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Consumer Profile: Households of One

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Young people marry later, older people live longer, married couples divorce. These social trends add up to single person households overtaking large families in the US population. What does that mean for business? The PULSE survey reports: This report combines information from two How America Shops® sources, Macro Trends report 2004 and PULSE surveys from 2003-2004. -Profile of shoppers in single person households. -Older, Lower Income Shoppers -Single person households cross all age groups, but have a higher percentage of older people than large households. -70 percent of single person households have income of less than $50,000, but the freedom to spend it all on themselves. Consumer Confidence -Single person householders are feeling better about their financial situation now than a year ago. -Only 1/3 are optimistic about their financial future compared to 59 percent of larger households. -Like larger families, singles have adjusted to a "new normal" and have returned to spending, cautiously. Shopping Life -Single person householders are distinguished by where they are less likely to shop, some predictable, others not. -They are significantly less likely to shop in "big" stores: mass merchandisers, supercenters, home improvement stores, warehouse clubs. -Fewer shop at dollar stores (possibly because they are less concerned about price) and specialty clothing stores (possibly because many singles are older and do not have many specialty clothing stores to choose from.) Brand Switching Behavior -Overall, single people are significantly less likely to switch brands, particularly in personal care and household products. This may reflect their status as a household of one, where it is only their opinion that counts. Shopping Attitudes -Regardless of the number of people in the household, shoppers are split on shopping environment vs. price. Roughly half are willing to pay more for a pleasant shopping environment, and half are not. -Their different lifestyles means they are less interested in paying for convenient cleaning supplies, and more interested in indulging themselves with books, a good cup of coffee, specialty foods and products to pamper their pets. Shopper Prediction -The universe of shoppers will continue to fragment. Gone are the days when ethnic diversity was a marketer's greatest concern. Two groups in particular, "adultescents" and the aging baby boomers, are driving a new segment of 29 million people in single person households. -How America Shops® insights into households of one profiles a very attractive shopper who is less concerned about super sizes and low price, aka, more profitable. -They are a boon to local retailers. For the majority of singles, shopping efficiency does not mean traveling to the outlying boroughs to big box stores with big parking lots and long lines. For them, efficiency is smaller, local stores. -Singles are contributing to the success of shopping environments like Whole Foods and Starbucks, where the experience and lifestyle values are more important than price. (Who else has the time to actually sit in those overstuffed chairs and sip their coffee?) -To attract singles who love a bargain, manufacturers and retailers (like warehouse clubs) need to re-think the configuration of super-size packages. A combo pack of paper goods will suit them better than 20 rolls of paper towels, and encourage them to become a warehouse club member. -It would be a mistake to discount singles because their carts do not overflow. Home Depot discovered its allure as a place to be seen. Single homeowners browsed its aisles for home improvements of a different kind, a spouse. Home Depot turned their single shoppers into an audience for instruction classes to teach them how to use more products, and a public relations bonanza. Methodology -Based on a national Internet survey of 1,056 adult consumers, conducted November 19 - 28, 2004, at the 95% confidence level. Contact: VISIBILITY Specializing in creative age marketing services companies Len Stein 914 712 2610 Lens@visibilitypr.com www.visibilitypr.com