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Mosaic UK

A consumer classification providing insight into the demographics, lifestyles and behaviours of UK consumers, Mosaic is a common currency for target audience definition across traditional and digital channels.

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Nottingham, Edinburgh and Newcastle pinpointed as ‘singleton’ capitals of Britain

Experian insight reveals the location and characteristics of the UK’s growing number of single person households

With the 2011 Census highlighting over seven million single person households in England and Wales, new analysis released by Experian reveals that the average ‘singleton’ in the UK is most likely to live in central Nottingham, Edinburgh or Newcastle. Experian’s insight has also revealed that typical UK single person households tend to earn around £35,000, be 30 years old, drive a Volkswagen and shop at Tesco. 

Applying its Mosaic consumer classification to UK postcodes, Experian has painted an illuminating picture of where UK ‘singletons’ are concentrated and highlights the diversity of single households in the UK. In Nottingham over 108,000 (almost 38 per cent) of households are single, while in central Edinburgh the figure is 101,000 (41 per cent) and in Newcastle over 92,000 (39 per cent). It also identified four distinct types of single household – young people starting out on the property ladder and with their careers; young single males with limited prospects; those suddenly single from their 30s onwards and older mainly female retirees. 

According to Experian, the UK's singletons tend to fall into one of four key groups:

Starting out Singletons:

  • Younger singles aged between 26 and 30 years old and earning around £30k.
  • These singletons live or rent new, inner city apartments or small homes on modern estates; top locations are Harrow, Lewisham, Bristol – Broadmead.
  • Work in advertising, media, IT, pharmaceuticals and telecoms at manager or supervisor level.
  • Supermarket shopping is most often done in Tesco (25 per cent shop here) but they are also frequent users of convenience stores such as Sainsbury’s Local. 
  • They usually drive a Volkswagen.
  • 14 per cent less likely to donate to charity than the UK and 35 per cent say they have no political party affiliation.
  • They have eco-friendly attitudes but their Green beliefs are let down by their unwillingness to give up on their customary lifestyle.
  • Single households in this group are typically found in the Mosaic Group New Homemakers and in Bright Young Things.

Struggling Singletons:

  • Aged 18-25 this is the least affluent of the single household groups. Household income is low; two and a half times more likely to be less than £10,000 per year and many find it difficult to cope on their income.
  • Slightly more male dominated than the other groups and many are already separated or divorced.
  • Struggling singles live in Birmingham, Newcastle and Manchester in flats or converted flats, that are almost four times as likely to be council or housing association owned than UK population in general.
  • Shop at local convenience stores, such as Londis and local newsagents.
  • They have unskilled manual jobs but are 60 per cent more likely to be unemployed than the average.
  • Car ownership is very low as are charitable donations and they are five times more likely to be unconvinced and wasteful when it comes to being Green.
  • Deprived View and Small Block Singles are the Mosaic types where Struggling Singles are most often found.

Suddenly Singletons:

  • These are well-paid executive singletons in their early 40s and earning around £70k and dominate in the Mosaic type Footloose Managers.
  • Wokingham is a top location for this type as well as Leeds and Stockport.
  • Work in professional roles in IT, finance, pharmaceuticals and publishing.
  • Twice as likely to be divorced than the UK population as a whole and a high proportions are internet dating).
  • Almost three times more likely to shop at Waitrose than the rest of the population, but they eat out regularly rather than cooking for one.
  • Regularly use the internet to check headlines and manage finances. Popular sites are BBC news, LinkedIn and John Lewis.
  • High car ownership – Volkswagen is the most popular choice.
  • They would usually vote Conservative (33 per cent) and are EU-sceptic.
  • 70 per cent of Suddenly Singletons donate to charity and they also do their best to be Green, although their busy lifestyles and long working hours do not help.

Solus Singletons

  • Elderly singletons mostly aged 70 plus on private pensions who have retired to live in small flats in modern, purpose built blocks. These are most common in the types Low Spending Elders and Balcony Downsizers.
  • Bournemouth and the south coast as well as Edinburgh are prime locations for these singletons.
  • They shop frequently and locally – usually at M&S or  local convenience stores such as Sainsbury’s Local.
  • These are good targets for charities, (68 per cent say they donate to charity) especially for cancer research and support for the elderly.
  • 33 per cent vote Conservative and they are 30 per cent more likely to support nationalist parties.
  • They are generally Green, but are not fully convinced that it is worth it.
  • There exists a group of older retired people within Solus Singles who are mainly female and aged 70 to 90. This group is less affluent and often live in sheltered accommodation and are especially found in cities such as Glasgow and Edinburgh as well as in cities such as Birmingham, Sheffield and Norwich.

Top locations for single households

top locations for single households in the UK - table

With the exception of Norwich, single households tend to be found in the central areas of the UK cities mainly in the Midlands and the North. In addition to Queensway in central London, the top five locations for single households in the capital are Wood Green (11th), Liverpool Street & Bishopsgate (12th), Lewisham (17th) and Harrow (27th).

Towns with the lowest numbers of single households overall are Windsor, Bromsgrove, Aldershot, Hatfield and Stratford-upon-Avon.

Nigel Wilson, Managing Director, Data and Analytics, Experian Marketing Services commented:
“As the 2011 Census highlights, the population of this country is diverse, even within specific parts of society and Experian data provides an interesting insight and new angle on how some of the different groups that make up the population look and behave.  While we have painted a picture of the average singleton in the UK, as our Mosaic portraits suggest, single households are very disparate in terms of age, outlook, prospects and location posing a challenge for those looking to engage this group with products and services.

Wilson continued: “On the one hand many young single households have good levels of disposable income as they don’t have the responsibilities associated with married and older age groups, such as children or mortgages, which makes them an attractive group for marketers. These singletons tend to be heavy users of online facilities and as such are good targets for retailers, banks, travel companies that use the internet to sell their products.

“On the other hand there’s a group of single people of a similar age with very different prospects and are cash poor and time rich, alongside older singles who themselves have different income levels and outlooks.  Understanding these nuances and knowing where these different types of single households are and how to reach them is essential for both organisations and government in a Society that is constantly changing.”

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  • © 2014 Experian. All rights reserved
  • © 2014 Experian. All rights reserved