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Brands encouraged to cater for single-person market as government reforms hit single-person households

By Angela Haggerty, Reporter

April 2, 2013 | 3 min read

Brands could be missing a huge marketing opportunity by failing to successfully tap into the increasing single-person market, according to customer development specialist, Bridgethorne.

Market: John Nevens says category development is an opportunity

The category is underrepresented and brands are unsure how to approach the demographic, claimed Bridgethorne, adding that it is an issue increasingly pinpointed by brands as an area for development.

The comments came as UK government benefits changes came into force on Monday, including the controversial 'bedroom tax', which will see housing benefit cut for occupants who have a spare bedroom, often single people. The changes are expected to tighten budgets for single-person households and while the family market is covered extensively, Bridgethorne director John Nevens argued there is room for improvement - and success - by targeting development at the single-person demographic.

"The rapidly increasing number of lone occupants has implications for brands and own label suppliers, but also presents opportunities for them," explained Nevens. "Shoppers obviously behave differently according to their circumstances. Somebody living on their own will not necessarily want to buy the same product in the same quantities as other and this will have an impact on the format and diversity of how products are presented, from packaging to portion size."

The government office for science has predicted the number of single-person households will increase by 163,000 per year to reach 10.9 million by 2031. Currently, 29 per cent of the the UK's 26.4 million household are single-person and the 2011 census showed married couples made up less than half of all households, at 47 per cent.

"Manufacturers and retailers are very focused on catering for the family unit when suppliers could help deliver additional category growth by focusing on the needs of the increasing number of people who choose to live on their own," Nevens continued.

"If a supplier is able to demonstrate how they can make their category work for all shoppers and grow incrementally this will allow them to develop and maintain a positive working relationship with the large retailers, and in the current market dynamic that's the only place to be."

The shopper marketing specialist also advised shopper research and data-driven insights should underpin category development to increase both value and volume for brands and manufacturers, and indicated an ability to identify short and long term strategies for development now could lead to growth ahead of the market.


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