Pi Attitude Zone: Self-Fulfilment

I Vant To Be Aloooone

Once upon a time, the average family consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Cornflake and their two lovely children.  Look, there they are, smiling and waving at the camera.  Smile back!

Except they’re probably not really there any more. The photogenic Cornflake family has gone the way of the blue gingham apron and Betty Crocker instant angel-food cake-mix. 

What changed in society?  First of all, something happened to marriage.  It got postponed by some  -- women with good jobs, for starters -- and many more gave up on it.  Half of American adults are now unmarried, while back in 1950 it was only 22%. Over 40% of births are to single mothers -- more among Hispanic and black communities.  Half of all marriages are ended by divorce. 

The trend includes the fact that nearly 15% of adult Americans now live alone; that’s 31 million people, up from only 4 million in 1950.  Almost a third of US households have only one member.  Singletons are no longer a blip on the demographic chart, they are becoming a very significant demographic group in their own right. 

Contributory factors include urbanization, women’s lib, people living longer, and the growth of the ‘virtual community’ online.  The focus for many is not family meals and the PTA meeting, but TV, the gym, Starbucks, late-night shopping, the laundromat, and the after-hours work that enables them to get ahead in life. Single people can move more easily to where the next job is.

But do people really, like Greta Garbo, “vant to be alone”?  (What La Garbo actually said was “I vant to be left alone”, but same difference…).  A 2010 Pew poll showed that over 60% of adult Americans who had never been married would actually prefer to be. Living alone can be a circumstance, not a choice. By definition, it isolates people.  Online ‘friending’ can make us feel less lonely, but it does not make us less alone.

Oh, you think this is just an American thing?  Guess again.  Euromonitor research projects a worldwide figure of 48 million new single-member households by 2020, making them the fastest-growing household type overall.

Pi says:  selling to people who live by themselves is quite different from selling to the classic family of four.  Advertisers increasingly need to reflect this in their marketing strategies.

Zone: Self-Fulfilment Country: Multiple Geographies Product –