August 19, 2005
The US Census reported this week that for the first time, the number of households headed by singles now exceeds the number of households lead by couples. Okay, granted it’s not by a lot, like 0.3 percent. But here’s why it’s important – households headed by couples are who we, as marketers, have typically shown in imagery. You know, the whole Cleaver family. White, middle-class America living in the ‘burbs with a golden retriever and a minivan.
One of the most interesting and economically powerful groups of singles are solo females. With nearly 27 million households falling into this category, we’re talking about everyone from fresh, out of college ambitious young women to single moms to senior women who have outlived their husbands. Researchers say that this group makes about $400 billion in income, up 17 percent from just eight years ago.
And if you dissect the numbers even further, you’ll see that there are more than 17 million solo females aged 25-44, more than double the number of women living alone in the early 1980s.
This group is now one of the most likely to buy a new home – and in fact, 60 percent of these solo women own a home and are purchasing homes at a faster rate than single men.
Single moms are more common than ever, with more than 10 million appearing on the latest Census report. Some reports say that nearly half of all the children born each year are to single women.
The updated Census numbers showed growth in the category of “living with a partner.” That can mean an unmarried heterosexual couple, homosexual couple, or even a roommate. More than 3.3 million households are now categorized in this new “partner household” bucket.
So here’s the reality check for marketers: is your brand imagery stuck in the 1950s? If you’re targeting the masses, are you really showing these solo women images they can relate with? Are you showing single moms? Solo females? Groups of singles that operate like an extended family?
Happy Friday, folks, and more next week.