Changing Household Structure in Global Consumer Markets

Globally, household growth exceeded population growth over the 2007-2012 time period.  Household numbers increased by 9% to 1.9 billion, let by China, India, and the US, with 434 million, 233 million and 120 million households in 2012, respectively.  Household growth was most rapid in developing markets such as Mexico, Malaysia, Venezuela, Thailand, and Turkey. Overall, the average number of household members remained static on a global level at 3.7, although most countries experienced a slight decline.

Declining birth rates and marriages are major factors in shrinking the size of households; people marrying and having children later in life also contributes to the growing number of single-person households and shared households of unrelated occupants.

Household behaviours are also shifting. Besides smaller households, there has been an increase in non-traditional homes, more apartment dwellers, and more consumers are renting vs. buying. Purchasing habits also vary by household and marketers will be able to utilize our new information to better target the consumers they are trying to reach.

Other trends

Shopping habits

Price is most important for families or single occupants, while those living with partners focus on eco-friendly and fair-trade products.

Eating habits

85% of couples cooked their own meals and 60% use raw ingredients whereas a single household was most likely to eat out twice a week.  This accounts for 88% of single households in
Indonesia and 68% in China.

Marketing opportunities

Small households will be in need of space-saving appliances and smaller portion foods, while singles will devote more of their income to dining-out, clothing and leisure.  Empty-nesters are
purchasing organic foods, spa experiences and luxury holidays.  Even after the recession, families will still look for bargains, private labels, deals and discounts. Healthcare, gardening and homecare are popular products and subjects for the ageing households.

For more information, please see our latest strategy briefing:
“Downsizing Globally: The Impact of Changing Household Structure on Global Consumer Markets”.