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Valentine’s Day Isn’t Just for Couples

Iva Karcevski | February 13, 2017 

It’s that time of year again! Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and marketers are busy running Valentine’s Day marketing campaigns and promotions.

That’s no surprise as Valentine’s Day is a huge commercial holiday worth 14.7 billion in the United States. However, if your digital marketing strategy only targets couples, you could be missing a large and growing percentage of the market. As the number of singles continues to grow, marketers should rethink and adjust their marketing strategies.

Rise of the Singles: The Singles Market

Traditionally Valentine’s Day is a holiday that celebrates couples and romantic relationships. It’s the largest couple holiday of the year. However, in recent years, many people are celebrating singleness in conjunction with Valentine’s Day in a holiday called Singles Awareness Day (SAD). Many singles are tired of feeling left out of Valentine’s Day. For the first time, the majority of the US adult population is single. This includes those who have never been married or are divorced, separated, or widowed.

According to the US Census Bureau 45 percent (107 million) of all U.S. residents 18 and older were not married in 2014.

  • 53% of unmarried U.S. residents 18 and older were women and 47% were men.
  • 63% had never been married, 24% were divorced, and 13% were widowed.
  • 8 million were seniors age 65 and older.

According to Pew Research Center, just 26% of millennials were married in 2014. Most unmarried Millennials (69%) say they would like to marry, but many, especially those with lower levels of income and education, lack what they deem to be a necessary prerequisite to marriage – a solid economic foundation.

The average age at which both men and women first marry has increased to 27 and 29 for women and men respectively. Delay in marriage has ushered in a new phase of life that sociologists are calling “emerging adulthood” or “delayed adolescence”. This is a time when people focus on their careers and their own personal fulfillment.

New York University sociologist Eric Klinenberg, believes American society is in the midst of the “greatest social change of the last 60 years.” He estimates that about 32.7 million Americans live alone.

Single and Proud

Modern technology makes it easier than ever to meet people, yet more people are single. Why is that? This trend can be attributed to many different things. More people are happy and more fulfilled being on their own than with a partner. Those who have been happily single for a long time are reluctant to give up their personal freedom. Young, educated singles are focusing on their careers. They are not looking to settle down any time soon. Older singles who have gotten divorced or who have been widowed, choose to cohabitate with someone new, live apart as a couple, or just quit dating altogether in favor of other interests.

Reputation for Splurging

Since singles usually don’t have dependents and are free from the restraints of family life, they tend to have more disposable income to spend. They typically are more brand-conscious, more impulsive in their buying tendencies, and are less price-conscious. Singles make a great target market for luxury products and brands because they have more money to spend and are more willing to indulge on non-necessities. They may purchase goods and services as substitutes for a relationship. Singles primarily look for convenience and engage in online shopping and home delivery services. They also tend to seek an active lifestyle and are the perfect target market for products and services that support that lifestyle.

Marketing to Singles

For Marketers, singles are a large and valuable market. Here are some tips for marketing to this growing demographic:

  • Adjust your services or products to meet the needs of singles. Many food companies have done this by adjusting their product sizes and providing single sized portions of popular foods. Norwegian Cruise Line offers single travelers single-occupancy rooms so that they no longer have to pay for double occupancy.
  • Feature more singles in your ads. McDonald’s has taken the lead in this by featuring single diners enjoying Quarter Pounders with cheese.
  • Segment singles by those who are single by choice and those who are single by circumstance, as they display different behaviors. People who are single by circumstance are likely to demonstrate compensatory behaviors.
  • Use an emotional appeal rather than an informational appeal in your marketing message. Singles that are single by circumstance are more receptive to emotional advertising than information campaigns.
  • Connect singles with what they love. Make being single a positive.
  • Avoid patronizing or stigmatizing those who are single. Don’t stereotype them as lonely or assume that they want to be in relationship.
  • Recognize that singles are a very diverse group. Demographics and life stage are important.
  • Make your products look fun and something that they can share with friends.
  • Emphasize how your product or service can help them.

Do you need help segmenting your customer data and implementing targeted email campaigns? Contact ListEngage for a free consultation.

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Iva Karcevski

Iva Karcevski | Digital Marketing Specialist

Iva Karcevski is a Digital Marketing Specialist at ListEngage. She has a degree in Marketing and is certified in Google Analytics and AdWords. Iva has specialized in marketing for small businesses with an emphasis in branding, website development, and social media. Iva is also a photographer and is passionate about design and imagery. She also creates and curates content and writes articles for ListEngage and several of its clients. Her main focus at ListEngage, however, is managing the company’s social media marketing.