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Single Lifestyles - US - February 2012

With fewer Americans marrying overall, those who do so are waiting longer to wed, and with an increasing divorce rate among older marrieds, singles are a growing population to consider in product positioning and marketing decisions.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are a record number of singles in the U.S., accounting for 102 million adults aged 18+, or 44% of total adults. The Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey, released in September 2011, estimates that singles contribute $1.9 trillion to the U.S. economy annually. What’s more, only 51% of adults today are married and a total of 28% of households now consist of just one person—which is more than double the share compared with 1960.

The stigma associated with being single has faded and more singles are content with their singlehood. Therefore, understanding everyday habits, attitudes and opinions of this increasingly important consumer group is key to growing business.

In this report, Mintel examines attitudes and behaviors of singles, both in and out of the dating scene, and contrasts them with those of married consumers. Specifically, this report answers the following questions:

  • What’s the demographic makeup of singles in the U.S.? Who are they and where do they live?
  • What are the factors contributing to the increase in singles in the U.S., and how is this expected to change in the near term and long term?
  • What are some of the marketing strategies being used to target singles?
  • What is the financial outlook, budgeting and spending habits of singles?
  • How do singles feel about their lifestyle compared with those in a relationship?
  • How do singles and marrieds differ in their use of disposable income and participation in activities?
  • What are opportunities in products and services for singles, and how do these opportunities differ for singles across age groups?

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Population data
            • Consumer data
              • Advertising creative
                • Abbreviations and terms
                  • Abbreviations
                    • Terms
                    • Executive Summary

                        • Demographic profile of singles
                          • Figure 1: Total population and singles aged 18 or older, by age, 2011
                          • Figure 2: Total population and singles aged 18 or older, by race/Hispanic origin, 2011
                        • Background factors
                          • Figure 3: Number and percentage of unmarrieds and marrieds, by gender, 1960 versus 2010
                          • Figure 4: Estimated median age at first marriage, by gender, 1950-2010
                        • The single consumer
                          • Living situation
                            • Figure 5: Residence and home ownership status, by marital status, April 2010-June 2011
                          • Employment and current financial situation
                            • Discretionary spending
                              • Figure 6: Discretionary spending, by marital/relationship status and dating status, November 2011
                            • Lifestyle attitudes
                              • Figure 7: Attitudes toward life, by marital status, and by not married gender, April 2010-June 2011
                            • Dating habits
                              • Figure 8: Singles’ dating habits, by gender, November 2011
                            • Dining and food choices
                              • Past seven day leisure activities
                                • Figure 9: Past seven day leisure activities, by marital/relationship status and dating status, November 2011
                              • Media usage
                                • Figure 10: Media use in the last 30 days, by marital status and by not married gender, April 2010-June 2011
                              • Impact of race and Hispanic origin
                                • Singles with children
                                  • What we think
                                  • Insights and Opportunities

                                    • Collaborative consumption
                                      • Registries for singles
                                        • Target the singles that have money to spend
                                        • Inspire Insights

                                            • Trend: Power of One
                                              • Many singles are satisfied with being solo
                                                • Recognizing the individual key to communication
                                                  • Single but not necessarily alone
                                                    • Trend: Without a Care
                                                      • Single Baby Boomers may be taking care of others
                                                        • Tech companies help single seniors age in place, but more advances needed
                                                        • Demographic Profile of Singles

                                                          • Key points
                                                            • More than four in 10 U.S. adults are single
                                                                • Figure 11: Total population and singles aged 18 or older, by age, 2011
                                                              • The vast majority of singles have never been married
                                                                • Figure 12: Single people aged 18 or older, by age and previous marital status, 2011
                                                              • Men comprise larger percentage of young singles, tables turn with age
                                                                • Figure 13: Single people, by gender and age, 2011
                                                              • Blacks are more likely to be single than whites or Asians
                                                                • Figure 14: Total population and singles aged 18 or older, by race/Hispanic origin, 2011
                                                              • One income over two
                                                                • Figure 15: Personal income distribution of U.S. population aged 18 or older, by marital status, 2010
                                                                • Figure 16: Percentage of income spent on select products and services, by marital status, 2009
                                                            • Background Factors

                                                              • Key points
                                                                • Marriage rate declining
                                                                  • Figure 17: Annual number of marriages, 1950-2010
                                                                  • Figure 18: Percentage of population aged 15+ who are married, 1960-2010
                                                                • Americans are staying single longer
                                                                  • Figure 19: Estimated median age at first marriage, by gender, 1950-2010
                                                                • Increasing divorce among those aged 50+ creating a new batch of older singles
                                                                  • Singlehood celebrated, stigma fades
                                                                    • Figure 20: Number and percentage of unmarrieds, 1960 and 2010
                                                                • Innovations and Innovators

