Most singletons prefer being single – JWT report

June 26, 2019

The majority of single people love being unattached and would prefer to be single than in a relationship, according to a new global study.

The report, by global agency group Wunderman Thompson found that a total of 60% of single people in the UK profess to loving being single, with 53% saying would prefer to be single than attached. 

Moreover, a total of 72% say they are single by choice and even more (86%) say it gives them more freedom.

The Single Age report, by JWT Intelligence at Wunderman Thompson, is the most in-depth research on the attitudes and behaviour of single people yet – surveying an even split of over 3,000 single and married/ attached men and women in the UK, US and China. 

UK reflects global reading

The attitude of UK singles is closely matched by those of singles around the world, with 62% of singles globally attesting to loving being unattached. In the US, a total of 64% of single people profess to loving being single, with 58% saying would prefer to be single than attached, while in China, it was 73% and 50% respectively.

Most UK singles (77%) say they believe in love but don’t need it to feel complete, with just 41% saying being in a relationship makes them feel complete.

Dating is out

A large number of people in the UK, 31%, say they never go on dates, and 62% say they sometimes or rarely go on dates. When they do date, the 44% say they do so to meet new people.

The survey shows the growing number of people around the world choosing to remain unmarried, becoming single after divorce or simply embracing singledom.

Busting myths

The research busts old myths and prejudices around single people and in particular women, who are traditionally thought of as sad or desperate to be in a relationship. In the modern era, where one in four millennial people will remain unmarried for life there’s a growing push to drop the Bridget Jones stereotypes and to celebrate, rather than pity, single people.

The financial freedom the single life brings appeals, with 84% of UK singles saying that making their own financial decisions is empowering and gives them confidence. Most (61%) like to spend their spare cash on treating themselves – compared to 43% of people in committed relationships.

While 59% of UK singles worry about their financial situation, compared to 49% of the respondents in a relationship, attached people feel their relationship has a big impact on their finances. 

Money factor

A total of 65% of attached people say that their relationship status impacts how they think about money, compared to 49% of singles. 

Meanwhile, 48% of attached people say that their relationship status would make it hard to quit their job, compared to 36% of singles – which is perhaps explained by larger expenses for couples, like mortgages and children.

Finally, 83% of UK singles and 82% of UK respondents in a relationship say that it’s becoming more acceptable to be single in today’s society.

Report author, Worldwide Director of  JWT Intelligence , Lucie Greene said: “We’re seeing a paradigm shift in what it means to experience adulthood uncoupled. 

“Outdated assumptions are being challenged by this empowered, affluent group who are embracing single-hood for the joys and the freedoms it represents – rather than mourning it as a state in need of ‘completion’. 

Brand opportunity

“As a growing global, multi-generational cohort, innovative brands are also spotting the huge opportunity that singles represent, whether that’s reframing practical services such as living models, and financial products, or finding ways to uplift them with positive marketing, cultural programming for solo travellers in hotels, or healthy meals for one. 

“What’s clear is that as single becomes a more normalised, and positive choice, single consumers are pushing back against patronising marketing and narratives and will increasingly reject brands that do not frame their experience as it is – something rewarding and fulfilling. 

“The rise of singles generally sits within a wider trend in which life stages, family units, and personal networks are becoming more fluid and individual. 

“Put simply: are no longer rules when it comes to picking the life journey you want to take, whether its coupled up, or choosing to live it solo. Make way for The Single Age.”

Trends covered in the report are:

  • Co-Living
  • Companionship – Loneliness
  • Microliving
  • New Nuture
  • Premium Elder Care – Single Care
  • Self- sex as Self care
  • Finances
  • Single Person Diners
  • Single Serve
  • Solo Travel Platforms
  • The Cultural Shift