demographics, February 2013
                                                                      • Figure 47: How people found their existing partners, by demographics, February 2013
                                                                  • Appendix – Daily Lifestyle

                                                                    • Habits of single, separated, divorced and widowed adults
                                                                      • Figure 48: Daily habits, by demographics, February 2013
                                                                      • Figure 49: Daily habits, by demographics, continued, February 2013
                                                                    • Habits of adults who are married, in civil partnerships, or living as married
                                                                      • Figure 50: Daily habits, by demographics, February 2013
                                                                      • Figure 51: Daily habits, by demographics, continued, February 2013
                                                                  • Appendix – Spending Habits

                                                                      • Figure 52: Activities done in the past three months and planned activities for the next three months, by marital status, February 2013
                                                                      • Figure 53: What extra money is spent on, by marital status, February 2013
                                                                      • Figure 54: What extra money is spent on, by dating status, February 2013
                                                                  • Appendix – Future Priorities

                                                                    • Future priorities of single, separated, widowed and divorced adults
                                                                      • Figure 55: Future priorities, by demographics, February 2013
                                                                      • Figure 56: Future priorities, by demographics, continued, February 2013
                                                                    • Future priorities of adults who are married, in civil partnerships or are living as married
                                                                      • Figure 57: Future priorities, by demographics, February 2013
                                                                      • Figure 58: Future priorities, by demographics, continued, February 2013
                                                                  • Appendix – Improving Chances of Finding a Partner

                                                                      • Figure 59: Improving chances of finding a partner, by demographics, February 2013
                                                                      • Figure 60: Repertoire of improving chances of finding a partner, February 2013
                                                                      • Figure 61: Repertoire of Improving chances of finding a partner, by demographics, February 2013
                                                                      • Figure 62: Improving chances of finding a partner, by most popular future priorities, February 2013
                                                                      • Figure 63: Improving chances of finding a partner, by next most popular future priorities, February 2013
                                                                      • Figure 64: Repertoire of improving chances of finding a partner, by most popular future priorities, February 2013
                                                                      • Figure 65: Repertoire of improving chances of finding a partner, by next most popular future priorities, February 2013
                                                                  • Appendix – Attitudes towards Being Single

                                                                      • Figure 66: Agreement with the statements ‘There is a social stigma attached to being single’ and ‘I feel pressure from family/friends to find a partner’, by demographics, February 2013
                                                                      • Figure 67: Agreement with the statements ‘Being single is more expensive compared with having a partner (eg splitting rent, holiday costs)’ and ‘Being single offers more freedom to do what you want, when you want’, by demographics, February 2013
                                                                      • Figure 68: Agreement with the statements ‘Single people tend to have a more varied social life’ and ‘Cooking just for yourself is not enjoyable’, by demographics, February 2013
                                                                      • Figure 69: Agreement with the statements ‘I enjoy spending on my appearance’ and ‘I enjoy splashing out on a meal in a restaurant’, by demographics, February 2013
                                                                      • Figure 70: Agreement with the statements ‘I am perfectly happy with my standard of living’ and ‘A tight circle of friends is more important than having a partner’, by demographics, February 2013
                                                                      • Figure 71: Agreement with the statements ‘I tend to feel out of place when socialising with couples’, by demographics, February 2013
                                                                  • Appendix – Singles’ Typologies

                                                                      • Figure 72: Singles’ typologies, by demographics, February 2013
                                                                      • Figure 73: Daily habits, by target groups, February 2013
                                                                      • Figure 74: How people find a partner, by target groups, February 2013
                                                                      • Figure 75: Repertoire of how people find a partner, by target groups, February 2013
                                                                      • Figure 76: Future priorities, by target groups, February 2013
                                                                      • Figure 77: Repertoire of future priorities, by target groups, February 2013
                                                                      • Figure 78: Improving chances of finding a partner, by target groups, February 2013
                                                                      • Figure 79: Repertoire of improving chances of finding a partner, by Target groups, February 2013
                                                                      • Figure 80: Attitudes towards being single, by target groups, February 2013

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                                                                  Single Lifestyles - UK - March 2013

                                                                  £1,995.00 (Excl.Tax)