                                                                  • Group Gifts from Crate & Barrel
                                                                    • Figure 21: Crate & Barrel Group Gifts, January 2012
                                                                  • Grubwithus allows single foodies to enjoy dining out
                                                                    • Norwegian Cruise Line focuses on one traveler at a time
                                                                      • Figure 22: Cruise ship vacation in the last three years, by key demographics, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                    • Quality in convenience
                                                                    • Marketing Strategies

                                                                      • Overview
                                                                        • Brand analysis: Wells Fargo
                                                                          • Figure 23: Brand analysis of Wells Fargo, 2012
                                                                        • TV presence
                                                                          • Figure 24: Wells Fargo TV ad, “Real Help,” 2011
                                                                          • Figure 25: Wells Fargo TV ad, “Life Strategy,” 2011
                                                                        • Other initiatives
                                                                          • Figure 26: Wells Fargo magazine ad, January 2012
                                                                        • Brand analysis: AT&T
                                                                          • Figure 27: Brand analysis of AT&T, 2012
                                                                        • TV presence
                                                                          • Figure 28: AT&T TV ad, “Ski Lift Incident,” 2011
                                                                          • Figure 29: AT&T TV ad, “Munch,” 2011
                                                                        • Online initiatives
                                                                          • Figure 30: AT&T Facebook page, January 2012
                                                                        • Brand analysis: Freschetta
                                                                          • Figure 31: Brand analysis of Freschetta, 2012
                                                                        • TV presence
                                                                          • Figure 32: Freschetta TV ad, “Inspiring,” 2011
                                                                        • Online initiatives
                                                                          • Figure 33: Fresh Ideas website, January 2012
                                                                        • Brand analysis: eHarmony
                                                                          • Figure 34: Brand analysis of eHarmony.com, 2012
                                                                        • TV presence
                                                                          • Figure 35: eHarmony.com TV ad, “Sense of Control,” 2011
                                                                        • Online initiatives
                                                                          • Figure 36: eHarmony.com, January 2012
                                                                        • Other initiatives
                                                                        • Living Situation

                                                                          • Key points
                                                                            • While outpaced by marrieds, a majority of singles are homeowners
                                                                              • Figure 37: Residence and home ownership status, by marital status, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                            • Youngest and oldest singles are most likely to say they are homeowners
                                                                                • Figure 38: Unmarried respondents’ residence and home ownership status, by age, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                            • Employment and Current Financial Situation

                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                • Singles are more likely to be unemployed and feel financially insecure
                                                                                  • Figure 39: Current employment status and attitudes toward personal finances, by marital status, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                • Single women are good targets for financial advice
                                                                                  • Figure 40: Unmarried respondents’ current employment status and attitudes toward personal finances, by gender, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                • Older singles have things under control
                                                                                  • Figure 41: Unmarried respondents’ current employment status and attitudes toward personal finances, by age, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                • Education level plays a large role in employment status
                                                                                  • Figure 42: Unmarried respondents’ current employment status, by education, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                • Struggling singles less likely to be on the dating scene
                                                                                  • Figure 43: Current financial situation, by marital/relationship status and whether or not on the dating scene, November 2011
                                                                              • Discretionary Spending

                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                  • Couples outspend singles in all categories except for personal treats
                                                                                    • Figure 44: Discretionary spending allocation, by category, by marital/relationship status and dating status, November 2011
                                                                                  • Single women spend on others and self-improvement, men spend on fun
                                                                                      • Figure 45: Singles’ discretionary spending allocation, by category, by gender, November 2011
                                                                                    • 25-34s are top-spending singles
                                                                                      • Figure 46: Singles’ discretionary spending allocation, by category, by age, November 2011
                                                                                  • Lifestyle Attitudes

                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                      • Singles’ lifestyle attitudes
                                                                                        • Singles are less happy, more career-driven than marrieds
                                                                                          • Figure 47: Attitudes toward life, by marital status, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                        • Single women happier with life, are more optimistic than single men
                                                                                          • Figure 48: Unmarried respondents’ attitudes toward life, by gender, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                        • Older singles happiest, most optimistic, but half still have their worries
                                                                                          • Figure 49: Unmarried respondents’ attitudes toward life, by age, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                        • Singles from households with lowest incomes feel most alone
                                                                                          • Figure 50: Unmarried respondents’ attitudes toward life, by household income, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                        • Divorced singles do more with only themselves in mind
                                                                                          • Figure 51: Lifestyle attitudes, by marital/relationship status, November 2011
                                                                                        • Singles’ attitudes toward their lifestyle compared with their coupled friends
                                                                                          • Singles who were previously attached are more likely to feel free
                                                                                            • Figure 52: Singles' attitudes toward their lifestyle compared with their coupled friends, by relationship status, November 2011
                                                                                          • Female singles keep it simple, but are worried by finances
                                                                                            • Figure 53: Singles' attitudes toward their lifestyle compared with their coupled friends, by gender, November 2011
                                                                                          • Older singles value their freedom, younger singles like to socialize
                                                                                            • Figure 54: Singles' attitudes toward their lifestyle compared with their coupled friends, by age, November 2011
                                                                                          • Non-dating singles value time, dating singles invest in appearance
                                                                                            • Figure 55: Singles' attitudes toward their lifestyle compared with their coupled friends, by dating status, November 2011
                                                                                        • Dating Habits

