How We Shop When We Are Single

Single-person households with less storage space could be ideal for the Forever Roll. According to Procter & Gamble, it can last for several months. (A small roll of Charmin has 286 sheets while the Forever Roll has a whopping 1700.):

Consumer product makers realize that more of us are living alone.

Single Person Households

According to Pew Research, our “unpartnered” population is growing:

While the unpartnered population includes divorced and widowed individuals, its increase comes from never-married adults aged 25 to 54. In 1990, 29 percent of adults, aged 25 to 54 were neither living with a partner nor married. By 2019, the unpartnered population had grown to 38 percent.

And, an increasing number of those individuals are living alone:

How Singles Shop

The more affluent consumers that live alone shop smaller. Because they don’t want a dozen eggs, they might purchase microwavable eggs in a cup. They select single-serving desserts like Betty Crocker’s Mug Treats. When they move into new homes and apartments, they will find that smaller appliances are more attractive. Responding, manufacturers are making scaled-down dishwashers, refrigerators, and cooktops that fit into smaller kitchens.

Our Bottom Line: Fewer Households

At this point, I expected to see an economically dynamic singles segment of our population. Instead, we find many unpartnered adults are financially vulnerable.

In addition, Pew reports the slowing growth in households. So, although the number of single-person households is up, it has not significantly propelled household growth:

You can see that, as economists, we need to be wary of what we conclude. We can only wonder if the new households that singles create will grow the GDP.

My sources and more: CNBC was a handy place to start for living alone facts. From there, Pew Research, here and here, Vox, and The Atlantic completed the picture.

Originally published at https://econlife.com on December 16, 2021.

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Located at the intersection of current events, history, and economics, econlife® slices away all of the layers that make economics boring and complex.

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