What would American singles prefer doing before getting hitched? It seems plenty, according to a report from Mintel.
Singles are better able to embrace the flexibility that comes with being unmarried. From being able to try new things, take road trips, save money or purchase things spontaneously, single adults will likely be more receptive to last-minute purchases and activities, indicating their potential as a source for business growth, particularly for new products, services or brand extensions.
Independence and looking for ways to better themselves top the to-do-before-I-do list. Goals that these adults are more likely to consider within the next five years over getting married include:
- Improving their physical health – 56%
- Finding a new job – 49%
- Buying a new car – 42%
- Purchasing a house or condo – 29%
Highlighting their independence, singles also say they are unmarried because they’re concentrating on improving themselves (25%) and on improving their careers (16%).
Other findings from the Mintel study state two in five (43%) single adults who have never been married say they are single because they haven’t met the right person. Of the previously married single adults identifying as being separated, widowed, or divorced, more than one-third (37%) are most likely to say they are unmarried because they prefer to be on their own, compared to one-quarter (24%) of single, never-married adults.
Although optimistic about their futures, some singles are concerned about their current life stage, however. Three in 10 (31%) feel they are not where they expected to be at their age. Nearly the same number (29%) say they feel pressure from others to be in a relationship.
It seems that today’s digital age may also not be making things any easier, with 37% of singles saying that seeing happy couples on social media makes them wish they were in a relationship. Another 28% say the same about advertising. As a potential solution to the problem, one in five (21%) singles claim to have used a dating service in the last year.
“Singles are feeling the pressure to achieve certain milestones in their lives, and likely will be receptive of brands, products and services that allow them to get ahead of the curve,” says Gina Cavato, lifestyles and leisure analyst at Mintel.
Reassurance and support from sympathetic brands that their reality is something to embrace, not to be discouraged by, will likely go a long way in helping build loyalty, she adds.
“Social media has a stronger ability to elicit emotional responses than advertising through traditional media, but also provides brands the ability to interact and engage with users to create more realistic connections,” Cavato says. “This indicates that brands must tread carefully in their traditional messaging so as to not leave singles feeling left out.”
Future looks bright
Despite the fact that just one-quarter (26%) say they are where they expected to be at their age, single women seem to be more optimistic about their futures. Single women are more likely than single men to prioritize making big lifestyle changes over the next five years, including improving their physical health (60% women vs 51% men), becoming financially independent (50% women vs 41% men) and obtaining a higher degree of education (32% women vs 26% men).
While 61% of singles overall feel they are shown positively in the media, single women also seem to have a better outlook on how they are portrayed. Indeed, single women are more likely to agree that singles are shown as successful (33%) or driven (28%), compared to just 20% of single men, respectively.
“Societal pressures and inequalities likely keep single women feeling as though they are not where they should be in their lives,” Cavato explains. “The marketing trend of highlighting women’s strength and empowerment may be contributing to a more positive impression of their portrayal in the media.”
Some brands have taken it upon themselves to address the confidence and insecurity issues that women face, and it seems to be helping with the way that single women are viewing themselves in both advertisements and the media, she adds.
Despite the financial benefits of being married, America’s singles are becoming increasingly confident about their finances. One-third (34%) of single Americans feel financially secure, compared to just 24% of singles in 2012. Although four in five (78%) singles say they are price-conscious, over two in five (43%) say they are more likely to purchase things spontaneously than their family or friends who are married or living with a partner. What’s more, while three-quarters (77%) of single Americans say they like to try new things, one-quarter (26%) say that they won’t do an activity if they can’t find somebody to do it with them.
However, being married or living with a partner does not necessarily result in the decline of adventure or travel. In fact, non-singles are more likely to plan a trip less than a week in advance (25%) than those who are single (22%). Where singles and non-singles differ in terms of experiences is their willingness to travel alone. Indeed, two in five (41%) single adults say that they enjoy traveling alone, compared to just 30% of those married or living with a partner.
“The idea that the ‘grass is always greener on the other side’ may not be true when it comes to a person’s relationship status,” Cavato says. “While married adults tend to be thought of as being more satisfied overall with their lives, singles are better able to embrace the flexibility that comes with being unmarried.”
From being able to try new things, take road trips, save money or purchase things spontaneously, single adults will likely be more receptive to last-minute purchases and activities, indicating their potential as a source for business growth, particularly for new products, services or brand extensions, Cavato says.