Singles Change Retail Market

  • By Kim Sun-yup

    July 10, 2019 12:07

    The growing number of single households is changing the way companies package and market goods and services.

    One industry that is benefiting from the rise is food deliveries. Mister Pizza has joined hands with food delivery app Yogiyo to market a new smaller pizza for singles which is only the size of around two slices of an ordinary pizza. Delivery is available in areas of Seoul where singles are concentrated like the financial district of Yeouido and Gwanghwamun in downtown Seoul.

    Retailers are also offering smaller packages of fruit targeting singles who are often reluctant to buy a football-sized watermelon or bumper pack of apples. Shinsegae recently started selling smaller packaged portions of fruits like melon slices, and E-Mart did the same last year.

    Farmers are tinkering with produce to come up with smaller versions of vegetables and fruits to cater to one-person households.

    According to Statistics Korea, 5.79 million people lived alone last year, and 1.9 million of them were in their 20s and 30s, a demographic that often has higher purchasing power. That was a 2.5-fold growth compared to 2000 when only 706,582 young consumers lived alone.

    Lee Eun-hee at Inha University said, "There will be more and more products and services catering to singles as people marry later in life or decide to live alone."

    Movie theater chain CGV has started offering seats for singles. The partitioned seats are available in theaters in southeastern and northern Seoul. They cost W1,000 more than ordinary seats, but CGV says this does not seem to deter customers who want to be left alone (US$1=W1,183).

    "The proportion of customers who watch movies alone rose from 5.6 percent in 2012 to 15.8 percent last year, so we began offering the seats to reflect this trend," a staffer said.

    Home appliance makers are also jumping on the bandwagon. Cuckoo Electronics saw the sales of small rice cookers rise from 45.9 percent in 2016 to 52.2 percent last year. Small refrigerators, cooking pots and sandwich makers also target singles who eat alone.

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