                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                            • Only one third of singles are on the dating scene, female singles cautious
                                                                                              • Figure 56: Singles’ dating habits, by gender, November 2011
                                                                                            • Younger singles more likely to be dating than older singles
                                                                                              • Figure 57: Singles’ dating habits, by age, November 2011
                                                                                            • Only 6% of singles say they are using online dating sites
                                                                                              • Figure 58: Incidence of past 30 day personal ad/dating service website visitation, by key demographics, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                          • Dining and Food Choices

                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                              • Dining at home
                                                                                                • Convenience is key, especially among young singles
                                                                                                    • Figure 59: Attitudes toward food, by marital status, and unmarried respondents’ by age, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                  • Singles warm to frozen food, marketers speak to single women
                                                                                                      • Figure 60: Household use of prepared meals, by marital status, and unmarried respondents’ by gender, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                    • Shelf-stable finds favor with singles in households earning less than $25K
                                                                                                      • Figure 61: Unmarried respondents’ household use of prepared meals, by household income, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                    • Dining away from home
                                                                                                      • Fast food popular, oldest and lower-income singles least interested
                                                                                                        • Figure 62: Unmarried respondents’ fast food and drive-in restaurant use, by age, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                        • Figure 63: Burger King delivery service website, January 2012
                                                                                                        • Figure 64: Unmarried respondents’ fast food and drive-in restaurant use, by household income, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                      • Other restaurants could do more to welcome singles
                                                                                                          • Figure 65: Unmarried respondents’ family restaurant and steak house use, by household income, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                      • Past Seven Day Leisure Activities

                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                          • Female singles can be reached through food
                                                                                                            • Figure 66: Singles’ past seven day leisure activities, by gender, November 2011
                                                                                                          • Age is a strong determinant of singles’ activities
                                                                                                            • Figure 67: Singles’ past seven day leisure activities, by age, November 2011
                                                                                                          • Singles from $50K-74.9K households engage in the most varied activities
                                                                                                            • Figure 68: Singles’ past seven day leisure activities, by household income, November 2011
                                                                                                          • Singles on the dating scene can be targeted through at-home socializing
                                                                                                            • Figure 69: Past seven day leisure activities, by marital/relationship status and dating status, November 2011
                                                                                                        • Media Usage

                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                            • Singles have less-varied media consumption than marrieds
                                                                                                              • Figure 70: English-language media use in the last 30 days, by marital status, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                            • Single women easier to reach than single men
                                                                                                              • Figure 71: Unmarried respondents’ English-language media use in the last 30 days, by gender, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                            • Growth in web use among those aged 45+ represents opportunity for outreach
                                                                                                              • Figure 72: Unmarried respondents’ English-language media use in the last 30 days, by age, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                            • Singles from households earning less than $25K are less engaged in media
                                                                                                              • Figure 73: Unmarried respondents’ English-language media use in the last 30 days, by household income, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                            • Singles stay connected
                                                                                                              • Figure 74: Attitudes toward cell phones as a social connection tool, by marital status, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                            • Need for connection resonates most with single women
                                                                                                              • Figure 75: Unmarried respondents’ attitudes toward cell phones as a social connection tool, by gender, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                            • Young singles pursue connection
                                                                                                              • Figure 76: Unmarried respondents’ attitudes toward cell phones as a social connection tool, by age, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                            • Singles from households earning $75K+ most likely to connect
                                                                                                              • Figure 77: Unmarried respondents’ attitudes toward cell phones as a social connection tool, by household income, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                          • Travel and Vacation

                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                              • Singles may need encouragement to travel abroad
                                                                                                                  • Figure 78: Foreign travel in the last three years, by key demographics, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                                • Social networking could be useful to single travelers
                                                                                                                  • Figure 79: Domestic travel in the last 12 months, by key demographics, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                              • Impact of Race and Hispanic Origin

