The single life: A generation of explorers in Asia

June 27, 2017
4 min read

The social shifts Asian societies are experiencing today are changing the consumption habits of tomorrow. In Mintel’s latest thought piece, The Generation Game: Catering to Asia’s Future Life Stages, we identify the eight life stages consumers are currently navigating, as well as providing recommendations on how companies can cater to these evolving consumer needs.

In this blog, we discuss two stages: Staying single and Home, harmony and hyper-connectivity.

Staying single

Putting off marriage to focus on pursuing a career is quite a common scenario, not only in Asia, but globally. However, many young Asians are now choosing a single life not only to pursue their careers, but also because they actively want to remain single. This is a lifestyle choice that allows individuals to explore who they want to be, both professionally and in their personal lives.

It seems in Asia, staying single is more likely to be a voluntary decision. Indeed, over seven in 10 single consumers in India have no plans to get married in the next three years, according to Mintel research. Additionally, based on new findings from Mintel, 43% of singles in China aged between 20 and 24 would like to live in an unconventional way, rising to over half of single consumers aged between 25 and 29.

The rise in single living opens up the opportunity for companies and brands to sell their products and services to more households. However, it is important to note that a household of one encompasses different needs than a household of three. The growing demand for products and services that are targeted to singletons will see brands and manufacturers challenged to come up with corresponding portions and packaging sizes.

Taking a positive image of singledom in advertising and marketing can also help to gather greater interest from this growing pool of potential consumers.

Home, harmony and hyper-connectivity

Younger consumers in Asia are living less attached to places and things, and are now more focused on experiences. They embrace a lifestyle that allows them the freedom to move about and enjoy experiences, rather than limiting themselves to buying a home and living in a single location.

According to Mintel research, over three in four students in China say that living happily in the moment is the most important thing for them, while close to six in 10 are eager to get more space by going independent from their parents.

Younger consumers in Asia tend to remain financially –  at least partially –  dependent on their parents well into their adulthood. To break away from this dependence and deal with the cost of living, young Asian adults are becoming more mindful of what they are consuming and how they invest their incomes.

Companies and brands need to provide flexibility to consumers’ shifting needs, which in turn, brings the attention to the rent-a-life trend where young people are looking to rent their way into independence. There is a brewing pot of opportunity for brands that align themselves with this movement that has, in a large part, been brought to life through the use of smartphone apps and advancements in technology.

Shifting work needs and the drive for continual learning can also offer companies and brands the opportunity to adapt alongside young Asian consumers, and create products and services that help this group progress towards their goals. The social shifts that consumers continuously experience will eventually result in an increasingly diverse set of lifestyle goals and needs. As such, brands will need to start using more big data to individualise their product and service offerings in catering to the needs of tomorrow.

Download your free copy of Mintel’s ‘The Generation Game: Catering to Asia’s Future Life Stages’ thought piece here.

Matthew is Mintel’s Director of Research for Asia-Pacific. He looks at the development of China’s consumer lifestyles and the impact on Chinese people and society. Having previously co-founded research company Access Asia, Matthew has worked exhaustively on trying to make sense of the myriad of contradictions in China’s economics and statistics on consumer markets across China.

Matthew Crabbe
Matthew Crabbe

Matthew is Mintel Trends Regional Director, Asia-Pacific. He and his team provide insights and analysis on the latest market developments and consumer trends across the region.

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