As China gets set to mark Singles’ Day this Saturday (11th November 2017), in the UK it seems it will be unattached women that will be celebrating the occasion.

Mintel’s Single Lifestyles UK 2017 Report reveals that 61% of single women say they are happy with their relationship status, compared to 49% of single men. Overall, it appears that unattached Brits are in no rush to find a partner. As many as 70% of singles in the UK say they have not actively tried to find a partner in the last 12 months*, rising to 75% of women.

Today, 42% of Brits describe their relationship status as single**, while 58% say they are in a relationship***. Of singles who have tried to find a partner in the last year*, 68% have used digital methods, such as a dating website or app, while 40% have looked to meet someone through friends and 19% have attended events. Meanwhile, just 6% have speed-dated.

Jack Duckett, Senior Consumer Lifestyles Analyst at Mintel, said:

“It is easy to assume that all singletons are actively looking for a partner; however, our data shows that this is far from always being the case. Much of this reluctance to look for a partner can be attributed to the young increasingly prioritising their education, careers and financial stability over being in relationships.”

While many aren’t actively looking for love, it seems that the single life can have its drawbacks, particularly when it comes to finances. Just 36% of singles in the UK say they feel financially secure, compared to 52% of those who are in a relationship. Moreover, 29% of singletons include paying utility bills among their top three lifestyle challenges, while 25% worry about paying the rent/mortgage.

Societal pressures also prove challenging for many singletons. Over one in three (38%) singles worry about being alone, with this sentiment rising among young singletons; 54% of single 18-24s worry about being alone. And in the era of social media, Mintel research finds that 33% of singles say that they feel under pressure to make their life appear more fulfilled than it is.

Mintel research also highlights that for many people being in a relationship remains a symbol of maturity. Indeed, 54% of singles say they are not where they are expected to be in life at their age, and 25% think their peers are more grown up than they are.

“While attitudes towards marriage and relationships may have become more liberal, there remains a societal focus on being partnered up and a sense of obligation to be in a relationship. For marketers, this paves the way for campaigns that counter this idea, and instead focus on the positive aspects of being single. From a commercial perspective, there is also scope for retailers in the UK to consider capitalising on the increasingly popular Chinese festival-cum-ecommerce event Singles’ Day, taking place on 11th November.” Jack adds.

Finally, it seems that those in relationships or who are married are more confident doing solo activities than singletons. While 73% of those in relationships say they feel somewhat or very confident going to the cinema or theatre on their own, this falls to just 68% of singles. Additionally, 61% of attached Brits say they are confident eating out in a restaurant alone, compared to 56% of singles.

“Singles’ reduced confidence in solo activities could reflect the perception that these types of activities are only suitable for doing either as a couple or as part of a group. For leisure brands in particular, this underlines the opportunity to create campaigns that will help to reduce the stigma surrounding doing activities such as going out for dinner, or going to the cinema alone, reframing these activities as offering valuable ‘me time’.” Jack concludes.

*12 months to July 2017

**Single, separated, divorced or not cohabiting

***Married, in a civil partnership or living as married

Press review copies of Mintel’s Single Lifestyles UK 2017 Report and interviews with Jack Duckett, Senior Consumer Lifestyles Analyst at Mintel, are available on request from the press office.

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