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Hot Market: Singles

August 15th, 2012 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

When you think about hot markets to target for your product or service, do you think about singles? Well, maybe you should. The Census Bureau recently released some updated statistics on unmarried and single Americans. Here are some points of interest for small business:

Singles are a huge market. Some 102 million Americans 18 and older were unmarried in 2011, comprising 44.1 percent of all U.S. residents 18 and older.

Singles are primarily female. Women account for 53 percent of unmarried U.S. residents 18 and older. This is leading to an imbalance, with 89 unmarried men for every 100 unmarried women 18 and older. Some 46 percent of households, or 55 million, are headed by unmarried men.

Singles are so for many reasons. Sixty-two percent of unmarried U.S. residents 18 and older in have never been married, 24 percent were divorced, and 14 percent were widowed.

Don’t forget seniors. Seniors make up 16 percent of all singles, with a total of 17 million unmarried U.S. residents age 65 and older.

Single doesn’t necessarily mean “childless” or “living alone.” More than one-third (36 percent) of unmarried women aged 15 to 50 had had a child in the last 12 months. Some 13.6 million unmarried parents live with their children. Forty percent of opposite-sex, unmarried-partner households include at least one biological child of either partner. There were 6.8 million unmarried-partner households in 2010.

However, 33 million Americans do live alone, making up 28 percent of all households—up from 17 percent in 1970.

How can these figures help your business? Here are some lessons to take away:

Don’t generalize. Singles are far from a homogenous market, as the stats suggest. Your single customer could be a college student, a widower or a single mom with three kids. Doing your market research is an important step to determining what type of singles you’re targeting.

Don’t patronize. More and more people are choosing to live alone or stay single longer because they like it, so don’t assume your single customers are lonely or looking to change their single status.

Don’t forget them. Make sure your marketing speaks to singles, both emotionally and visually. Incorporate images of single people in the niche you’re targeting, whether that’s retired widows or twentysomething urbanites.

Image by Flickr user WarmSleepy (Creative Commons)

The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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