                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                  • Black singles most likely to be parents
                                                                                                                    • Figure 80: Unmarried respondents’ incidence of being a parent or guardian of a child either living in the same household or a different household, by race/Hispanic origin, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                                  • Black singles are less likely to be seeking a relationship
                                                                                                                    • Figure 81: Singles’ dating habits, by race/Hispanic origin, November 2011
                                                                                                                  • Hispanic singles are happy about life, Asian singles seek more
                                                                                                                    • Figure 82: Unmarried respondents’ attitudes toward life, by race/Hispanic origin, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                                  • Black singles are a good target for career and financial services
                                                                                                                    • Figure 83: Unmarried respondents’ current employment status, by race/Hispanic origin, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                                    • Figure 84: Unmarried respondents’ attitudes toward personal finances, by race/Hispanic origin, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                                  • Black singles are the least likely to say they have extra money
                                                                                                                    • Figure 85: Singles’ discretionary spending, by race/Hispanic origin, November 2011
                                                                                                                  • A closer look at the interests of Asian singles
                                                                                                                    • Figure 86: Unmarried respondents’ attitudes toward apparel, by race/Hispanic origin, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                                    • Figure 87: Unmarried respondents’ regular exercise program in the last 12 months, by race/Hispanic origin, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                                    • Figure 88: Unmarried respondents’ attitudes toward cell phones as a social connection tool, by race/Hispanic origin, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                                  • Asian singles are active consumers of media
                                                                                                                    • Figure 89: Unmarried respondents’ media usage in the last seven days/30 days, by race/Hispanic origin, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                                  • Black singles are a good target for convenience foods
                                                                                                                    • Figure 90: Unmarried respondents’ household use of prepared meals, by race/Hispanic origin, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                                • Cluster Analysis

                                                                                                                    • Social Singles
                                                                                                                      • Demographics
                                                                                                                        • Characteristics
                                                                                                                          • Opportunity
                                                                                                                            • Struggling Unattached
                                                                                                                              • Demographics
                                                                                                                                • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                  • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                    • Satisfied Solos
                                                                                                                                      • Demographics
                                                                                                                                        • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                          • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                            • Down Home
                                                                                                                                              • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                  • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                    • Cluster characteristics
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 91: Singles’ lifestyle clusters, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 92: Singles’ living situation during the majority of the year, by lifestyle clusters, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 93: Singles’ relationship status, by lifestyle clusters, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 94: Singles’ current financial situation, by lifestyle clusters, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 95: Singles’ discretionary spending, by lifestyle clusters, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 96: Singles’ lifestyle attitudes, by lifestyle clusters, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 97: Singles' attitudes toward their lifestyle compared with their coupled friends, by lifestyle clusters, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 98: Singles’ dating habits, by lifestyle clusters, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 99: Singles’ past seven day leisure activities, by lifestyle clusters, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                    • Cluster demographics
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 100: Singles’ lifestyle clusters, by gender, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 101: Singles’ lifestyle clusters, by age, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 102: Singles’ lifestyle clusters, by household income, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 103: Singles’ lifestyle clusters, by race/Hispanic origin, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 104: Singles’ lifestyle clusters, by presence of children in household, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 105: Singles’ lifestyle clusters, by census region, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 106: Singles’ lifestyle clusters, by urban area, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                    • Cluster methodology
                                                                                                                                                    • Custom Consumer Groups: Singles with Children

                                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                                        • More than one third of single respondents are parents
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 107: Parent or guardian of a child either living in the same household or a different household, by marital status, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 108: Parent or guardian of a child either living in the same household or a different household, by marital status and gender, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • More than two thirds of singles with children have never been married…
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 109: Current marital status, by marital status and presence of children in household, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • …but 16% are engaged
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 110: Engaged to be married, by marital status and presence of children in household, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Singles with children have a lot to think about…
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 111: Attitudes toward life, by marital status and presence of children in household, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                                                                          • …including financial security
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 112: Attitudes toward personal finances, by marital status and presence of children in household, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                                                                            • Singles with children turn to convenience food
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 113: Household use of prepared meals, by marital status and presence of children in household, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                                                                              • Travel less likely for singles with children
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 114: Unmarried respondents’ travel, by presence of children, April 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix: Other Useful Consumer Tables

                                                                                                                                                              • Discretionary spending
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 115: Singles’ discretionary spending, by household income, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 116: Discretionary spending by urban area and single, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                              • Singles' attitudes toward their lifestyle compared with their coupled friends
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 117: Singles' attitudes toward their lifestyle compared with their coupled friends, by dating habits, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 118: Singles' attitudes toward their lifestyle compared with their coupled friends, by household income and single, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                              • Dating habits
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 119: Dating habits, by household income, November 2011
                                                                                                                                                              • Past seven day leisure activities
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 120: Singles’ past seven day leisure activities, by relationship status, November 2011

                                                                                                                                                            Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                            • Starbucks Corporation
                                                                                                                                                            • Whole Foods Market Inc

                                                                                                                                                            Single Lifestyles - US - February 2012

                                                                                                                                                            £2,684.63 (Excl.Tax)